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Posts Tagged ‘Thought Process’

At a recent conference, the guest speaker said, “I have the power to change my own weather and so do you.” Meaning, we each have control over our emotional and behavioral reactions to our thoughts creating either a nice breezy day or a stormy day.  Let’s face it, we can’t stop every thought that pops into our heads.  However, we can pause and ask ourselves four things:

  • Is my thought rational or irrational?
  • What am I feeling because of this thought?
  • What is this feeling telling me about how I view this situation?
  • How do I want to react to this feeling?

It is through these questions that we have the power to change our own weather. Many times, we have created our own go-to pattern which results in stormy weather.

For example, someone cuts us off in traffic:

  • Thought: “What a jerk!” “They could hurt someone!”
  • Emotion: Anger and Fear
  • (Go-to) Reaction: Become irritable, yell, or worse, road rage!

Here is where we can choose to change our weather:

  • Thought: “What a jerk!” “They could hurt someone!”
    • Is my thought rational or irrational? We don’t know why they cut us off. Maybe they are on their way to an emergency and are distracted. Maybe we were in their blind spot (it has happened to all of us). Or maybe they are that bad of a driver.
    • NEW Thought: “WOW, that wasn’t any fun, but I am glad I have cat-like, smooth driving skills!”
  • Emotion: Anger and fear
    • What am I feeling because of this thought? The need for safety is at our core, hard-wired into each of us, think fight, flight, freeze response. Typically fear and anger arise when our safety is feeling threatened, so it wouldn’t be uncommon to identify anger as the emotional, and logical reaction, to this situation.
    • What is this feeling telling me about how I view this situation? This anger may be telling you that you feel afraid. It may also be some residual fear from a negative driving experience from your past and really doesn’t have to do with the current experience.
    • NEW Emotion: That was really scary, but I am OK.
  • Reaction: Become irritable, yell, or worse, road rage!
    • How do I want to react emotionally or physically? Becoming irritable, yelling at the other driver, or displaying road rage might immediately make us feel like we have taken corrective action, but in the long run, has it created stormy weather? Will this situation matter in 5 hours, 5 days or 5 weeks from now? Have we just endangered others because of our reaction?
    • NEW Reaction: I let it go and move on with the rest of my drive, thankful that I am safe.

WE do have the POWER to change our own weather, by choosing how we will react to our thoughts and emotions. Although it will take some practice to not rely on my “go-to” reactions, I think my future forecast is less ‘partly cloudy with a chance of rain’ and more ‘warm temperatures and sunshine!’  

Written by: Roseanne Scammahorn, Ph.D., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Sources

Golden, B. (2021, March 20). Fear and Anger: Similarities, Differences, and Interaction. Psychology Today.  Retrieved on January 6, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/overcoming-destructive-anger/202103/fear-and-anger-similarities-differences-and-interaction

Governors State University. (nd). Rational Vs. Irrational: The 3 Key Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Beliefs. Retrieved on January 6, 2022, from https://www.govst.edu/uploadedFiles/Academics/Colleges_and_Programs/CHHS/Departments/Addictions_Studies_and_Behavioral_Health/Recovery_Coaching_Rational_vs_Irrational_3_questions.pdf

Mayo Clinic. (2019, March 16). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Retrieved on January 6, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/about/pac-20384610

Trauma Recovery. (nd). Fight, Flight, Freeze Responses. Manitoba Trauma Information and Education Centre, Retrieved on January 6, 2022, from https://trauma-recovery.ca/impact-effects-of-trauma/fight-flight-freeze-responses/

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