So, why do we get upset? Maybe you are one of those strange people who never gets upset, but I
always wonder: “Do you care about anything?” If you could answer ‘why’ you might know ‘what now’, true?
I spent my early life being upset about something…especially when things didn’t go my
way. Frankly, I don’t recall things going my way that much!
The reason we think we are upset can vary a great deal. It’s everything from someone else upsetting us
(the devil made me do it), to the stars, my blood sugar, wheat gluten, heat, humidity, or tree pollen. Now,
don’t get me wrong—all those things can affect how we feel as to mood or sense of well-being (maybe
not the stars); however, none of them are causing our upset.
Why do we get upset? Moreover, what is it costing you in terms of relationships or income or impact? The
constantly tearful or angry or frightened person doesn’t get too far these days. So, what if you could change it? What
if you could switch your upset off in a moment?
Honestly, I KNOW it can be done. I’m not perfect yet 😉 but I do know how to change my upset into calm. Sometimes
I don’t want to change it (like giving a speech about something that animates me!), but when I do, I can.
The trick is found in understanding why we are upset, and here’s the reason:
We get upset because we are thinking an upsetting thought
Yes, that’s it. But what more do you need? What an awesome diagnosis! What if you could grasp that all your
upsettedness (right word?) is caused by a particularly upsetting thought in the moment? It would mean that
you could change how you feel by simply changing what you are thinking about!
Now, that may sound easier than it you imagine, but it really isn’t. Someday I’m going to complete the course
on how to calm your crazy feelings; but in the meantime let me assure you of two things:
A) You can change your thoughts
B) Your upset will change with your next new thought
I don’t have the time to go into all the reasons why it works this way, but just pay attention and you’ll see the
truth of it.
So, here’s what I suggest when you are upset:
1. Ask and answer, “Am I upset?” You really have to admit it first.
2. Ask and answer, “What am I thinking that has me upset?”
3. Ask and answer, “What are the totally provable facts I’m thinking here?”
4. Ask and answer, “What am I guessing about this that I really can’t prove?”
That will be a great start. There is a curious change that occurs when we separate fact from opinion…and it
works in discussions too. Play with these questions and see what happens. Oh, and give it a number of tries! These
questions will change your thoughts most of the time, and so, your being upset as well.
Of course, you can change your mind in other ways. You can watch a movie, call a friend, imagine the person
you are upset with wearing a clown suit and talking with a ‘helium voice’ while participating in the running
of the bulls.
However, I think you’ll find these questions will help you shift your perspective. Let me know what you think.
Off to learn,
Fred Ray Lybrand