Avoiding the Grinch and becoming the Grinch

Photo byengin akyurt onUnsplash

 

We are all familiar with the Grinch. This eccentric, misanthropic character, spurred from the imagination of Dr Seuss, whose only goal is to ruin the fun for everybody else (especially for Christmas). Unfortunately, nowadays it seems that the grinch mindset is becoming more fact than fiction, especially on the road.

 

Look, nobody wants to ruin the holidays for their loved ones or the people around them. Almost nobody wants to inherently speed or crash somebody else’s car, but bad emotional management can lead to such occurrences happening. In this article, we’ll explore some of the methods you can use to control your emotions and create the best driving experience for you, your family, and the other people on the highway. 

 

Disclaimer:

When we say “emotional control”, we don’t mean emotional suppression. Far too many people think they deal with their emotions by denying their existence, which ironically leads to significantly more negative reactions and results. 

 

Detachment:

Emotional control starts with you understanding that your emotions are neither good or bad. They just are. It’s the meaning you attach to them that’s the problem. 

 

For example, road rage is the result of us getting frustrated and labelling frustration as a bad thing. And the only way to solve this bad thing is by doing something that feels good. The thing that feels good during road rage is screwing up the other driver somehow. Unfortunately, just because it makes you feel good, doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing. Doing the right thing and feeling like you are doing the right thing can be the opposite sides of the same coin. 

 

Fortunately, we don’t have to be slaves to our emotions. We can become masters of our impulses. It’s not about trying to meticulously feel only good emotions or suppress bad ones, but refusing to label them as good or bad. 

 

How do we do that? Well, we start, very, very small.

 

How to start mastering your emotions:

Changing any part of ourselves is hard. Especially our behaviors. We can’t simply “choose” to not give in to impulses. If emotional labeling was ingrained in us, trying to change everything at once will only result in failure. Instead, we should focus on winning the easy battles first. 

 

Starting small is the best way to change because it creates the habit of showing up. And starting is the hardest part in almost anything we do. Remember, in order for something to improve, you have to consistently do it. 

 

How would we utilize this approach for emotions? E.g. Before I act on my emotion, I’ll count to 5. Would it work right away? Probably not. But it doesn’t have to. The goal is to get started. The desired result will come eventually.

 

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