Perceived misfortune can habituate easily. Anger, frustration, aversion…these charged negative emotional states can easily become a vicious cycle, creating self-defeating contexts.

It can be like a red balloon in one’s mouth: the more air (perceived misfortune) we blow into it, the less we can see of the world. Too much air, and all we can see is red…as if all life is suffering and nothing else exists. Sometimes the view gets overwhelming and we’ll let some air out by venting or whining about our bad experience. Luckily, that’s not the only way to take air out of the balloon.

There are many quick tricks we can use to help us deflate the balloon. You can foster a habit of scaling your perspective or harness the mental trick of 10/10/10. Another useful tool is listing.

This mental trick of remembering the Red Balloon Analogy can work for very real situations. Ask yourself, “How much air am I putting in this balloon? How much do I want to put in? How much energy do I want to give to my suffering?

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Victor Frankl