Monday, September 10, 2012

Respond to Negative Emotions with a Choice

One of my Deacon's published the following thoughts in our Parish Bulletin. Sounds very Franciscan, if you ask me.

Every human being experiences negative emotions. That's part of what it means to be a person. We can't help it. Bad feelings come to all of us.

We DO have a choice, however, in what we do with them when they come. Some suppose that every negative emotion requires a negative reaction, but that is not the case. Through prayer, attitude adjustment and self-discipline, we can respond positively to negative feelings.

If you don't decide, you’ll merely react — and the decision needs to come before you’re indecisive. One helpful practice I've used for many years is spiritual breathing. I imagine exhaling the negative stuff and then inhale deeply with positive replacement. It helps.

Today, I challenge you to choose responding rather than reacting: When you're frustrated with someone — choose kindness. When you're in a hurry — choose patience. When you're stressed out — choose peace. When you're angry — choose calmness. When you're frightened — choose courage. When you're anxious — choose faith. When you're discouraged — choose hope. When you're upset — choose serenity. When you're conflicted — choose harmony. When you're pressured — choose tranquility. When you're offended — choose forgiveness. When you're deprived — choose gratitude. When you're confused — choose prayer. When you're overwhelmed — choose simplicity when you're sad — choose joy. When you're in despair — choose life.

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