Remember the times when you relive an upsetting situation in your mind or when you describe it to a friend. The never ending “He/She said and I said” interactions. By replaying the dialogue, the emotions come back and you become angry and upset.
Although this event has already occurred, you still think what witty answers you could have given or how it would have felt if you had said the things you didn’t dare to say. The more you think about it, the more forceful your emotions become. Instead of trying to figure out what to do differently next time to address the situation more effectively, you fall into the trap in defending yourself to yourself.
The mental downward spiral continues and there is no easy way out. These are the situations where you need to reboot yourself. It is similar to what we do with computers; we just press re-start when there is a problem.
Also, think of a gesture like clenching your fist or blinking your eyes to give a signal to your mind that the rebooting is about to start. This a small but powerful mental trick that can help you to trigger the process and re-balance.
If you catch yourself still dwelling on the same topic, reboot again. The positive thing is that you are already aware of your unhelpful thoughts. The more you practice to neutralize them, the more effective you will become. (For the cynics around us: If your aim is to prove that this technique doesn’t work, you will most certainly succeed.)
The bottom line: Next time you realize that you have given free rein to your emotions and you need to get back control, think of rebooting yourself.
Korina Karampela is the founder of b4iapply. She passionately believes in empowering people to make informed decisions about their career and their finances. She is a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry and has an MBA from MIT Sloan. In her limited spare time, she wants to join forces with others to help everybody to be a better version of themselves.