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Emotions


Emotions are the physical manifestation of how we are feeling at any moment in time, and many agree that the eleven basic Human Emotions can be categorized as: 

  • Love - The Feeling that you really care for something or someone.
  • Hate - The Feeling that you really despise something or someone.
  • Like - The Feeling that something or someone pleases us.
  • Dislike - The Feeling that something or someone displeases us.
  • Fear – The Feeling of being afraid.
  • Anger – The Feeling of being Angry or Mad.
  • Sadness – The Feeling of being Sad or Unhappy.
  • Joy – The Feeling of being Happy or Not Sad.
  • Disgust – The Feeling that something is wrong or nasty.
  • Surprise – The Feeling of being unprepared for something.
  • Trust – The Feeling that you have confidence in something or someone.



“If you were always happy … you’d never know it”


If you didn’t know pain, could you still appreciate pleasure? If it never rained, would you still appreciate the sunshine (as much)? If life never had its “downs”, could you still appreciate its “ups”? If you didn’t know strife and turmoil, could you really appreciate happiness and good times? The truth is we need a little trouble and discord in our lives to help us recognize and appreciate the good times. Happiness must be measured against the times when you’re feeling a little blue to be truly appreciated. Call it life’s answer to the yin and yang of emotions - everything in balance. Physics tell us that, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Pain exists in balance with pleasure, clouds and rain in balance with sunshine, ups in balance with downs, and joy exists in balance to sadness.

I was once discussing love with a friend of mine and she asked me if I knew what love is and could I define it. But before I could answer she asked if I knew what it was to hate. What a great example because sadly, we can usually understand with crystal clarity when we hate something or someone, but we then struggle to understand and truly realize when we love something or someone. We may recognize when we love something, but to love someone often remains a mystery for many. Of course, love and hate are the extremes of the emotional spectrum. In between we come across the far more familiar feelings of like and dislike, but the principle still applies “if you were always happy … you’d never know it”.

That friend’s question asked me to consider if I could define the difference between Love and Hate as easily as we seem to recognize the opposites of Like and Dislike, but the real mystery lies not in knowing “Love”, but actually understanding what it is, “To Be In Love”!!

The first time I heard the difference between "Loving" and being "In Love" was from a girl I dated just after moving to California. After almost a year of dating she told me that she "Loved" me, but that she wasn't "In Love" with me. I was in my mid-twenties at the time and thought, "What the heck does that mean?" It upset me because I didn't understand what she meant. It took years before I finally understood her meaning, but I now get what she said. "Loving someone is (in part) to appreciate them, care for them, and always want the best for them. While being "In Love" with someone is to want to be with them always, and to see, hear, taste and smell them in everything you do even when you're apart. In short, it's the butterflies you feel every time you know you're about to be together and the electricity that flows between you when you are. It's a wonderful place to be, but a far cry from simply loving someone.

We love friends and family, but to be "In Love" produces physical manifestations and emotional responses that can cause butterflies in the stomach, warm rushes and hair tingles across the entire body, stuttered speech, and literal heart palpitations, blushing and delirium. 

LOVE??

We may struggle to define it, but you'll know when you're "In It"!!



Visualization Technique 
~ B. F. Skinner and “Operative Conditioning”


Some people have difficulty controlling their Anger in emotionally charged situations and their usual outbursts often land them in trouble. Many people who suffer this “short fuse” syndrome are looking for a trick or trigger they can use to help them control their Attitude, and most specifically there Anger in situations where they feel their emotions building. “Anger Management” courses and classes teach the technique of counting to ten but that takes time and often just frustrates the counter even more. The idea is to give the counter ten seconds to get a hold of his or her emotions and calm down. But the reality is that during those ten seconds they are usually focusing on what has caused their Anger and frustration and only embroils their passions even deeper. The best trick is to employee is a “trigger” that takes them immediately away from the passion of the current situation and if possible, helps them to recognize the consequences of their actions if they don’t calm down. 

Try instead a visualization technique that employs the principle of “Operant Conditioning” as first observed and proved in the work of B.F. Skinner with his "Skinner Box" and the principle of "Classical Conditioning" (often also called Pavlovian or Respondent Conditioning) as studied, tested and proven in the work of Ivan Pavlov and the Pavlov’s Dog study. For those not versed in High School Psychology, Pavlov’s Dog is the study where a bell was rung and then a dog given a treat. This technique “Conditioned” the dog to expect the treat every time he heard the bell ring to the point where just ringing the bell caused the dog to salivate, even when there was no treat to follow. We can employ the same technique in a simple practice to “Condition” ourselves to go to our “happy place” by using a visual trigger technique. Associate the word or name of a person or place or anything that could take you away from the passion of the immediate moment and bring you to a better emotional place.


Take for example a guy I knew who has a very short fuse and a pretty hot temper. He’s got a great heart and wants to make better decisions, but he’s just too reactionary and doesn’t think through the consequences of reacting too quickly and with such passion. As he turned 40 he began to realize that he didn’t want to continue on this path, especially with a 12-year-old daughter looking up to him and relying on him. We talked about what he could do to keep his attention focused on her so he might think first of her when presented with a situation where another poor decision or angry outburst might take him away from her, or at the very least, set a bad example for her. I had him think of one single picture of his daughter and then keep saying her name over and over while visualizing that one single picture of her. It didn’t have to be an actual photograph, but just any vision he had of her that brought back a happy memory. By “Conditioning” his mind’s eye to see only that vision of her every time he said (or even heard) her name, he was able to take himself to that “happy place” in just an instant. No Worry or bother with having to count to ten or try to get a hold of his emotions - the trigger was set and he could go there anytime he wanted with just a simple thought.



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