The Real Freedom of Positive Emotion

On this July 4th, we’ve chosen to give you a sneak peek at one of the chapters from Dr. Larkin’s new book, 12 New Steps for A New Millenium: The UpSpiraLife Group.. This excerpt is taken from the 12 Promises, one of the pillars of our 12 Step UpSpiraLife Groups. It relates to one of the major outcomes of our work-the capacity to feel positive emotion on call, with increasing duration and intensity. That's part of ANI’s “neuropositive” declaration of independence. And that's real freedom.

Promise 2

“Positive emotions will increase for you in three dimensions.  You will be able to get to them rapidly, you will be able to make them last in duration, and you will be able to increase their intensity.”

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight, suffered a debilitating stroke and talks about learning to feel positive emotion. “One of the greatest lessons I learned was how to feel the physical component of emotion.  Joy was a feeling in my body. Peace was a feeling in my body. I thought it was interesting that I could feel when a new emotion was triggered. I could feel new emotions flood through me and then release me. I had to learn new words to label these “feeling” experiences, and most remarkably, I learned that I had the power to choose whether to hook into a feeling and prolong its presence in my body, or just let it quickly flow right out of me.”

This is an astounding description of what we teach in our Emotional Gym, that you can create and choose what emotions you want to feel, you can make them last, and you can intensify them. And what is most important is that you can teach yourself to do this at any time during your life span.  Dr. Taylor could feel these experiences happening again in her body as she recovered and realized that they were there by her choice, or not. You can do the same, except that you are fortunate enough that you haven’t needed a stroke to teach you that this is true.

Take one of 5 emotions and make each day of the week associate with an emotion.  Monday is peace, Tuesday is love, Wednesday is gratitude, Thursday is joy and Friday is hope.  Then choose to feel those emotions all day long.  You will be astounded at what you can create in your brain. You will be even more astounded when you realize that you have the power to give a positive emotion the duration you choose, and that you can intensify that emotion by your choice and your practice. The next time you feel joy, the promise here is that you can feel twice that amount of joy, if you will allow yourself to learn to go there.

This is a startling example of our ability to direct and intensify “energy.”  It is a great example of the direction of energy that can’t be seen. Consider the implications of increasing the intensity of an emotion, on call, by your own choice, because you can, with practice. If we would increase the intensity of our feeling of positive emotions just 15 degrees and direct them and measure their impact on a particular target “person” or target “situation,” what might we find?  Pick a target for the intensity of your love, for example. You are learning that you can make an emotion last (duration) and intensify it or increase its emotional “muscle.”  Take aim at your target of love and give that emotion some duration over time, and then intensify it and stay directed at your target.  Send “love” treatments in a particular direction. Send love to someone or some situation as surely as if it were a wave of radiation. 


1) How does positive emotion express itself as a physical feeling in your body? Give us an example of what that emotion is and how it physically feels. What bodily sensations does it provoke? How have you learned to recognize and savor those feelings?

2) Is there a situation in your life to which you have committed to send “waves” of love, or of peace, hope, joy, or gratitude?  Is there a particular person to whom you have commited to do the same? Tell us your story and the results for you.

3) Positive emotion is described in this blog as a form of energy. How do you cultivate the increase of this kind of energy in yourself? What tools and approaches do you regularly use? Tell us your story.

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute