What we experience inside our heads—our emotions and reactions—are just inner effects of outer events.

The stories we choose to tell ourselves, the way we choose to interpret events, powerfully impacts our responses and our effectiveness.

It has been said that stress is not an event, but a chosen reaction to an event. We may have allowed habit to squeeze down the space between stimulus and response so much that our responses are on autopilot, so automatic that we think that is just the way it is and no other response is possible. But that is not so and we can reclaim our responses.

When I am working on reclaiming my response, reestablishing control, I like to think that there is somebody on the other side of the world who doesn’t give a hoot about this event. And if another person can react differently, then it is within my power to do so as well. All I am dealing with is a thought, a reaction, and thoughts can be changed, reactions can be chosen.

Michael Jordan was once asked if the stress of the game ever got to him, the pressure of a must-win playoff game or the expectation of making a game-winning shot at the buzzer. Jordan is supposed to have laughed and said, “No, not at all. You don’t understand. Those are the moments I live for, those moments are the reason I play the game. It is my opportunity to show the world what I can do.”

Now THAT is an incredible re-frame, an amazingly empowering way to choose to view the situation.

Equally powerful opportunities for re-framing, for choosing new ways to view situations, are available to us every day, every moment of our lives.

It is your life. Release your brakes, begin living fully alive and fully aware. Add to your toolbox of mental and emotional skills every day. The life you save may be your own.