The other night, a friend shared a dinner-prepping episode that went approximately like this: 'annoying' husband helped 'man' the grill while exhausted, feet-a-throbbing friend whipped up 3+ side dishes after working a 9-hour day. (She's ambitious). Annoying husband, after completing his simple task, walked in to place the plate of finished chicken thighs on the kitchen counter. Exhausted friend marvels at his total bypass of the kitchen table. "Why couldn't he just put the chicken on the table!? He had one thing to do! Isn't it common sense!? Finished chicken goes on the dinner table!?" With curiosity, I asked this friend, "Were you really angry with the actual location of the chicken or the story you created around traveling chicken?"
Turns out, she was taking her exhaustion out on the person closest to her with whom she also harbors unaddressed resentment toward. The chicken's GPS was just an easy trigger. (Another topic, another blog post).
This scenario, which is wildly relatable IMO; is part of our modern and human existential crisis. An event takes place, we choose an emotion out of our toolbox, put that emotion on, and react accordingly.
When was the last time someone or some thing really frustrated you or set you off? Go ahead and transplant yourself back in that exact moment. Can you recall the event? What emotion did you experience as result? Did the emotion serve you? If no, is there a different emotion you could have experienced that would have yielded a different, more ideal outcome? Try that emotion on instead. Do you notice a different outcome?
When I first started practicing this, I wanted to throw a fit like my former 2-year old self. Some days, I still fail miserably at it. It can feel like learning a brand new skill, which, surprise: that's exactly what this kind of work is. You see, our brains are hardwired. The set of things you do day after day without even consciously thinking about them? They've been hardwired into your brain through habituation. The latest studies indicate it takes 66 days to form a habit. No wonder sticking with new things can be hard!
The real test is: do you want to have a different experience in your lifestyle, love life, career or finances? To have a different experience requires doing things differently.
What if you were no longer a prisoner to your emotions? What if you could handle moments of challenge or tension with little impact on your emotional state? What if that ridiculous co-worker's comment no longer triggered a negative emotion for you, ruining the rest of your day?
What if you could emotionally detach from EVERYTHING (the healthy way)!?
Here's how you can. It's a simple 4-step process known as HEDL, created by Dr. Neeta Bhushan.
The next time you find yourself in a sour pickle, whether at home, at work or mid-commute; follow the 4-steps outlined here to tap into your inner source and unf*ckwithable-ness!
1. H = HONOR the feeling or emotion. Write down or consider: Why did I feel the need to win/raise my voice/fight back/etc., (insert your personal experience)
2. E = EXPERIENCE the emotion. What does it feel like to experience (insert the emotion)? Allow yourself to really experience the emotion.
3. D = DETACH from the emotion. You are not your emotion. Write down or talk it out, declare: "I am NOT (insert the emotion)." Remember, the emotion is just a temporary state. You always choose the emotions you want to feel.
4. L = LETTING IT GO. Take a walk, do a few jumping jacks, shout it out, breathe it in and out, write it out; use whatever feels authentic for you to move the emotion through you. This step is key to processing the emotion fully.
Congratulations! You are DETACHED. Always know that with anything, practice makes perfect. Keep these steps in a handy place, saved in your phone, in a notebook, etc., so you can refer to them daily until you are a natural detacher. You got this!
Be sure to share any insights or personal experiences below.