Finding the Next Less Bad Thing

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You're miserable but you'd rather feel great.
Or you're angry and you want to feel peace.
Or maybe you're broken hearted and you want to feel whole.
Whatever the specifics of your situation may be, you're in a bad way and you want to be in a good way.
The question is, how do you get there from here? And the problem is, that it's such a big jump from where you are to where you want to be, that it can seem like trying to cross the ocean in a rowboat.
It's just overwhelming.
Here's a technique that can really help you, something you can do that actually works, because it's grounded in reality, not in some impossible psychological or spiritual ideal.
Let's say someone cut you off driving, and you find yourself flipping into a fit of road rage.
Truthfully, it's probably not realistic for you to try to suddenly jump to the emotion of forgiveness and contentment.
But rage is pretty serious.
Rage can easily boil over into reckless behavior and even violence.
But could you move from rage to anger, which is slightly less intense? And from there to frustration which again is slightly less intense? If you can take a series of small steps, you can begin to move up the emotional scale pretty quickly.
Now probably at first you'll only be able to move up the scale one or two notches.
Great! The point is that you're moving.
Eventually you'll find yourself in the habit of slipping up the emotional scale more easily, and you'll begin to move much farther.
In time, you will find yourself at the lower end of that scale less and less often.
This works with any negative or unwanted emotion.
The trick is to catch yourself in the negative emotion before it has taken over you and you literally are swept up in it and out of control.
Again, it's a matter of practice.
It's really never too late to start this process.
Here's some really good news: if you do blow it, and don't catch yourself till afterward and you find yourself discouraged or frustrated as a result, you can start with the discouragement and frustration and move up from there to maybe disappointment and impatience with yourself.
From there you could begin to reach for a feeling of hopefulness or cautious optimism.
There's no hard and fast rule to these emotional rankings, and everyone will perceive them in their own unique way.
The main thing to remember is to find the next less bad emotion.
And then the next, and then the next, and then the next.
You really can learn to live at a more positive emotional level.
Like so many other things, most of us have never been taught the tools that are always with us, and always available to us in our own minds.
Once you know that, then you can nearly always step up at least one small notch - it's really only a matter of practice, and practice will create a habit.
It's a habit of joy, happiness, and appreciation of life, and it really can be yours.
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