Hey guys… it’s been a while since I last wrote something. I feel I have so many things to share and so little time to do it in but I’ll make it happen somehow going forward.
Quite a few people asked me how is it I don’t feel overwhelmed with all of the things happening: having two small amazing children, constant tech projects, property investments, seminars, training courses, travels and so on. I thought about it a lot and I think I have an answer that I’d like to share here, maybe it’ll help somebody.
I believe the answer is emotions introspection and the ability to compartmentalise things(organise/plan then forget about it till it comes up again).
In this post, I’d like to chat about emotions.
Disclaimer: All I’m about to say I don’t claim as fact ..this is the way I view things. It’s my personal perspective.
The emotions we experience on a daily basis have a major impact on the choices we make, on our behaviour and how well we cope with and enjoy life. Emotional development involves learning what feelings and emotions are, understanding how and why they happen, recognising one’s own feelings and those of others, and developing effective ways of managing them.
The latest study on human emotion conducted by the University of Glasgow – which held the 2018 CERE conference(Consortium of European Research on Emotion) – concluded there are 4 basic human emotions categories and not 6 as psychologists Paul Ekman suggested in ’72.
These 4 basic emotions are ANGER, FEAR, SADNESS and HAPPINESS.
Initially, I started tracking how I thought/felt about things in past scenarios. What specifically did I feel when certain things were said/happened. This didn’t really work since I found it very difficult to track the correct flow of emotions in a past experience.
I then tried anchoring the feelings of annoyance, coping and guilt(you’ll see further down why these) with the thought of starting to look within every time one of those anchors was triggered. That proved to be a very interesting approach. I started observing flows of emotions. I put many of them down on paper and searched for patterns. I began understanding and even predicting emotions for certain scenario types.
There seem to be predictable emotional paths(in myself at least) which I found amazing.
Let’s take a fictional, content-free scenario…
You are HAPPY, cheerful, confident and you identify a goal you think it’ll lift your spirits even higher. You’re starting to move towards it in one way or another.
If all goes well and you achieve the goal then happy days however many times something gets in the way. Something which in our mind is represented as a person or has person-like qualities.
Let’s say you want to buy a house and the mortgage doesn’t get approved then it’s the guys from the bank that didn’t give us the loan. Or you’re on the road and the car breaks down – it’s either the guys from the factory or the designers of the vehicle or the mechanic that last worked on it last and so on. We tend to represent the impediment as a person because towards a person we can channel emotion better. The times you identify yourself as being in your way deserves a separate special discussion.
Initially, you see the ‘person‘ blocking your way and you get – annoyed – (first stage of ANGER) but go ahead regardless. If the obstacle is still there then the other stages of anger develop. You become – frustrated – which means “I’m definitely angry, but I’m keeping it undercover until I receive further validation that I need to be”. If this persists then you become – infuriated – which means you already gave yourself permission to be angry and you’re starting to show it. In some cases you even go into – rage – and become hostile. This is the tipping point for logical behaviour – people just act without much logic, without thinking about the consequences of their actions when dealing with extreme emotions of any kind.
Right… now let’s say the obstacle is still in the way. You became angry and nothing changed. You’re starting to realise the set goal may NOT be achievable. This is the point when FEAR starts to creep in. “I just may not be able to pull this off!“.
When entering fear, you have what I call the – response – phase. At this point you unconsciously choose how to respond to the impediment by going into the arrest state – you’re scanning the environment and doing a transderivational search in your brain to come up with a response that makes sense. The responses can be: fight, flight, fold(losing the will to live), freeze(your brain search-loops because it can’t come up with a solution and not finding one is not an option) or flock.
In the – coping – stage is where you know you have problems but you also know you can deal with them. When the solution to your problems starts to be unclear, you’re entering the – striving – phase. It is when you know you have issues and you’re starting to feel you may NOT be able to sort them out, you’re feeling anxious. – panic – hits when you realise you cannot sort your problems – you don’t know what to do, you’ve lost it. Like in rage, rational thought and behaviour are decreasing dramatically.
SADNESS which is the last stage appears when giving up or partially giving up responses are chosen.
You go into SADNESS from flight, fold, flock states. You first feel – guilt – because you didn’t achieve the goal. Then if you have a high external referential, you feel – shame – for not being able to achieve it. From here onward there’s a down spiral(as shown in the image) that leads to what I call – fold exec – which basically means setting as a goal to end personal existence and actively pursuing it. For anybody interested to dig deeper, the learned helplessness stage is particularly interesting and from my point of view the hardest to get people out of.
Now… let’s take an actual emotion-lite scenario while looking at the complete graphic I put together.
Let’s say your goal is to go to the market and buy vegetables so your wife can cook. You hit massive traffic – people(literally) are in the way. You’re annoyed and maybe even frustrated, you then go to coping and if you don’t make it to the market because it closed by the time you got there maybe you even feel a little guilt. By later in the evening you bounced back those feelings and you’re in a cheerful state again. How did that happen?
…as you can see there are many emotional paths you can take through the various levels of emotions when following a scenario but it always follows the same flow happiness->anger->fear->sadness.
There are actual ways to stop, decrease and reverse these emotional flows. It’s to do with introspection, anchored emotions, refraiming and goal’s higher intention.
So from a personal perspective, I’m briefly pausing the flow of emotion when passing the initial stages by disassociating myself and looking within, start reassessing what I’m trying to achieve, find the higher intention that sits behind the goal. I then search for options that go more with the flow.
This is how I see things working in my head..by no means I say this is so, just my perspective. I will share more on the processes of anchoring, goal setting, intention finding, compartmentalisation, etc in future posts.
That’s it for now… hope it helps, keep well!
P.S. What I find sadly amusing is that there are pills you can take to ‘treat your emotions’. Exaggerated emotions point to a higher problem…maybe in that persons ID, maybe in values, maybe in conflicting or limiting beliefs, even environment and would respond well to a particular form of cognitive therapy which would help them identify triggers leading to their extreme emotions, to develop much better ways of dealing with those, and to develop the personal strength to control emotion rather than relying on medicine to try and do this for them.