December 4, 2020
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Dealing with emotional storms

By: Steven Campbell
February 28, 2020

As you are reading this, I will be speaking at “Tie Con Chandigarh 2020,” a huge convention of entrepreneurs in India!

How I got there is…well…interesting.

My Rotary group meets every Tuesday morning at the Doubletree. Two weeks ago, one of our members described her trip to India to give anti-Polio drops to India’s children. When she was asked if they knocked on the doors of the children who lived in the slums, her response was, “They don’t have doors at the slums.”

I became teary-eyed and asked, “Is there something I could possibly do for the people in India?”

My agent texted me two hours later and asked me if I would be interested in speaking in India. Tie Con Chandigarh (Chan-di-gar) had heard about my message, and wanted me to be the keynote on February 29th. They would pay for everything.

Then I really began crying.

However, this last week was one of emotional storms.

The Events

First I was going to India

I got all the inoculations (Typhoid, Hepatitis A/B, Malaria, Cholera, Yellow Fever, etc.)

Then my e-visa application was rejected

I did NOT know what to do

I completed four applications for a tourist visa. (3 of them were wrong!)

I took three trips to the India Consulate in San Francisco

I discovered I had left my wallet at home when I got there

Then I thought I had lost my passport when I left there

They told me I was too late

Finally a person sat down and helped.

I received an email last night saying that my e-visa application was NOT rejected.

I drove down on Monday to pick up my tourist visa. (So now I had two!)

On Tuesday evening I left for India.

And that doesn’t even cover the feelings: joy, shock and fear, frustration and anger, helplessness, fatigue, self-loathing, fear again, relief and joy again

Admittedly many of those feelings didn’t help!

However, when I thought that India had been taken away from me for the want of a simple visa, I believed I was entitled to my negative self-talk and found myself wallowing in it. 

However, those feelings gave me nothing and they even took away a little bit of my life.

Remember this, dear reader, negative self-talk doesn’t just stay in our minds,

It often leads to actions and feelings we might sometimes regret.

Unfortunately in many cases, even when people see the destructive nature of the self-talk, they aren’t willing to let go of it. It can be comforting. It can be confirming. It can give you a false sense of purpose. What most people don’t see is that all negative self-talk does is steal.

It steals your attention from the present, by helping you stay stuck in the past.

It steals your happiness because you can’t focus on the good things when your mind is clouded by the negatives.

It steals your relationships, your hopes, your opportunity for better things.

Negative self-talk gets you in its grip and does everything possible to keep you trapped.

So…when you want to release yourself from the pain of your negative self-talk, here are some steps you can take, as suggested by Dr. Beverley Flaxington of Suffolk University.

First step: be aware. The longer you spend defending your right to be negative, and to inform others they just don’t understand your pain, the longer you keep yourself from a more pleasant and contented life. Recognize that these thoughts don’t serve you. They don’t bring you joy. They don’t move you forward. They simply keep you stuck. Choose to acknowledge their presence, and acknowledge their destructiveness.

Next, have a plan to counter negative self-talk with something more soothing. You don’t have to insert a false sense of positivity if you don’t believe it; your mind will reject anything that isn’t true for you. Instead, just learn to move to a neutral state. Can you develop a mantra you like, a poem, saying, or words from a song that comfort and inspire you? Sometimes the act of replacing the negative spool that runs over and over again with something more neutral breaks the cycle.

Consider making a list of the things you have in your life that make you content and happy. What goes “right” for you? After you write down this list, pull it out and read it over and over again until you are comforted that things are really okay. They might not be great and you may still have to deal with things you don’t want to, but your focus is on the good, not what you want.

Most importantly, refrain from acting on negative self-talk. See if you can move to objectivity instead of emotion. What are the facts of the situation? What will the impact be on you if you choose to deal with things differently? What choices do you have? Going into a state of facts, data and objective viewpoints often diminishes the sting of emotion associated with negative states.

Learning to release yourself from the negative ties that bind you to unhappiness will free you up to do things you care about and focus on what matters most to you.




Steven Campbell is the author of “Making Your Mind Magnificent.” His seminar “Taming Your Mind, Unleashing Your Life” is now available online at  For more information, call Steven Campbell at 707-480-5507.