Getting Beyond Illusion

The following technique was designed to help you sort through the jumble of thoughts in your brain. When you face a confusing or frustrating situation, follow the steps by answering the questions to open your mind to options. You can also use it to guide a conversation with someone else to help them broaden their perspective. Just ask them to answer the questions to help them to reframe and perceive new solutions...

Exercise: The SET-C Method

TELL THE STORY. In your point of view, what is going on? Who or what would you like to blame or give credit to? What thoughts keep running in your head?

IDENTIFY THE EMOTION. Name all the emotions triggered by the situation. Be honest. Look deep into your body. Check for physical reactions in your gut (anger), chest and throat (fear) bottom of your stomach (betrayal, failure), heart (if it hurts, you’re probably grieving a loss; if it feels full, you are experiencing pride, appreciation, happiness or love). Look for more than one emotion. For example, anger could mask fear or jealousy. Or you could be feeling happiness and jealousy at the same time.

LOOK FOR THE TRIGGER. What do you think you didn’t get that you really wanted? List ALL the reasons you are feeling as you do. What did you want to happen or expect to receive? What are you not getting from the situation that you need, such as respect, love or control? What are you afraid of losing, such as your pride, security or attention?

CHOOSE. First, shift your emotional state into neutral. If you can, find something or recall a memory that will help you to feel happiness, appreciation or humor. Then ask yourself: Is it true that the person is intentionally depriving you of your need or trying to cheat you out of something? If it is, can you ask for what you need? If it’s not true or asking will do no good, can you let it go? Focus on how you would like to feel and how you want this story to end.

To achieve your outcome, choose to:

  • Ask for what you need
  • Let it go. Shift your emotion to humor, happiness or appreciation, then focus your energy elsewhere.
  • Commit to an action that is in alignment with what you value.

It is important to apply the SET-C method of inquiry—Story, Emotion, Trigger, then Choose—in real time if possible. At the moment that you are under stress, frustration, anxiety or anger, the quicker you identify the trigger and choose your action, the sooner you will stop the physiological and psychological impacts. If you can actually shift your emotional state to happiness, appreciation or humor, you can get back on track and fully utilize your brain.

Remember, it’s your choice to feel what you want to in the moment. Using the SET-C approach, look at the Story you are telling about the person. Acknowledge the Emotion you are feeling in your body. Name the Trigger that is causing your emotional state, then Choose to ask for what you need or let it go.

For example, if you feel impatient because you are right in an argument, yet you admit that your partner is not trying to make you look stupid, you might choose to acknowledge that there are many ways to view a situation, with two of those viewpoints in the room. If you feel betrayed by someone, then either ask the person to give you what you need in the future or choose to spend your time with more worthy friends.

Choose your health and well-being over letting someone drain your nervous, hormonal and immune systems.

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