3 steps to get control when upset

Kim Giles
(Also, if you are struggling with depression, this is even more difficult. Depression affects your brain chemistry and makes choosing your emotions really difficult. I recommend talking to your doctor about some medication along with working on the suggestions below to control your thinking.)
  1. Don't fight the current.
  2. Stay calm to conserve your energy and think clearly.
  3. Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, but you can easily step to the side and get off. Swim sideways following the shoreline and when out of the current swim for the shore.
  1. Don't fight the feelings of anger or hurt. Just sit with them for a minute. They are an interesting dimension of the human experience, and feeling them can teach you things and give you empathy toward others. Can you feel how much your ego wants to embrace fear and respond with selfishness, defensiveness or anger? These are strong feelings, but the more you sit with them, you will see that they are not your only option. Feeling this way is a choice. Being upset is a choice. You can choose to see this situation in a different way and choose peace, trust and love if you want to. You can choose to see this situation as a lesson (another chance to practice being in control of your head).
  2. Take a step back from the event, breathe slowly and think clearly. Ask yourself, "What am I really upset about? What am I afraid of here? Why do I feel threatened? Am I applying meaning here that may not be accurate? What will be created if I choose to be upset? Is that what I want? Is being upset a choice? Is there any other way I could choose to feel in this moment?" There is a To Be or Not To Be Upset Worksheet on our website that will help you to see these situations accurately.
  3. This is where you get to step to the side or exit the current by choosing a mindset the runs parallel to principles of truth (principles that provide solid ground and safety) like the shore. If fear is the riptide, you can choose thoughts based in trust and love (the opposites of fear) and you can step right out. Choose to trust these principles of truth instead of embracing fear in any moment:
  • My value isn't on the line here because life is a classroom, not a test. Nothing anyone does or says can diminish my value because it is unchangeable, infinite and absolute. I am bulletproof, and if no one can hurt me or diminish me, is there really any reason to get upset? I can choose to see myself and my value as safe.
  • Most bad behavior and almost all attacks are more about the other person and their fears about themselves than they are about me. Most bad behavior is a request for love or validation. This means instead of getting offended I could choose to give love and validation to this person, or I could choose to forgive them for being afraid and love them from afar.
  • Nothing bad can happen to me without it serving me at some level. Everything I experience makes me wiser, kinder, stronger and more empathetic. I can trust the process of life that there is order in the universe and everything that happens, happens for a reason to teach me things. If I see life as a classroom, I realize there is nothing to fear and no matter what happens I will be all right. I can choose to feel safe right now.
  • I am not better or worse than anyone else. We are all one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable human beings with the same infinite, absolute value. Just because someone casts me as the bad guy in their story doesn't make it true. They subconsciously do this to quiet their own fears and make their ego feel superior. I can see they are scared and not take this behavior personally.
"The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person."