Have you ever had an experience where your boss walked past your desk and gave you a look that sent shivers down your spine? Immediately, your mind likely raced to comprehend the meaning of the look. 

What did I do? Am I going to be fired? What did I forget? 

But if we take a step back and separate ourselves from the stories circling through our brain we might actually discover an entirely different possibility. Your boss could have just received terrible news on a phone call. He or she could be suffering physical pain from some unknown ailment. Maybe your boss wasn’t even looking at you at all but in some space beyond you. 

Without hard facts, our brains create stories. Those stories are based on prior experiences and usually skew negatively because our brains want to protect us from future hurts. When we let the stories mushroom into a cloud of confusion and anxiety, we lose our ability to control our emotional reaction to an experience. When you are in that moment, fiction can look a whole lot like fact.

Once you understand the power these stories have over you and identify moments when this storytelling occurs, you will be able to recognize and control emotional triggers. You actually have the power to choose your story…to be the victim or the victor. 

The key to a joyful life is telling useful stories rooted in the proper questions. 

What do I actually know to be a fact and what has my brain come up with from a past experience

What might be going on with their life that I may not even know? 

Drama is usually caused by an unmet need. What kind of need do they seem to have? 

Asking these questions will bring perspective, but it will also bring peace because it frees you from the drama-inducing emotions that arise when you let your stories get the best of you. If you can control your story, you can control your feelings. And that is a powerful tool. 

We talked about this topic on our Drama Free Living podcast. Check it out if you want to learn more.