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Feeling emotional?

Emotions are confusing, seemingly arbitrary and out of our control. It feels like they just well up inside us, then if we submit, they can consume us.

Do we tend to notice negative emotions more? Could that be because different chemicals are stimulated in the brain forcing us to sit up and take notice? Fear was originally a mechanism that kept us alive. Then again oxytocin (the cuddle drug) sure feels delicious when it courses through our bodies.

When something happens - say one of my children loses it because her sister has taken the spare can of deodorant out of her room (COMPLETELY HYPOTHETICAL), starting a deodorant WAR that ends with them punching each other - I can observe my reactions as they pop up. In this case bemused, incredulous, annoyed, disappointed, cross and finally saddened that this is what they perceive as a big PROBLEM, but also elated that they have no REAL problems. In this example I felt no need to react or take on any of these emotions, I could shrug them off.

I remember a wise friend telling me that there is a gap of 30 seconds between an action and your reaction. You can use that time to choose and I know that even though I STRIVE FOR ENLIGHTENMENT, I will still choose, from time to time, to let loose with anger or scorn. But, at other times, I reject my knee-jerk reaction. That's cause for quiet celebration!

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Viktor E. Frankl

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