This simple technique will help you get the most out of your emotions
Our ancestors’ lives were complicated.
One moment they had to negotiate the sudden appearance of considerably size predators…
Next, they faced unexpected weather patterns they could not understand at all…
And so on and so forth.
Just about everything represented a major risk for them.
And everything was a big question mark.
As you can imagine, living under these circumstances had to have an effect on the way they managed their emotions.
How did they do it?
In a nutshell, the emotional balance leaned towards the negative.
Totally understanding! Do not you think?
Living always with that big question mark over your head could not have been easy!
So, what did our ancestors’ brain do to ensure survival?
It magnified potential threats.
In other words, it magnified negativity.
And in fact, it was thanks to those negative emotions that prehistoric humans managed to survive in such a threatening environment.
We had to recognize the threats and changes around us in order to adapt and stay alive.
For thousands of years that adaptive tendency to react negatively to our environment (just in case!), has been reinforced in our brains, compelling us to pay more attention to negative emotions rather than positive ones.
The problem is that today most of us don’t usually encounter that many risks in our day to day lives.
It is not the same to have to compete with a two-meter tall bear for our food than having to decide which brand of cereal we’ll put on the table among the 40 odd brands in the supermarket shelves!
And yet, while there really isn’t a reason for us to react negatively to the variety we are offered in the supermarket, our brain goes down that negative path immediately, with something like: Am I going to have to spend 10 minutes reading labels and choosing cereals?! What a nuisance! instead of being thankful for the variety and abundance we enjoy today.
That innate tendency in the human being to focus mainly on negative emotions is not really making life easier for us.
We may survive, but negativity does not let us live.
So, what are we to do?
Is our fate sealed?
Is there no way for us to combat the negative emotions constantly appearing in our brain?
It’s only a matter of chemistry.
How to counteract the chemistry of your negative emotions
It has always been said that there are 5 basic emotions: disgust, anger, sadness, fear and joy.
However, according to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, human emotions can be reduced to two: love and fear.
These are the words of the Swiss-American psychologist:
“There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It’s true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it’s more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They’re opposites. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.”
And yet, as I’ve mentioned before, the problem humans face is that the place of fear tends to overpower the place of love.
And, as we have seen, we also find it hard to suppress a trend that has been programmed in us for millions of years.
What happens in our brain when a negative emotion invades us?
The ninety second rule of your emotions
Our body reacts with a chemical process to our negativity,
Physiologically, the body takes about ninety seconds to process the stress hormones and regain their normal state.
Do you find it difficult to believe that’s all it takes?
After all, how many times have you felt anger for only 90 seconds!
Not very often, surely.
And, that’s because, in most cases, we continue to ponder about what has angered us and saddened us.
Our mind cannot stop thinking about the reason for our anger and repeats the chemical process again and again, becoming trapped in a vicious circle that makes it almost impossible for us to get out of.
Fortunately – like many other vicious circles -, this one can also be stopped.
Not only that!
I’ll show you how to counteract the chemistry of your negative emotions and to take advantage of them.
How do we manage emotions?
When you are imprisoned by a negative feeling that is not useful but harmful, allow that feeling to invade you for that brief moment.
Don’t think about it, just feel the emotion.
Be aware that your body is feeling a negative emotion.
Reassure yourself that, nothing wrong is happening, it’s just pure chemistry.
And as soon as you feel that emotion diminishing, when you get past those ninety seconds we talked about, try to deliberately focus on positive things.
In other words, try counteracting your negative emotions with positive emotions and breaking the vicious circle that your own body is generating.
In doing so, you will be getting the most of the chemical cycle of emotions in your body!
So, go ahead and ride the wave of negative emotions and turn it into pure positivity!
In doing so you will regain a more objective balance of what’s good and bad in your life.
In time, you will learn to dispel the chemistry that generates so many negative emotions and to recognize that most of them are pointless emotions not worth dwelling on.
So, if you are sad or in a bad mood, use the ninety second rule.
Would it not be better to face that emotion head on with all the strength of your being?
Remember, what you focus and obsess on, will eventually expand.
If you pay full attention to an emotion you don’t want to feel trying to make it go away, guess what’s going to happen?
It’s a lost battle.
Do you find it difficult to be aware of the emotions in your body?
If you have difficulty identifying where your emotions surface in your body, I recommend you practice a mindfulness meditation- the body scanner.
By spotting the sensations present in your body you will find it easier to identify where a particular emotion is surfacing.
And believe me, all emotions surface at one point or another!
Because, as mentioned, emotions are also chemicals that circulate in the body, right?
This audio will help you identify your emotions through a body scanning exercise.
It’s very short and you can do it almost anywhere.
And, if you find you continue having difficulties managing your emotions, get in touch.
My mindfulness techniques will help you control those chemical processes that right now seem totally out of control!
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