Over the weekend, I read David Rock’s very interesting book, Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long.
One strategy particularly struck me. He suggested that if you’re feeling a negative emotion, you can work to reduce it simply by labeling it in one or two words.
Note, however, that thinking or talking at length about the emotional state tends to intensify it, while simply observing and labeling it helps to quell it.
I do this myself, instinctively. I find myself thinking, “I’m overwhelmed” or “I’m frazzled” or “I’m feeling defensive” — and it’s odd how calming it is. Just putting a label on a feeling helps me to master it.