How to Not Get Stuck in Emotional Mud

Imagine driving down a back road and approaching a muddy section. You slow down and let your front tires ooze into the thick black mud. Then what? Do you forge ahead through the mud, hoping to make it to the other side? Or do you back out?

It’s a metaphor for emotion.

How often is it that you are going about your day feeling alright and then you come up to some angeranxietyfear or frustration. Maybe it’s a situation that pushes your buttons. Maybe it’s a thought or attitude that triggered it. It really doesn’t matter what the situation is. Situations come and go, thoughts come and go. But that emotion that got triggered is what we are talking about here. You approach this emotion and park your front tires in it. Yep, there it is. There’s the anger, the anxiety, the fear, or frustration. There it is.

Now what?

Do you punch on the gas and forge into it, hoping to get to the other side. Or do you back out?

Most often, you forge ahead, deep into the muddy anger, anxiety, fear, and frustration. You drive right on in. You spin your tires. You burn through fuel. You waste time and precious energy on trying to make it to the other side. And maybe you get stuck there for hours, or sometimes days. And the further you get, the harder it can be to get out. And if you do make it to the other side, your truck is so muddy it’s almost unrecognizable.

The other option is to back out of the emotion. To find your front tires in the mud, and then back the heck out of there.

I’m not saying that you should avoid situations that push your buttons - more often than not, those are unavoidable. What I am saying is this: the emotion that arises is avoidable. You don’t need to spend 3 hours stuck in the mud of anger because someone cut you off. You don’t need to spend a week stuck in anxiety mud because you have a meeting coming up. You don’t need to waste time and energy on fear, frustration, or any other negative emotion.

You’re driving the truck.

Do you ram through negative emotions, or do you stop yourself in your tracks and find another way?

You have every right to ram through. It’s your truck, and your mud. But you pay the price. You waste energy. You waste your time. And you waste your life. And don’t kid yourself, you’re going to track that mud everywhere you go, affecting your relationships, work, and play.

You have every right to stop your truck and back up. Again, you usually can’t back away from the situation, but you can choose how you feel about the situation. You can feel yourself entering into the emotional mud and say “Nah-ah. I absolutely cannot afford this,” and back out, choosing to feel something else.

The earlier you catch yourself, the easier it is.

Stay out of the emotional mud with The 42 Day Choice Challenge. Here's what others are saying about it:

 "Just do it!! You will be and feel like a better person."- Monica Halbesma, Carman Dufferin Fire Department, Public Education Safety Coordinator

"It is like using a magnifying glass on my life to become more aware of what I am doing, what is working, and what isn't working." -S.S. 

Here’s to Conquering Stress,

The Stress Experts

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