I was interested in where my mind goes when something occupies it enough to cause an upset. Earlier studies showed that I had a Direct trigger, meaning something was in my environment causing the thought, and a Self Induced trigger, meaning I was thinking about some other circumstance outside of my immediate environment. The trigger in that case was indirect and beneath my conscious awareness. I wanted to see if there was a difference in whether I was thinking about a future event (anticipation) or some past event (memory) in the Direct and Self Induced triggers. Here is what I found for Direct triggers.
The split between past or future was close to 60/40 with more of my upsets being something that had just happened in that moment. For example, when a man on a plane kicked me and I became irritated I was operating from an immediate memory. When I walked up to the visa window in Cambodia without the right currency I saw the window and was anticipating a problem getting the visa in the moment that was to come. When I looked at the Self Induced triggers an entirely different picture emerged.
When there was no Direct trigger in the environment the thoughts were predominantly of the future and the time horizon was mostly beyond the current day. Of the 24 thoughts about the past and qualified as Self Induced, only 4 were prior to the current day. The other 20 were very recent (same day) and the only reason they were not Direct is that the source of the trigger was no longer near me.
As a percentage of the whole, Self Induced Upsets regarding some far of future event represent 52.7% of the triggered upsets. Second in order of volume was Direct past at 21%. Generally the answer to the question of where my mind goes when it is occupied is either some distant future disaster scenario or a recently remembered irritation.
I will address specific strategies to reduce upsets overall in future posts. The data shows that creating a program where reducing future facing Self Induced upsets and instinctively letting go of Direct upsets as they happen can relax 73.7% of the triggered upset events. By watching that data a Personal Performance Design starts to emerge.