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At one point in the human saga, people were ruled by emotions. Emotions were deployed when logic was too slow. Emotions always have an instant response; I need to run away from the large wave heading my way, I have to hide from an animal that has sharper teeth than me, and I better not step in a suspicious pile of mud-shaped poo.
Logic takes time to formulate. There’s a back and forth, lists, thinking through a problem that could have multiple solutions.
Emotions are checkers while logic is chess.
Each has its boom and bust, though emotions feel more powerful than logic. When they scream to the surface, it can ensnare the body and mind.
Then, one becomes the emotion instead of only someone feeling it.
For such instances, I have a mantra: feelings are fleeing.
It’s simple, similar to a smile while in a downpour. Yet, powerful and helps to ground high-wattage emotions.
Thank all that is fluffy and small that frustrated feelings are fleeting.
Yesterday, began like a normal day. I got up early and planned to arrive at work early. It was a magical day, as I would start vacation the next day. Coming in early, was a way to wrap up the many loose ends and start vacation worry-free.
I skipped the morning meditation and yoga because I was gonna get work done – early!
Welp, that changed when I realized I needed to pick up the intern. Despite my sacrifices, I couldn’t get in early as planned.
Frustration instantly reared its angry boil.
Morning frustration is a terrible sort. It’s hard to prevent morning frustration from becoming middday and evening frustration.
As the day progressed, I used hacks to shake the fleeting frustrated feelings as it continued to rear up again and again from last-minute email requests to credit card machine issues and even a cashier over $78.
As each frustration reared its head, I kept deploying different tactics to control the irritation that threatened to turn a mellow thirty-eight-year-old into a middle-aged meltdown.
I used different tacts, along with my feelings are fleeting mantra, which are supported by people with fancy degrees that tell Forbes how to banish negativity and embrace the positive.
Fire negativity and hire positivity.
I use a mantra. Others have a personal aspiration or success story as a way to flip the script from negative to positive. Negativity is a powerful feeling that starts a black hole of rumination where all “bad things” seem to get a starring role and collect examples along the way.
Since humans are expert pattern finders, we default to finding more and more ways to support this fleeting feeling.
A way to break the cycle is to have retorts to negativity. I try different tactics because nothing is foolproof, which means I might:
Say things I’m grateful for;
Look for the bright side of the situation;
Remember how I’ve overcome hard times before;
Smile until I forget that I’m pretending to smile;
Talk to someone about how their day is going (sometimes other people’s issues make mine look like a baby walrus);
Dance my woes away; or
I start singing hammer time, out loud.
Usually, I can get something to shake loose those fleeting feelings. Addressing the issue quickly helps to dissolve the issue quickly.
Just like a train with speed and momentum, if my brain gains too much momentum with negativity, it will be even harder to break away from the tracks.
Be good by doing good.
It’s easier to think and be good when times are good; plenty of sleep, a solid food foundation, and patience that lasts for days.
The hardest time to do good is when life feels anything but good; two hours of sleep, eating greasy goodness, and patience shorter than a two-year-old’s vocabulary, is when it’s hardest to do anything good.
After a day that’s consistently fueled with frustration, I have the urge to quit. Quit work and humanity. I have yet to give into that feeling. I’ve never rage quit.
Feelings are fleeting and powerful.
Some of that power can be transferred to good. I vote for turning that power into hard work for doing good.
When something bad happens, I take that as a cue that I need to do something good.
Yesterday, with my frequent fires, I also had frequent self-made, do-good moments:
Gave my lone allergy pill to someone who had a sudden onset of allergy symptoms;
Hid a tiny thank you card for my coworker to find;
Gave tickets to a coworker for a baseball game I couldn’t make; and
Donated $2 to fix someone else’s problem.
A bunch of small ways to turn a day burning with frustration into a day where I gave more than I received.
A growth mindset wins.
Humans create things that are fixed. A car will only go so fast, a house will only hold so much, and a cup of coffee will hold 20 ounces of liquid gold.
Yet, humans themselves are organic growth machines. From growing muscles to growing green, even our mind is capable of growth.
We can increase our lives to have more inspiration, success, and positivity by learning and doing things that increase growth.
We are only as fixed as we believe to be.
Limits are defined by the mind and, typically, society. That’s why we devour stories about rags to riches, zero to hero, and troublemaker to Dr. Huberman.
We love these stories because it’s a reminder of what we’re capable of despite setbacks, obstacles, or the lack of coffee.
Feelings are fleeting like chocolate.
Chocolate is fleeting too. Just like the delicious bean smooshed and smothered in milk and sugar, in small doses, it provides a shot of endorphins, making a tongue dance with delight, and brings an instant smile.
However, when I eat an entire sleeve of birthday cake Oreos, the moment become an overdose of sugar laced with regret.
No matter how intense the fleeting frustrated feelings, it’s still a feeling. Feelings are fleeting.