As a human being, you feel deeply. You are affected by others and how others respond and react to you. This can cause you to feel like you are on a rollercoaster of emotions, especially if someone is reacting in a way that puts you on the defensive.  A coworker passes by and gives you that “look”.  You know what “look” I am talking about.  That “look” that says “Who do you think you are?” Your mood suddenly shifts to a negative mindset, just from a “look”.   Now it is possible that you misinterpreted that “look”. Perhaps the coworker was deep in thought and that look wasn’t even meant for you. Maybe they were having a bad day and that look was letting you know that. There is also the possibility that maybe that look was meant for you.  You really don’t know.  You assume the intention of the look based on your own insecurities and history. And that voice in your head which keeps playing the scenario repeatedly and “confirms” that what you are thinking is correct, just doesn’t help. The fact that the mind keeps playing the scenario repeatedly just keeps you living in that destressed state of mind which leads to the rollercoaster of emotions.

The key to overcoming letting others’ actions affect your mood is detachment. To know that you are not your emotions and feelings, it is just what you are feeling at the time. Whatever you are feeling will eventually pass. Nothing is permanent including your current mood.

The goal is to be like the bottom of the ocean in a hurricane. When someone says or does something that hurts or angers you, you are going to feel hurt and angry, but the goal is to not stay in that state of mind for hours, days or weeks.

Think about the ocean in a hurricane or bad storm. The top of the ocean is very turbulent; waves are crashing, and the water is very choppy. However, think about the deepest depths of the ocean, miles down at the very bottom.  The ocean floor is more serene, not as disturbed as the top of the ocean. The water may be a little wavy but not nearly as turbulent as the top of the ocean.

When you don’t identify as your emotions and feelings, you are the bottom of the ocean floor, untouched by the storm above.