matter what your emotion, look for the fear that lies underneath
it. As a Course in Miracles tells us, "All healing is essentially
the release from fear."
Emotional Intelligence is the Most Important Thing You can
intelligence is the ability to understand and use your feelings
to get along well in your life. Emotional intelligence has
been found to be far more important that IQ, technical skills
or experience in how you succeed in the business world.
People who learn and use the skills of emotional intelligence
deal better with their stress, anger and anxiety and have
happier, more satisfying lives. They get along better with
their spouses and with their families.
are necessary for healthy living. They provide signals that
hold information for you. Feelings are meant to be felt,
understood, explored and then released. Some people run
away from their bad feelings and then the feelings stick
around. All feelings are okay to have but it is what you
do with them that count. Remember that it is not fair to
hurt people (or yourself) with your actions. If you habitually
lose your common sense because you are too angry or too
frightened to think clearly, you will damage your relationships.
are for learning. You can learn a lot about yourself and
how you act by watching your feelings. You can study your
emotions just like you study any other subject giving you
a positive life-long investment in yourself. Feelings can
be appraised to determine if they are appropriate for the
situation. You can learn to read the emotions of other people
to know how best to deal with or negotiate with them. You
can use your feelings to think ahead and problem solve to
plan for a better outcome instead of just reacting. You
can watch and see how you express your feelings and how
your over-the-top emotions affect other people. Observe
how your bad feelings and mood make you read things wrong
and misjudge the other person's intentions. Watch how your
bad feelings influence you to act out and make poor decisions
you wouldn't ordinarily make.
necessary skill of emotional intelligence is handling high
emotional and physical arousal when you are upset. Learning
to manage your arousal and calm yourself down when the hormones
are raging is one of the most important things you can do
to create a happy life. Modulating your high arousal is
necessary for being in a loving relationship because you
can't accomplish fair fighting and negotiating conflict
if your mind is going off the track! Keeping your cool under
stressful disagreements is absolutely necessary for problem
People React Differently to Events
are wired differently and it is due to their different types
of central nervous system. The temperament research shows
that whether you become highly aroused or not in times of
stress also depends on the make up of your central nervous
system. People differ in their emotional reactions because
they have different types of central nervous systems and
hormonal reactions to events. Additionally, some people
get over negative feelings faster than others. Sensitive
people seem to have quicker and stronger emotional reactions
than others who are more stoic and don't react strongly
to events. Some people can let things go more easily; others
hold on to grudges longer.
second reason people are different is the amount of stress,
abuse, trauma and neglect they experienced as a child. Children
who come from highly stressful families become overwhelmed
and don't have the opportunity to learn how to regulate
their emotions. Parents whose lives are constantly in crisis
don't have the resources to teach the child how to calm
down and they don't model self-regulation to their children.
from dysfunctional families typically have had higher emotional
and hormonal arousal during childhood. They learn to either
vent the feelings out while feeling justified in doing so
because it gives them a temporary release or they shut the
feelings down turning them into depression or physical illness.
Others react by turning to addictive behavior. Without the
skills to regulate their feelings, people from dysfunctional
homes often pass strife and not taking care of excessive
emotions on to their children or to their partner.
experience is one where something so bad happened that was
so overwhelming that the person did not have the mental
resources to understand and process it and then release
it. Trauma gets stuck in the mind and body in fragments
of sensory information. Terrifying visual images, auditory
words and sounds are jumbled as fragments that don't line
up in a linear fashion. Traumas usually have loss or violence
associated with them. Traumatized children have high arousal
emotional patterns. Trauma and the resulting arousal can
result in the person developing physical symptoms of illness,
destructive behavior, personality disorders, character issues,
addictions, phobias and continuing problems in relationships.
early trauma pattern is feeling unresolved disappointment
and other unbearable emotions. Children who experience hurt
and deep disappointment early in life often feel strong
emotions they cannot handle. Children who feel left out
when a new baby is born or who are ignored when a parent
turns to a new interest have great disappointment. Parental
fighting and/or dealing with the parent's divorce also create
loss and disappointment. They feel a sinking feeling that
they dislike and try to shut down by holding their breath.
They learn to get angry instead to squelch the great feeling
of disappointment. Later they learn that anger can become
a substitute emotion when they feel guilty or ashamed --
a habit that can continue throughout life.
and Use Self Soothing Techniques to Maximize the Best You
and arousal patterns are energies that can be moved and
transformed. Ignoring or stuffing your feelings is "out"
according to current psychological research. Ranting and
venting your feelings on others is out! Talking when you
are overly upset can retrigger you and is not helpful according
to current brain research. What is "in" is to learn to self-soothe
so that you, not your excessive emotions, are in charge!
Self soothing techniques are things you do-activities, exercises
and habits-to calm yourself when you are stressed or caught
in unruly emotions.
psychological techniques work because they apply a psychological
concept called Reciprocal Inhibition which means that two
emotions cannot occupy the same space at the same time.
You cannot feel hatred and happy at the same time. When
you impose a positive emotion over a negative one, one must
fall out and it usually is the negative one! Relaxation
and feelings of love and good self esteem help dissolve
fear and anxiety. Relaxation rules! Positive experiences
turn on the pleasure centers in the brain and reduce areas
that sense pain.
can learn to work with your emotions to bring about changes
in your brain! The brain is elastic and can be programmed
with stress management techniques. When you are angry and
add feelings of being empowered and joyful, fear, depression
or anger can lessen. What a good deal-tune into the positive
emotions to help counteract the negative ones!
all the techniques that decrease arousal and then choose
the ones that work the best for you. If one technique doesn't
help for your particular problem of the moment, try a different
one. Do something-don't just be at the mercy of your aroused
brain and central nervous system. You can learn to modulate
your own emotions so that they do not hijack your common
sense and cause others to distance from you. Practice makes
perfect when dealing with difficult emotions.
strong feelings don't go away after you learn and USE these
techniques, then it is time for you to get a trained professional
to help you learn to modulate your emotions by getting to
the root of them. When things in your life do not make sense,
get a counselor or therapist who can help you sort it out.
Life is too short to be confused, anxious, depressed or
angry much of the time. Or to be caught in senseless arguments
with loved ones. You deserve to have a happy life and if
you can't figure how to be happy on your own, get help!
be a slave to your overwhelming feelings. You have the potential
for change due to the elastic nature of your brain which
changes and grows when you learn new things. You can buffer
yourself against poor self esteem by taking charge of how
you react to what happens to you. Learn the different ways
of working with your unhappy emotions. Become a collector
of tools and techniques to calm yourself! It may take a
lot of practicing these different techniques for you to
recover from the strong grip of your bad feelings. You can
train your own mind by doing these exercise that reduce
Works? Ways to Work with Your Uncomfortable Emotions
the Psychological Defense of Projective Identification
is the defense of getting upset when others do things you
do not like in yourself. What you hate about yourself, you
can't stand in another person. Projective Identification
is trying to unload your own bad feelings off on the person
you are upset with. A common Projective Identification is
called "blaming the victim." Instead of taking responsibility
for one's own arousal pattern, the frustration and anger
are projected on outward-"I'm not bad, you are bad for upsetting
me." It may get the other person to leave you alone temporarily,
but you will end up with more guilt and more of a sense
of "badness." Read my article When Shame Becomes Rage on
the Angries Out web site for more information.
Cut Down on the Number and Intensity of Arguments, Agree
to Disagree on Some Topics
Gottman, the major researcher on conflict in couples, says
that most arguments between couples cannot be resolved.
Some topics will never be agreed upon, so you just have
to agree to disagree. Make a list of topics that will never
be solved between you and your partner and stop talking
about them! Any topic that involves blaming the other or
arguing who is the worst (or best) will always end up with
tempers flaring. One couple had tremendous fights over whose
relatives were the meanest-could something this emotional
ever be settled? Another couple had an ongoing argument
over who was more selfish. Unresolved issues of the past
will typically stay unresolved unless you get into counseling.
Stick to problems that can be solved! Post your "don't go
there" list on the fridge and agree not to fight about these
Avoid Acting like a Jerk, Take a Time Out
people in an argument must agree before hand to take a Time
Out to cool down whenever either one gets flooded and says
things he or she does not mean. Make a contract to separate
physically until you both are in a calmer state of mind.
Make the time out sign given in football to signal that
you are about to "lose it" and need to take a breather.
It may take ten minutes or twenty-four hours for each of
you to do some of the techniques listed below to bring yourself
down to a low-arousal state.
you are flooded in the argument, say so, and then state
that you need to take a break for the good of the relationship
to get yourself under control. The contract between you
both must be to do what is best for the relationship, not
get your own irrational needs met under the influence of
hormonal flooding (which usually makes you act like a jerk!).
You are not leaving and to avoid the topic-you need to excuse
yourself so that you do not say anything that makes things
worse (and that you do not really mean.) Then find a way
to gracefully excuse yourself and get away quick such as
"I need to leave before I say something we both will regret."
If this is an issue that might be solved, agree to meet
again to talk when you both are calmer. It's not fair to
use this Time Out procedure just to avoid problem solving.
this Time Out contract before the next fight-don't try to
establish it when you both are hot headed. For Time Out
to work, the other partner must agree that a break is necessary
so that aggression does not escalate. He or she must then
take care of his or her own upset feelings using the techniques
listed below and avoid following the person leaving to "make
one more point" or "trying to get closure on the problem."
If you feel anxious, fearful or angry, you are responsible
for taking care of your own emotions. Calming your own high
arousal should be your goal here no matter what your partner
does or does not do!
Emotional Freedom Technique
by tapping or rubbing your body is a form of self massage
that feels good. Tapping briskly on your body when you are
upset gets your energy moving and helps you relax. The Emotional
Freedom Technique (EFT) combines acupressure with counteracting
negative thoughts, owning the problem and forgiving yourself.
EFT helps calm down the fight or flight response by balancing
your brain hemispheres. It helps desensitize triggers that
make you angry or frightened and helps release strong emotions
and negative thoughts. Read more at www.emofree.com.
brain activity and body rhythms are monitored through a
computerized feedback program so that you learn to breathe
deeply and calm arousal. Heart Math™ and The Journey to
the Wild Divine™ are two examples of computer biofeedback
programs you can purchase to use at home.
you are scared, you probably contract your body and hold
your breath to try to squish the feelings in order to keep
from feeling bad. Pulling your body in tight and stopping
your breath keeps you from getting good oxygen to deal with
whatever upsets you. Whenever you are scared or angry, use
your breath to make yourself strong and powerful! Your breath
is your best friend! It will always be with you when you
want to calm yourself down. Make your breath go down deep
into your body as far as you can. Deep breathing which goes
down past the rib cage into the belly helps you feel relaxed
as it bring good, life-affirming oxygen into your body.
Breathing helps calm the fight, flight or freeze reaction
that you can go into when stressed. Deep breathing helps
bring you back to where you can think more clearly and reason!
Prana Breathing is helpful in connecting the right and left
side of the brain by alternating holding the right nostril
while breathing gently out the left one, then holding the
left nostril shut while breathing out the right nostril
and vice versa which calms the brain and central nervous
Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a technique
for releasing old trauma and negative beliefs. This tool
helps release stressful and uncomfortable emotions stored
away in the body and mind. EMDR is helpful in releasing
uncomfortable memories of being criticized, embarrassed
and shamed by others as well as being unmotivated or stuck
on certain emotionally stressful issues. Through the eyes
shifting back and forth while focusing on a problem, feeling
or inner body states, old repressed feelings come to the
surface and are released. You will need to find a therapist
who practices EMDR.
powerful imagination can make pictures in your mind to release
unhappy experiences and bad feelings. Your subconscious
mind does not know the difference between real and pretend.
Sometimes you can trick it by using your imagination to
make pictures in your mind to change the feeling. You can
use visual symbols and rituals to release your anger, fear,
sadness and other uncomfortable feelings. One common image
for calming arousal is to picture yourself in a calm, quiet
place in nature or a safe setting while breathing deeply.
is keeping your attention on what is happening in the moment.
You just watch how you inhale and exhale and observe the
thoughts as they come and go. You calm yourself by focusing
on your breath until the negative emotion leaves. Just watch
the events and emotions as they come up instead of reacting
to them. The focus shifts to just being the neutral observer
of all events, feelings and thoughts. Meditation helps you
learn to be more mindful. Stop knee-jerk reactions. Keep
your mind in neutral!
Your Feelings Out
heads can be better than one when figuring tricky things
out if you have the ability to take feedback. Talking about
your feelings with a safe person who can help you get a
new perspective. A safe person is someone who can listen
to you and take your feelings seriously and will keep your
private information confidential. They can help you problem
solve and figure out what to do with your problem. If you
become incensed or terrified while talking or it doesn't
help solve your problems, then you may need to get a mental-health
professional. All forms of therapy are not created equal
and do not get equal results. If you've been in therapy
for years or done therapy years ago, you probably have not
learned the newer techniques that decrease arousal. Highly
trained professionals can teach you many of these innovative
techniques and others as well.
Tapas Acupressure Technique
Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) is a simple method that
helps people get in touch with and release information about
what is bothering them by holding certain points on the
forehead and back of the neck with their fingers. You hold
bladder and governing vessel acu-points at the base of the
skull and near the eyebrows while focusing on an issue.
With this technique, the front and back of the brain are
connected and brain rhythms become more balanced as you
go through steps to release your issue. To find out more,
go to www.unstressforsuccess.com.
Behavioral Psychology Approaches
and intrusive thoughts, as well as self-angering ideas,
can get a hold on your mind making you miserable. The Cognitive
Behavioral techniques require you to address your ways of
thinking that upset you. They help correct errors in thinking
which lead your mind astray.
Talk statements give you a new way of looking at things
to help you break into negative thoughts and errors in thinking.
You can learn to be your own cheerleader and coach when
you tell yourself positive words about how you want to be.
See yourself becoming how you want to be. Chill Out words
show you how to talk yourself down when you are upset. Remind
yourself to breathe and keep your cool. Talk to yourself
to become strong and resilient. Tell yourself, "I can deal
and breaking into negative thoughts is a series of ideas
called Thought Stoppage. You can learn to interrupt your
thoughts and get back to your more positive mind and change
your mood. Yelling "Stop!" or "Negative thought get out
of here!" puts you in charge of your mind. Distract yourself
and tell yourself "I'm not going there" gives you more control
of your mind. Adding a gesture such as shrugging your shoulders
or pretending to push the thought away gives added emphasis.
Stop giving negative thoughts free rent in your brain!
the Layers of Emotions
feelings stack up and hide underneath each other, making
it hard to understand what is going on. You can break a
big feeling such as anger down to see what other emotions
might be lurking underneath. There is no set pattern. Hurt
and sadness might be hiding under anger. Anger might be
hiding under fear and confusion. Sadness might be hiding
under feelings of loss and fear. Find the emotion that is
on top and work on releasing it, then ask yourself what
other feelings you might have. As you address each separate
emotion, the whole stack of feelings might start to shift.
Keep digging until you come up with an original childhood
memory that represents the bottom emotion. Then do The Emotional
Freedom Technique, Eye Movement or The Tapas Acupressure
Technique on how you felt as a child.
Out How You Cope When You Feel Threatened
saying is "It's not what happened to you but how you coped
with it that is important." Under your deepest feeling you
might find a decision of how you decided to keep yourself
safe after a highly upsetting experience. Bad things happen
in life. The important thing is not always what happens
to you, but how you deal with it. Learning to deal with
your overwhelming feelings is part of how you cope in life.
Now that you are learning about the correct use of your
emotions, you can learn better ways to deal with them.
you were small, you probably tried to figure out how to
keep yourself safe and keep the bad experience from happening
again. You learned how to cope with threat to keep safe.
You might have decided to stop risking or stop speaking
out. Or you might have decided to get angry so others would
back off or to get your own way. You may have tried to shrink
down inside yourself and stop breathing to try to be invisible
and safe. Or you may have learned to give up when things
get tough. Your unhealthy defenses affect your life in many
type of coping you figured out as a child may have helped
you survive back then, but now that you are older, you can
learn better ways to take care of yourself. Stay present
in the moment and calm your wildly swinging emotions by
taking deep breaths. Taking deep breaths gives you some
time to figure out what to do. You can learn better strategies
than collapsing in fear, not speaking out, intellectualizing,
denying what you can't deal with or exploding in anger when
you feel threatened.
About Your Feelings
about your feelings of what happened to upset you helps
get them out of your head and down on paper or on your computer.
The research shows that writing about their feelings and
their problems helps people feel better. Most feelings lose
their potency when they are exposed to the light of day!