Emotion is always a reaction and, therefore, cannot be intentional. Mindsets can be either reactionary or intentional but intentional is typically better. I say typically because if you were to see a snake in the woods, being reactionary can be a life saver. But that’s not what we’re discussing here…

Zen

This reactionary bias causes the feelings to cloud what makes most sense or what might be the logically correct course of action. So how can you control your mindset if you can’t see past the emotion? We cannot prevent our emotional reactions or control ourselves having certain emotions but we can consciously choose how we act beyond the rise of the emotion. This is the emotional meaning of a situation rather than the invocation of the emotions themselves. By controlling this, we control the associations that we have with the context that spawned them and can even increase the likelihood of future contexts creating the emotions we want rather than the ones we don’t.

By thinking thru the situation we experienced and the emotions that it brought on and then rationalizing thru the situation and our expected outcomes, we increase the potential for us to feel differently the next time we experience the same situation. It’s a mental hack! Even more interesting is that we can set ourselves up for this before we head into a situation. It’s called priming and it’s been shown to be HUGELY effective in altering the emotions we feel in a situation regardless of whether or not the situation was emotionally charged.