For example, I dropped the milk getting it out of the refrigerator, the lid popped and milk was pouring on to the floor. I didn't think, I reacted, pure emotion. I let out my favorite string of curse words while moving my feet out of the way. Tried to save some milk by grabbing at the container and got to watch it pour out faster. String of curse words times 2. Well, it is now 45 seconds later, the jug is empty and the tidal wave of milk has stopped moving across the floor.
NOW, my brain kicks into gear, the more rational side is problem solving, I am responding: there is a half gallon of milk on the floor and it must be cleaned up. Should I try paper towels or a bath towel to start soaking it up? Maybe a mop and bucket. I will have to back up my wheelchair while lifting my feet so I don't leave a milk trail to the linen closet [I have decided on a BIG towel]. Fifteen minutes later, I will have laundry to do. What can I have for breakfast, now?
HERE IS THE A-HAH MOMENT: If you were in the same situation, would your emotional / reactive side CONTINUE to rule the situation? Oh, I am so stupid, so clumsy. Who didn't screw the lid on tight? I'm so angry I have to clean this up. Now look, I have to do laundry. Now I have to mop the floor, too. Get out of my way dog. You're making this worse. Where is that container; I threw it pretty far. Now look, I have to clean the wall. Why does this always happen to ME? Reactive / emotional side keeps you grumping for at least a 3 hour stretch. This is commonly called negative thinking and negative self-talk.
OR, did your rational side take over? OK, OK, take a breath. What do I have to do, what order should I do it in? I'll clean it up and get all the towels in the house for a full laundry load. The floor really was dirty and needed mopped anyway. I need to call my wife and ask her to pick up more milk. I think I'll have toast for breakfast. The practical, more positive response to an inconvenient situation.
And yes, you may have seen this coming: Why cry over spilled milk? It was an accident. Accidents do and will happen. Is there any way it can be prevented from happening again? We really can't stop the reaction / the emotion, at the moment of impact, but, we can decide what we are going to do about it. We can choose our rational response. We can choose positive thinking and find a positive response.
Next time: looking into the mirror.