Archive - October 12, 2015

Aren’t All Emotions Good?

Aren’t All Emotions Good?


Feelings Wordle


No, they’re not, not all the time, and not just anytime.

Most negative emotions are not good too much of the time. Yes, we need negative emotions, but we need them much less than we think we do, and certainly far less than we have been conditioned to respond with them.

People are too careless with negative emotions. They increase your cortisol, and you die sooner, and get sick easier.

I’m here to argue the case for the importance of positive emotions. We need many, many more of them, and we need them more pervasively and permanently. Positive emotions are essential to health, fitness, and optimal living.

You can have many more of them by not waiting for the world around you to give them to you; make the decision to give them to yourself!

They are far more effective and healthy than negative emotions most all of the time. As an evolving species, we face fewer and fewer sabre tooth tigers, and those we do, in whatever shape they come, are better escaped or defeated by smoother, slicker, more clever means than the reptilian fight/flight that we are evolving from.

Learn to move into a “calm/connect” response –where the real power is.

We are not nearly as good at positive emotions as we are at negative emotions.

Consider how lightning fast you get to the emotions of upset or anger or anxiety! Can you get that fast to gratitude or love or joy? Probably not. If we can get to anger or upset with lightning speed, we can rehearse and train ourselves to get to joy just as surely.

We learned to get to anger, we can learn to get to joy. As evolutionarily predisposed as you are to anger, you are also have within you the capacity for joy, great, great joy! It is a part of your nature.

But you have to rehearse your part and that is to feel them. There are plenty of reasons to have them; it is your part to decide you want and to feel them. Practice feeling positive emotion. All day long feel joy.

Every chance you get, go to joy. Start with a little and then increase the amount, but rehearse joy.

If you have a problem on your mind, use it as a cue to go to joy. Think of the problem, then feel joy. Hard at first, but very possible to learn to do. Then start to look around for what gives you joy and feel joy 100 times a day, every day for a week. Then do it for a month and see what happens.

You can build routes of joy in your brain that you go to instantly, that you can stay there for a while and that you can increase whenever you want to.

But you have to rehearse positive emotion to develop positive emotional muscle.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 


Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute