The above is the formula for using your thoughts and emotions in a way that serves you.
A practice of thinking, feeling and noticing that will allow to be more content, fulfilled and prosperous.
What do the three words mean though?
How could just three words mean so much?
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I was driving down the highway the other day and found myself getting irritated by the driving behavior of a fellow motoroist.
Road “More-than-Mild-Annoyance” is a challenge for me.
I don’t get enraged as some do, but I certainly waste mental and emotional energy on things that I: 1) can’t control and 2) don’t really matter.
In a flash of insight I came up with the three words above. I realized I could do something different than getting upset.
Notice: this is the key to the whole process and perhaps the most difficult to adopt. To notice that one is getting knocked off-track in terms of thoughts and emotions requires some level of awareness and consciousness. (Meditation can help greatly in cultivating the required awareness.) It’s really as simple and saying: “Hmmm, I’m getting “activated/triggered/knocked-off-track” by what’s happening right now.”
Choose: the choosing here is making a different, more resourceful, choice. It’s saying to one’s self: “How do I want to be in regards to this stimulus? Do I want to react as I often/usually do, or do I want choose something that serves me?”
Return: the return bit is to come back to a place of resourcefulness and focus. It could be calmness, or it could be a highly energized state, or it could be some other variation. The key is actually come back to a state that serves your well-being and authentic desires/goals.
* * *
No doubt that seemingly simple three step process is a challenge. The reason being is that we are set-up to be pattern-recognizing, automatically reacting neuro-biological creatures.
But we can over-come that largely unnecessary vestige of our ancient programming.
We are much better served in the modern world to be thoughtful and careful curators of our mental-emotional states.
I submit that to the extent that we adopt some practice like mediation to better manage our minds (note; I didn’t say control) we will be more content, fulfilled and prosperous.
And who doesn’t want that?