The most difficult part of working with a strong and persistent destructive emotion is getting started — putting enough effort to “emerge” for the very first time. The key is to learn that it is doable, obtain personal experience and a roadmap of achieving balance (before fixing the external situation).
Delay external response, if possible
Let’s take a time-out before we rush to fix the next calamity. Our mind knows that irritators and external troubles are still there. However, let’s try to restrain the urge to change external things before we address our reactions to them.
The most important issue first
Whatever situation causes the most trouble at this very moment has to be dealt with first. Otherwise, the destructive emotions it brings to life overwhelm and taint our efforts to tackle lesser issues. Do you try to extinguish a match in the middle of an erupting volcano?
Be grateful: external troubles and resulting emotions alert us about the issues waiting to be addressed
Prolonged stressful conditions are an excellent stimulus to remind us about internal issues waiting to be addressed. Destructive emotions and restless thoughts conveniently highlight internal causes triggered. If we can notice them, we can deal with them: deconstruct, understand, work on the underlying causes until our response changes to constructive, harmonic, compassionate.
We work on our reactions and their causes until our focus on the current or any similar situation in the past (or their participants) no longer brings out destructive responses, but a warm and content feeling, peace of mind, joy, and gratitude. A “non-production” of destructive emotions.
Once such a successful experience of tackling, say, a fear of illness is obtained, it is much easier to notice residual relapses of the state and reduce its influence merely by becoming aware of it. The flip side of the coin is it is hard to recognize the emotion we never subdued.
An effort may be required to even recognize, name the issue
It is not easy to identify the destructive emotion when we are under its influence. We may avoid dealing with fear, hide behind naive “I am not afraid” narrative… Or we can find the strength to actually extinguish it. Progress, apply effort despite flying blind (not yet fully recognize the issue).
Mind-training: gain sufficient momentum
The expected workload to tackle a single issue for the very first time is quite substantial. We are often dealing with hundreds, thousands of past repetitions. Mind-training to “rewire” them may take hours, days or weeks, or even months of intensive effort.
If we face a similar situation that provokes the emotion we have subdued before, we know the emotional regulation drill. Notice, investigate, understand, fix. Repeat until emotional discomfort dissolves.
There are no silver-bullets, magical techniques to instantly wipe decades of bad habits, repetitions of fear, and obsolete notions ingrained. Even if we use the most effective psychological or “spiritual” tools. We cannot “hack” this. Any “mind-hacking”, shortcuts, “gaming the system” would strengthen the very ego-centric principles we try to replace.