Sometimes we become distracted from the direction in which we want to be going. Our purpose may become clouded by anger, annoyance, confusion, jealousy, fear, or other feelings that knock us off balance and take us off the path. Brain research has provided a handy way to deal with the distraction.
We label the feeling, saying in our mind or, if appropriate, aloud, statements such as "I am angry" or "I am nervous." When we make statements like this, that part of the brain feeling the distracting emotion is calmed. We can then return to clarity and purpose. The neuroscience literature calls this "labeling the affect."
Sometimes in the heat of the moment this labeling is not easy to do. One way to make it easier is to practice it throughout the day when you are not feeling distracted. You can practice by labeling behaviors as well as feelings. Here's how.
During the day make mental notes such as "I am eating," or "I am pleased," or "I am thinking about the deposition." If you practice daily, your skill in mental note taking will grow and you will be able to engage in it, no matter what is happening.
By labeling the affect, by taking mental notes, a self-leader can become calm in the middle of a storm.
I have found an iPhone app that helps me to practice making mental notes throughout the day. It's called Lotus Bud. Several times during your day the app randomly rings a bell; when you hear the bell, you can make a mental note.
Is there an app like this for Android? If so, please let me know and I will add its link here.
Note (added October 12, 2013): A reader kindly alerted me to Mindfulness Bell for Android; it is free. The version of Lotus Bud I am using is also free. See the comments for still another suggestion for Android users.