Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Every Day

By Julie Rahm

Are you ready to be happy every day? The key to happiness is the ability to manage negative emotions. How? Let’s get into my Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit for a self-awareness tune-up!

American physicist, Richard Feynman once said “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” Before you can handle your emotions, you have to be aware of them. Reach into the Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit. Use the metaphorical level to determine when your mood is out of balance. Then, use the metaphorical flashlight to shed light on your emotions. Identify the emotions you feel by closing your eyes and concentrating on your feelings. Find the original source of the negative emotion. For example, if someone made you angry, did that person remind you of someone else? What specifically happened to trigger your anger? Think back to the first time you can remember feeling the same anger. Once you identify your triggers, use the metaphorical utility knife to cut the cord to the original source. Simply identifying the source brings relief.

Finally, hammer in the framework for responding effectively. When negative emotions build, force yourself not to respond for at least ten seconds. Take five deep breaths. Think about a happy memory. Do whatever it takes to respond, not react.

As a personal example, last week our Yorkie puppy, Tank challenged my ability to respond effectively. We were playing together in the front yard when Tank saw his Labrador friend, Doc. Tank took off running at full speed. By the time I caught up with him, he and Doc were all the way across the neighborhood. I watched the two dogs play for a few minutes and then told Tank to go home. He knew I was not pleased with him, so he stayed just far enough ahead of me that I could not pick him up. At first, I felt angry. By the time we headed home I felt sad. What was that about? Both emotions were triggers to childhood. The anger was about my best friend choosing to play with someone else instead of me. The sadness was about Tank staying ahead of me as we walked home. That reminded me of being six years old and walking to school with older girls who frequently ran ahead of me, laughing while leaving me behind. Once I connected with the memories Tank’s behavior triggered, the anger and sadness subsided. Without self-awareness I would have blamed Tank for making me angry and sad.

Self-awareness makes you aware of emotions and their source. Understanding their source causes negative emotions to subside. Keep your Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit handy so you are ready to handle negative emotions on the spot and be happy every day!

Learn more about the Mindset Mechanic and her tool kit online at and on the radio at FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC and

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