I Second That Emotion

As requested by @bjnovak and @jon
  1. Emotion 101: we love em, we hate em, they make us angry, sad, happy, and frightened! Emotions are physical as well as psychological --they are thought, feeling, and action.
  2. Motivation wise, emotions have three functions: to encourage us to approach, to avoid, or to attack. All emotions tend to be a variant on either love or fear. Survival stuff, duh. .that probably makes sense to you but I will elaborate
  3. Our emotions are frequently conditioned by our environment. Shit gets real and gets complicated, because our brains generalize from the specific to anything even vaguely reminiscent of the original experience
  4. Say for example, your mom was super harsh with you, constantly criticizing and judging. You likely developed both fear and anger in response to her behavior, maybe mixed up with love because you needed her, which is a little crazy but oh so understandable
  5. You have an implicit memory of that: anytime you're in a situation where you feel judged, maybe particularly by a female, the same anger and fear circuits gets triggered--you feel emotional and confused. You rage or maybe you shut down. Feels like shit.
  6. People who repress, ignore, deny, or even just ventilate their emotions are setting themselves up for problems, possibly serious illness, certainly relationship problems.
  7. People avoid their feelings through denial, drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, cutting, compulsive behavior, addiction to work, TV, exercise, intellectualizing, yada yada yada.
  8. Other people break out in feelings at the drop of a hat. They are hijacked by feelings and can't take any distance from them. It's hard on them and hard on the people who love them.
  9. So what we see here is that there is this problem with not feeling or there is a problem with feeling too much. Lots of times, avoiders avoid because when they do feel it overwhelms them. Both problems can be remedied.
  10. Emotion regulation can be learned. I touched on that in my self-regulation list but I'll go into more detail next time as to the nuts and bolts. Just setting the stage here.
  11. For now, identify for yourself, what do you do with your emotions? Do you avoid them, do they take you over, or do you feel like you have a pretty flexible way of dealing with them??
  12. The first step is cognitive: witness and identify your coping style, things that trigger your emotions, do you feel or do you not feel??
  13. More to come. Love DocP