Emotions are Data not Directions

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I love the emails that I get from Susan David.

Dear Jennifer,

As you’ve likely noticed over the course of these newsletters, I’m a major advocate of validating one’s own emotions. How you feel is how you feel. You shouldn’t judge yourself for your feelings. They are neither good nor bad—they just are.

Your feelings reflect your emotional response to the world. However, it’s important not to confuse your feelings with reality itself, or to let them dictate your actions. This is what I mean when I encourage people to see theiremotions as data, not directives. Think of them as one data point among many to consider as you move forward.

Imagine that you’re in a staff meeting. You’re trying to make a point about an upcoming project, but a colleague cuts you off and moves on to another topic. You feel disrespected, and depending on your mood and personality, you might sulk or lash out. Voila: You’ve been hooked by your emotions. They’re running the show, pulling you along after them.

When your feelings threaten to take the wheel, how might you handle them more productively? Here are a few tips:

  • Consider the situation from someone else’s point of view.To continue with our hypothetical meeting, just because you felt disrespected doesn’t mean that the colleague set out to disrespect you. Perhaps the meeting was running long and they were trying to get through the agenda. Maybe you were inadvertently repeating a point a someone else had already made and they were trying to move on. Or it’s possible that they were just distracted and thought you’d finished. Getting outside of your own head can provide you with a different vantage point on the situation and put your initial response in perspective.
  • Be strategic. Even if you decide that the only logical conclusion is that your coworker was, in fact, being a jerk, think about whether following your feelings will get you where you want to be. Snapping at them might indeed shut them down, but it could also make other colleagues clam up and earn you a reputation as a hothead. Sulking could provide some momentary satisfaction, but if you don’t contribute, you might miss out the satisfaction of shaping the project in a meaningful way. Maybe it’sbetter to set feelings aside for the duration of the meeting, then address them in a one-on-one conversation with the colleague in question once your temper has cooled.
  • Address the anxieties underlying your feelings. Take a moment to explore the reasons why you felt as you did, and consider strategies for taking care of those issues. Perhaps it’s something you can take on directly: If you feel that your team routinely disregards your ideas, try talking to a supervisor or sympathetic colleague about how they can better have your back. The problem could also be more deeply-seated, say, a delayed response to parents who made you feel unworthy of attention. Processing those issues might take some intensive work, including therapy, but even just recognizing their influence can help guide you toward productive outcomes.

No matter what you feel, those emotions are valid. They don’t need to be judged or justified, but neither are they entitled to run your life. Your choices are yours to make. Let your feelings give their input, then pick the course of action that lines up with your goals and values.

My best to you on your journey,
Susan

P.S. In the coming months, I’ll be speaking at events in many different cities (Milan, Brisbane, New York and others.) I look forward to hopefully meeting you at one of these. My tour dates arehere. If you watched my TED Talkand want to take the next step, pick up a copy of Emotional Agility or take my free Emotional Agility Insights quiz.

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Here are some things to understand about emotions

I love my weekly emails from Dr Nicole The Holistic Psychologist.

“This week I chatted with Whitney Goodman, LMFT (@sitwithwit) – Whitney talks about all things emotional regulation, including, how to work through difficult emotions in relationships.

Emotional intelligence is something I talk about frequently.

We live in a culture that doesn’t understand emotions. Most of our caregivers don’t teach us how to regulate emotions. Our schools don’t speak to emotions at all. Entertainment reflects the emotional confusion we feel as a collective.

Here are some things to understand about emotions:

1. Emotions = energy in motion. Emotion comes from the Latin word that means “energy in motion.” Emotions are energy. They run through the body. The body responds with flutters in the belly, tightness in the chest, a rapid heart beat. When we understand emotions as energy we can allow ourselves to feel them, not become them.

2. We feel emotions, we are not our emotional state. From the time we are children we hear caregivers say “I am sad” or “I am angry.” Then we begin to communicate in the same way. Emotions are something we experience, they are not who we are. Shifting our mindset in this way allows us to be aware of how we are responding to the emotions we feel.

3. All emotions are messengers that have important roles. Unfortunately, our lack of emotional awareness has led to rejecting certain emotions. Anger, jealousy, and sadness are often seen as negative or “bad” emotions. This leads people to repress or ignore these emotions. There is no such thing as a negative emotion. By becoming curious about why you’re feeling an emotion you can gain self-awareness.

4. Learning to breathe will allow you to process your emotions. Breathwork is one of the most powerful tools in learning emotional regulation. Just a few belly breaths during challenging emotions can shift your state of consciousness in both mind and body. I practice breathing every time I feel emotionally overwhelmed. It helps me to remain conscious (most of the time), not habitually react, and it helps me to make a conscious choice in how I will respond.

5. It’s very normal to have confusion around what you’re feeling. Sometimes we have no idea what we’re actually feeling. For example, sometimes when I’m excited, I think I’m feeling anxious. So I’ll take a moment and ask myself “what am I actually feeling?” “Could this be excitement?” I find that our minds rush to label an emotional experience before we’re actually sure what we are feeling. Remember, there is no rush to label.

I hope these tips help to create some clarity around emotions.

Happy Healing!

Nicole

Dr. Nicole
The Holistic Psychologist”

Dr Nicole The Holistic Psychologist

If you put shame in a petri dish……

This extract is taken from audio version of The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown.

Shame is the gremlin who says “never good enough” and if you can talk it out of that one “who do you think you are?”.

The thing to understand about shame is its not guilt.

Shame is a focus on self.

Guilt is a focus on behaviour.

Shame is “I am bad”

Guilt is “I did something bad”

Shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders.

And here’s what you need to know even more, Guilt is inversely correlated with those things.

Shame for women is this web of unobtainable, conflicting, competing expectations about who we are supposed to be.

For men, shame is not a bunch of competing conflicting expectations. Shame is one “Don’t be perceived as what?” “Weak”.

But the truth is vulnerability is not weakness.

I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, certainty, it fuels our daily lives and I’ve come to the belief this is my 12th year doing this research that vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.

If we are going to find our way back to each other we have to understand and know empathy because empathy is the antidote to shame.

If you put shame in a petri dish it nerds 3 things to grow exponentially, secrecy, silence and judgement.

If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy it can’t survive.

The 2 most powerful words when we’re in struggle are “me too”.

If we are going to find our way back to each other vulnerability is going to be that path.

If you haven’t discovered Brene Brown and her work yet, go Google her. Her work should be on every Government agenda and every school curriculum and every company policy.

Empathy by Brene Brown

Resilient:How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength and Happiness.

This is an excerpt from the new book by Dr. Rick Hanson with Forrest Hanson.

I completely agree with what he’s written, I’ve wrote recently about using daily self love actions and have written a programme called “Building an Internal Six Pack”. Both of these things are based on building your internal strength by recognising all the small achievements on a daily basis.

True resilience is about much more than simply surviving the worst day of your life. It’s about thriving every day of your life. This book will teach you how to grow key strengths inside yourself – like grit, gratitude, and compassion – for lasting well-being in a changing world.

Feeling Successful

There is an architecture of aims inside us that ranges from microscopic regulatory processes within individual cells all the way up to our loftiest aspirations. Living is inherently goal-directed. Experiences of meeting your goals feel good, lower stress, and build positive motivation. They reassure you that you’re making progress, which helps you stay in the Responsive mode – in the green zone – as you go through your day. There are outcome goals such as getting out of bed in the morning, coming to a good understanding with someone at work, and washing the dishes after dinner. And there are process goals – ongoing values and aims – such as being honest, learning and growing, and taking care of your health.

If you think about it, you can see that you are accomplishing many outcome and process goals every hour.

For example, as you walk across a room, each step is a goal. This may sound trivial, but for a toddler learning to walk, each step is a victory. In a conversation, each word understood and facial expression deciphered is a goal attained. At work, every email read, text sent, and point made in a meeting is an accomplishment.

Since each day is full of goals, large and small, it is full of opportunities to take in experiences of successful goal attainment. Doing this builds up an internal sense of being successful, which helps us weather criticism and be less dependent upon the approval of others.

Much self-importance and acting superior is a compensation for underlying feelings of failure and inadequacy. Consequently, feeling like a success deep down can help people lighten up and take themselves less seriously. A durable sense of being successful comes from internalizing many experiences of small successes, not from seeing a big trophy outside such as a fancy car parked in the driveway.

Feelings of Failure
We all accomplish countless outcome and process goals each day. Yet many people do not feel very successful. One reason is the negativity bias. Internal alarms go off when we don’t meet goals, and dopamine activity drops in the brain, which feels bad and heightens anxiety, tension, and drivenness. But when we do meet our goals, we often don’t recognize it. People can be inattentive or numb as they do one task after another, or so focused on whatever is around the bend that they zoom through the finish line as they rush on to the next race.

When you notice an accomplishment, how often do you feel the success, if just for a moment? It’s common to block feelings of success due to fears of being ridiculed or punished for standing out or thinking you’re somebody special. And when you do have a sense of success, do you slow down to take it in and hardwire it into your nervous system?

The number of actual failures in any person’s life is tiny compared to the vast number of goals that have been successfully attained. But the failures are highlighted by the brain, associated with painful feelings, and stored deeply in memory. This crowds out a legitimate and well-earned sense of being an accomplished and successful person.

The number of actual failures in any person’s life is tiny compared to the vast number of goals that have been successfully attained. But the failures are highlighted by the brain, associated with painful feelings, and stored deeply in memory. This crowds out a legitimate and well-earned sense of being an accomplished and successful person.

The number of actual failures in any person’s life is tiny compared to the vast number of goals that have been successfully attained. But the failures are highlighted by the brain, associated with painful feelings, and stored deeply in memory. This crowds out a legitimate and well-earned sense of being an accomplished and successful person.

The number of actual failures in any person’s life is tiny compared to the vast number of goals that have been successfully attained. But the failures are highlighted by the brain, associated with painful feelings, and stored deeply in memory. This crowds out a legitimate and well-earned sense of being an accomplished and successful person.

The number of actual failures in any person’s life is tiny compared to the vast number of goals that have been successfully attained. But the failures are highlighted by the brain, associated with painful feelings, and stored deeply in memory. This crowds out a legitimate and well-earned sense of being an accomplished and successful person.

The number of actual failures in any person’s life is tiny compared to the vast number of goals that have been successfully attained. But the failures are highlighted by the brain, associated with painful feelings, and stored deeply in memory. This crowds out a legitimate and well-earned sense of being an accomplished and successful person.

The number of actual failures in any person’s life is tiny compared to the vast number of goals that have been successfully attained. But the failures are highlighted by the brain, associated with painful feelings, and stored deeply in memory. This crowds out a legitimate and well-earned sense of being an accomplished and successful person.

The number of actual failures in any person’s life is tiny compared to the vast number of goals that have been successfully attained. But the failures are highlighted by the brain, associated with painful feelings, and stored deeply in memory. This crowds out a legitimate and well-earned sense of being an accomplished and successful person.

The fear of failure is worsened if you grew up with with a lot of criticism, even if there was also a lot of love. It’s also worsened if you are part of a company – or more broadly, an economy – that’s incentivized to keep people on the proverbial hamster wheel, with real success always slightly out of reach. Make your first dollar? It’s on to the first thousand. Make your $1000?` Well, so-and-so made $10,000. Get promoted? Stay hungry. Win a championship? Better repeat next year. Work harder, stay later, give 110 percent . . . but it’s never quite enough. The goalposts keep getting pushed back.

Feeling afraid of being a loser can be motivating, whether for a child or for a CEO. But over the long haul, those negative feelings wear people down and lower performance. Feeling reasonably successful already helps people aim high, recover from setbacks, and achieve their best.

Since you actually are moving from success to success hundreds of times each day, it’s simple justice to feel successful.

Since you actually are moving from success to success hundreds of times each day, it’s simple justice to feel successful.

Since you actually are moving from success to success hundreds of times each day, it’s simple justice to feel successful.

Click here for Rick’s website to purchase his book and get access to free gifts.