When bigger, possibly devastating or traumatic events occur, it's a good idea to seek support from friends, family, and possibly counselors for our well-being. In our day-to-day normal circumstances of living, however, we have much more agency to manage the stressors and triggers that seem able to arise in every context.
On the one hand, it’s all pretty automatic, so I am not really responsible for my emotional reactions to what’s happening. There’s neurology, biology, and billions of years of evolution involved in converting my interpretation of what’s happening into an emotion that I experience. Stuff can be triggering.
On the other hand, I am 100% responsible for my emotional reactions. Who else really should be? It’s my interpretation that flares my emotions, so I'm at least in some way part of the triggering mechanism. It’s not what’s happening that flares my emotions, but how I interpret what's happening.
It doesn’t usually feel this way, though. It really seems that what’s happening out there is causing these emotions to arise in here. Regardless, how I act in the face of these emotions is undeniably on me.
And this is really good news. In fact, having agency is the definition of freedom and power. How we respond to what’s happening out there and how we respond to the emotions we’re experiencing in here is ours to master.
So a few questions arise: how do we access our innate capacity to be agents in our lives? How do we thrive in the face of external and internal adversity? How can we optimize our experience to maximize enjoyment, ease, and effectiveness while having the type of positive impact on others and the world that we’re committed to?
It doesn’t take years of study, special genes, the best income, the right spouse, or the perfect body. The natural state of our body and mind is a state of well-being. There’s no where else to get, there’s nothing else to do, and there’s no one else to be. We’ve been carrying with us the treasure, the goal, and the destination since our beginning.
Our temperament, our conditioning, and our upbringing do impact how far we may seem to be from awakening to this innate capacity for well-being and agency. It's still there though, and it always has been.
All there is to do is awaken to our innate well-being. Once there, inner wisdom becomes much more audible.
When you find yourself feeling stressed, upset, or insecure, take these steps:
1. Get grounded in the present moment.
Pause a moment, take a breath, and get present to what’s happening within and outside your body: thoughts, sensations, and emotions. You don’t need a meditation class, a sauna, or a yoga workshop (though all those help!). I mean right now, get present to what’s actually happening in your experience.
2. Act from choice and not from a default or conditioned emotional reaction.
Align your actions with your created intentions. In every moment we’re fulfilling on one intention or another anyway, so be specific about which intentions you’re honoring. Being kind vs. being right. Being patient vs. being rushed. Being grateful vs. being annoyed. Being joyful vs. being pessimistic. And so on.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have great day. ❤️
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