Master This One Skill, Change Your Life

With your jaw clenched and the temperature of your neck ever so slightly increasing, you felt it. An emotion. In this case, it was anger. It’s completely justified, right? You are only human, after all. But that’s exactly why there is a better way.

What separates us from animals is our ability to reason; It’s the gap between stimuli and response. Control this, and you take back the reigns of your emotional well-being.

Why should you care?

Most people go their entire lives making decisions swayed by too much emotion. Never taking the time to stop, pause and think. They make life harder than it needs to be. Because the moment you let the external affect your internal, you allow yourself to be at the mercy of your emotions.

When reactive with emotion, you’re less likely to make smarter, logical decisions. Your cortisol is chronically jacked because of your perceived frustrations that life will inevitably throw your way. So what’s the solution?

No, it’s not counting to 10. It’s realising this – Reality is neutral.

Your emotions and thoughts color your reality. Realize this, and you take back your power. You decide how to respond. You’re no longer just reacting but pausing and choosing how to respond. Because the only way you can change your perception is by managing your thoughts.

How to start shifting your perspective

The gap between stimuli and response is where your power lies. The solution to becoming a better, more logical, and less reactive person is by broadening this gap.

But where can you begin?

  1. Meditation

It’s not sexy, it’s not cool, but the powerful effects are there to be had if you’re willing to put the time in.

Results from studies indicate that, whether the participants had high or low levels of natural mindfulness, the brain could control negative emotions to the same extent. Exposure to the meditation session appeared to help the emotional brain to recover quickly after seeing the photos, suggesting that meditation enabled participants to tame their negative emotions.


  1. Journaling

Compounding meditation with journaling makes for a sure way to become extremely cognizant of your thoughts and emotions.

Writing forces you to organize your experiences into a sequence on the thinking level, giving you a chance to examine the cause and effect. Through this process, you begin to learn and map out insights about yourself slowly.

“Journaling is a tool to put our experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and desires into language, and in doing so, it helps us understand and grow and make sense of them,” says Joshua Smyth, a distinguished professor of biobehavioural health and medicine at Penn State University.

How To Journal For Mindfulness

While you can journal in many different ways, one of the most well-studied techniques is Expressive Writing. To do this, you write continuously for 20 minutes about your deepest thoughts and emotions around an issue in your life. You can explore how it has affected you or how it relates to your childhood, parents, relationships, or career.

Expressive Writing is traditionally done four days in a row, but there isn’t anything magical about this formula. Studies suggest you can journal a few days in a row, a couple of times a week, or just once a week; you can write for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes, and you can keep journaling about the same topic or switch to different ones each time.

Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed; you must believe that you are being harmed. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. … Take a moment before reacting, and you will find it is easier to maintain control.

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