You know that feeling when someone says something or something happens that totally destabilises you for the rest of the day? Suddenly, you find yourself feeling off-centre and experience emotions of anxiety, guilt, or shame. Yes, I had one of those yesterday and you will not believe what set me off.

I was about to leave the house for the night and I did the usual checks for taking away items: wallet, keys, phone and EarPods. The problem was that I could not find my EarPods. I frantically searched through the house for about 20 minutes and at this stage, I was getting edgier by the second. At last, I had to call off the search because I was running late and had to leave the house. On way, I found myself extremely agitated and disappointed with myself. How could I lose my expensive EarPods? Then, negative self-talk started to creep in: “Here we go again, get it together John. You can’t even handle something that basic”

Thankfully, lately, I’ve been doing a lot of self-awareness work and was able to spot the emotional rollercoaster before heading down the negative spiral. I reflected on why temporally misplacing my EarPods could have sent me into such a tailspin and I got to the bottom of it. See in 2018, I lost my much-loved pair of EarPods and at around the same time, I was going through a very difficult time personally. Losing the EarPods now took me back to that time. Thankfully now that I’m better at understanding myself, I could pose and say to myself “It’s all good, you’ll find them tomorrow and even if you didn’t, you can still get others”.

There will always be situations that throw you off balance and force you to feel or react differently. What I’ve found useful is understanding your triggers. If you were to consciously observe yourself over the next few days, you’ll start to see a number of patterns. Once you understand the patterns then you can build strategies to deal with the situations when they occur. It does not mean that will be a perfect process but it could be the difference between spending the next few days or weeks mopping around or snapping out of a negative bender in a matter of minutes or a few hours. Above all, the long term solution is investing time to really know yourself.

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