Every week, I am confronted with situations that run contrary to what I expected. Oftentimes theses issues are minor glitches that can easily be remedied. More serious matters usually require multi-step processes or possibly another person’s assistance. Major problems will initially appear overwhelming and unsolvable. After spending time analyzing the situation, a solution is ultimately found. In most instances these levels of complexity will affect my overall perspective. I will feel less stressed when coping with a sprained ankle than a joint replacement.
There is no doubt that simple problems usually require less time to solve and proportionally create less anxiety. A detailed and time sensitive situation will be considerably more stressful than a straightforward easy fix. Situations become messier when emotions are part of the equation. Personal and family problems trigger a perspective that is laced with intense feelings. The normal balance between rational thought and emotions becomes quickly skewed in favor of emotions.
Recognizing this imbalance is essential in keeping things in proper perspective. More often than I would care to admit, my emotions have run wild like a pack of coyotes. I struggle. In those instances, I find it challenging to keep a balanced perspective. Within no time, I can jump to unsubstantiated conclusions. A tiny drop of water suddenly looks like a lake.
Emotional responses stem from a variety of sources. Sometimes irrational fears are the culprit. Excessive worrying can be crippling. It can make a situation appear worse than it actually is. I agree with Ayn Rand when she stated, “To fear to face an issue is to believe the worst is true.” Whenever my fears start to limit my response, I need to regain control. I take time to reflect on all of the facts.
I have realized that passionate responses usually cause clear water to become cloudy. When facts become opaque, it makes it more difficult to understand the entire problem and even harder to work toward a solution.
Each time I find myself without a balanced perspective, I ask 3 questions:
- Have I looked at the issue from all possible angles?
- Are my emotions influencing my viewpoint?
- Is my solution or response biased?
By redirecting my attention back to the original problem, I can bring clarity to the situation. The underlying issue can be seen in proper perspective. I can act accordingly. In situations where I cannot come face-to-face with my emotions, I will undoubtedly falter. I will not be able to maintain a balanced perspective and the situation will probably be blown out of proportion. On these rare occasions, I need to remove myself entirely. Taking a simple walk is sometimes all that is needed to clear my head. A couple days in the mountains will almost always do the trick. Living near the mountains makes the second option doable.
Fortunately those emotional events happen less frequently. Most of the time, I am able to keep a balanced perspective and greet my conflicts with confidence.
- What strategies do you use to keep your emotions in check and maintain a balanced perspective?
Today’s post is a response to a February #NaBloPoMo “perspective” prompt.
Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.