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on Healthy Feelings!
Talk, Trust & Feel
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Dr. Lynne Namka
Licensed Psychologist
www.AngriesOut.com

 

GET YOUR FEELINGS OUT
Interactive Exercises

 

Emotional Intelligence:
How The Techniques In These Interactive Exercises Work

Lynne Namka, Ed. D. © 2004

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Okay. Okay. You have some anger, sadness or other bad feelings. It's normal to have all kinds of feelings, even bad ones. Feelings are for learning. You can learn a lot about yourself and how you act by watching your feelings. You can learn how your bad feelings and mood bias how you read things wrong and can't see clearly.

Take your feelings seriously. 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. Learn to hang out with your feelings and see what they have to tell you. It's what you do with your feelings that count. All feelings are okay, but remember that you can't hurt people or yourself with your actions.

Emotional 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. You can study your emotions just like you study any other subject giving you a positive life-long investment in yourself. If you practice observing and managing your feelings even just once a day, you will become a better person for it!

Make a life-long habit of studying about feelings--yours and others. The skills of Emotional Intelligence can be learned. You can appraise your feelings and 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 that affects other people. Learning to manage your own feelings and calm yourself down when you are upset is one of the most important things you can do to create a happy life.

Learn and Use Self Soothing Techniques to Maximize Becoming the Best You can Be

Feelings are energies that can be moved and transformed. Ignoring or stuffing feelings is "out!" 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 to calm yourself when you are stressed or caught in unruly emotions. The new buzz word phase in Psychology is to learn to "modulate the emotions!" Don't be at the mercy of out-of-control feelings--learn to calm them down.

These exercises help you learn several things to do to relax yourself and let go of your bad feelings. But you have to do what is suggested, not just watch the videos. Just do it! Remember, you did not learn your multiplication tables or to swim without practice. Practice makes perfect when dealing with difficult emotions. You need many different kinds of tools and techniques to be the best person you can be in difficult circumstances. Practice each technique until it becomes automatic and your life will be much smoother.

Big feelings! Little feelings! People differ in their emotional reactions because they have different types of central nervous systems and hormonal reactions to events. Some people get over negative feelings faster than others. Sensitive people have quicker and stronger emotional reactions than others. Stronger emotions take longer to recover from. If you come from a family where you do not feel supported or if you have had lots of trauma, it might be harder for you to calm your emotions. If you are more sensitive, you can learn ways to calm your feelings and deal with your sensitivity.

Many of these 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 break into fear and anxiety. Relaxation rules! Positive experiences turn on the pleasure centers in the brain and reduce areas that sense pain. You can learn to work 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!

Each video has one or more of the most potent techniques available today that can help you deal with your unruly emotions. Learn them all and use the ones that you like best. If one technique doesn't help for your particular problem of the moment, go to another video and try that technique even if it's presented with a different type problem. Or come back the next day and try the same technique again. Try them all. Keep trying them. Do something--don't just be at the mercy of your emotions.

I've decided not include two of the greatest techniques--Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and Rapid Eye Technology due to concerns that use of these techniques might trigger overwhelming memories. They are worth learning a bout because they are so powerful. Moving the eyes around in circles, back and forth and up and down while thinking about your problem can create a relaxed state. Rapid eye movement can help you bring up and process issues and emotions that lie underneath your problem. Rapid Eye Movement helps the right side and the left side of your brain communicates with each other and helps to break into trauma. Another of my favorite approaches not included here in the videos is the Tapas Acupressure Technique. You'll have to seek help learning these three important techniques with a trained professional.

Big problems may not be helped by these exercises. If your strong feelings do not go away after you learn and USE these techniques, then it is time for you to get someone trained to help you deal with your problems. 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. You deserve to have a happy life and if you can't figure how to be happy on your own, get help! See Finding a Competent Therapist at the bottom of the Angries Out web page to learn more about the different approaches and then on to their web page for trained therapists in your area.

Don't 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 do have to do them--don't just watch the videos! Do the exercises several times until you learn many different approaches to understand and release your bad feelings.

What Works? Ways to Work with Your Uncomfortable Emotions

Acupressure

Acupressure 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. This technique helps you release the strong emotions and negative thoughts and helps you relax all at the same time.

Deep Breathing

When you are scared, you might 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 where you can think more clearly and reason!

Amplification of the Feeling

Too often we run away from bad feelings and they pile up inside. An antidote for the stuck feelings inside is to do the opposite action. So instead of stuffing feelings down, address them and exaggerate them instead! Amplification of the feeling helps exhaust it. When you push yourself to the limit one way, the emotions want to swing the other way. Making the feelings bigger and bigger can sometimes help to use them up and wear them out. When they get so big and uncomfortable, you can say "That's enough," and let them go.

Imagery

Your 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 symbols and rituals to release your anger, fear, sadness and other uncomfortable feelings.

Make up a story of somewhere safe where you want to send a bad feeling--to the moon, to the center of the earth or the North Pole. See the feelings coming out of you and rushing off to that safe place. You can picture cooling water being poured on your anger to put it out or someone loving coming to comfort you when you are sad. Use your imagination!

Pull Outs add action to your imagination to help "throw away" a feeling. With Pull Outs, you find your feeling in your body and then use your hands while you pretend that you are pulling it out to throw away. Let your powerful imagination and the wonder of your mind decide what to do with your scary and unhappy feelings.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness 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 instead of reacting to them. Mindfulness is calming as your mind shifts the focus to just being the neutral observer of the events. Meditation can help you learn to be more mindful. Stop the knee-jerk reactions and keep your mind in neutral! Like the popular song says, "Just breathe!"

Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology researches how happy, successful people work their life. The research on brain function shows that certain areas of the left side of the brain activate and light up when you engage in positive thinking. The brain chemicals which create a sense of well being are turned on when you keep your mind in a positive mind set. There are many books written on happiness to show you how to get the most out of your life. Get in the habit of becoming aware when you are thinking negative thoughts and learn ways to shift those thoughts.

Resilience

Some children from troubled homes become successful in life. What makes the successful children different from their brothers and sisters who continue the family patterns of chaos and addictions? Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from life's problems. There is research showing that one third of children from dysfunctional homes can break out of the negative family patterns and make a success out of their lives. The research shows that achievement seeking and finding positive people for support helps children take on the values and work ethics of success.

Self Talk

Talking to yourself to calm down when you are upset is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Psychology. The Super Kid Words and Helper Words given in these exercises help you break into negative thoughts and errors in thinking. Self Talk statements give you a new way of looking at things. 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 Helper 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.

Talk Your Feelings Out

Two heads can be better than one when figuring tricky things out. 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 talking to your friends or parents doesn't help solve your problems, then you may need to get some one trained in therapy to help you work things out.

Thought Stoppage

Telling yourself to stop thinking about negative thoughts is called Thought Stoppage. Anything you do to interrupt your thoughts and get back to your more positive mind can help 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. Remember to stop giving negative thoughts free rent in your brain!

Understand the Layers of Emotions

Sometimes feelings stack up and hide underneath each other, making it hard to understand what is going on. You can break a big feeling down like anger 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. 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.

Figure Out how You Cope with Threat

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 of dealing with them.

When 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 to get others to back off or to get your way. Or 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.

The type of coping you figured out as a child may have helped you survive then, but now that you are older, you can learn better ways of taking care of yourself. Staying present in the moment, calming down your wildly swinging emotions and being assertive while you figure out what to do are better strategies than collapsing in fear, not speaking out or exploding in anger.

Write about Your Feelings

Writing about what happened that upset you and your feelings helps you 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. Writing about the day's events and the things that upset you is called Journaling. Consider getting a special book or diary so that you can write about the things that make you feel uncomfortable or upset. Or open file on your computer and disguise the name so that you can write about your feelings in private.

It's a Tough World Out There!

Today's life is so stressful. Gather all the tools you can to help you deal with the daily grind that faces you. Learn all these approaches and use them daily as you go through life. The "buzz" word today is learn to modulate your emotions--smooth them out and cope with them. Emotional Intelligence is in your reach if you decide to study it and practice it! I hope that as you continue to go through life that you learn and use these ideas and many new ones to deal with your emotions in constructive ways.

Peace and Joy,

Lynne Namka

 

"The systematic training of the mind, the cultivation of happiness, the genuine inner transformation by deliberately selecting and focusing on positive mental states and challenging negative mental states, is possible because of the structure and function of the brain. But the wiring of our brains is not static, not irrevocably fixed. Our brains are also adaptable."

Howard Cutler and Richard Davidson
The Art of Happiness

Interactive Exercises

Icy Fields of Anger | Squeeze Your Angries Out

 



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