Some might have the misconception that Emotions and Feelings are something that we should suppress. I beg to differ. Our Feelings are a source of valuble internal communication and insight ! Just remember that our feelings result from how we are thinking about the world around us, ourself, and / or others.
Question: How do I know if I currently have any demands? The clue to knowing when you have irrational demands is recognising the distressing emotions, the tension in your body, or the churning in your mind about whatever it is that you want. These demands can be expressed in three strengths:
This feeling is created basically by anticipatory thinking — thinking about things yet to happen. This is not so bad, but when you further define the yet-to-be situation as very dangerous and to be avoided, and then worry whether you will be able to avoid such a dangerous situation, you end up with anxiety.
How Long will I have to practice?
By Maxie C. Maultsby, Jr., M.D.
From the book: Help yourself to happiness through Rational Self-Counseling
Right after people get started in emotional re-education, they want to know: ‘How Long will I have to practice?’ The most accurate, honest answer is: ‘You’ll have to practice as long as it takes for you to get the result you want.’
At first, most people think I’m just trying to be funny when I tell them that. To get them to see that I’m sincere and that it’s really helpful to keep that answer in mind, I give them this advice. Think of the thinking part of your brain (your neocortex) as being a rider; and think of the feeling part of your brain (you limbic system) as being a horse.
When you start emotional re-edcuation, your neocortex is like a rider who has ridden his horse up and down the same straight road to work for ten years. Until now, he could trust the hose to take him to and from work with little or no direct control But recently the rider moved to another part of town. Instead of a straight road to work, he now has to make one right turn on the way out and a left turn on the way back.
From the very first day after the move, the rider (the neocortex) remembers and makes the correct turns without mistakes. But the horse (the limbic system) doesn’t. Instead, it has a strong urge to go straight down the road, just as it has for the past ten years. The horse will require time and lots of practice in being guided around the correct turns, before it learns to make them without being directed.
How ling will it take before the horse learns to make the correct turns automatically? No one can say beforehand. Every horse differs in its ability to learn. Every rider differs in ability and willingness to teach his horse. The rider who give his horse the most practice will teach his horse to make the correct turns without direction in the shortest time possible.
The same logic applies to people who are giving themselves a rational emotional reduction. Those who consistently practice the rational self-counseling method of emotional re-education will emotionally re-educate themselves in the shortest time possible. But it will still take as long as it takes.
So, in my own words….if you are persistent in doing what you know is the rational thing to do, even if it doesn’t feel right because of old habits (cognitive dissonance, right?), it will eventually become automatic and feel right.
You choose your emotional feelings by your choice of thoughts to believe.
Negative emotions tell you that something mentally or emotionally wrong needs to be corrected
Both physical and emotional behavior is rational when it follows three of these five rules:
- Based on objective reality or the know relative facts of a life situation
2. It enables people to protect their lives
3. It enable people to achieve their goals more quickly
4. It enables people to keep out of significant trouble with others
5. It enables people to prevent or quickly eliminate significant personal emotional conflict
Cognitive dissonance is when you know how to do the correct or best thing, but you feel wrong when you do it. In fact, you feel as if you should be doing the opposite thing. Your best or most correct behavior then feels like your worst or most incorrect behavior.
The limbic system of the brain always lags behind the neo-cortex in the reeducation process.
Maxie C. Maultsby
An Experience In Rediscovery
Like most people, you probably know much more about cognitive-emotive dissonance that you realize. This next example will tell you if that’s so. If it is so, and you remember this example, you won’t get confused when you experience cognitive-emotive dissonance while learning to cope better.
Imagine that you are a skilled American driver, but tomorrow you are expected to start driving an English car in England. In England they drive on the left-hand side of the street; therefore, drivers sit on the right side of English cars. How do you think you will feel sitting on the right side of a car, driving on the left side of the street in the busy London traffic?
That’s a perfect example of cognitive-emotive dissonance. Your new ideas would be correct for the rational way to drive in England, but your still un-erased American driving attitudes would be triggering your old, American-driving gut feelings. These contrary gut feelings would make you feel as if your new, correct English-driving ideas were really wrong and should be ignored in favor of your old American-driving attitudes and reactions. And gut thinking alone would cause you to do just that. But then you couldn’t learn how to drive in England. That’s exactly what gut thinking does: It causes you to do the very thing that you don’t want to do and makes you feel right doing it.
In addition to already knowing those facts, you probably know this one, too: Successful English driving would require you to ignore your gut and do exclusive ‘brain thinking’ as Mother Nature seems to have intended you to do anyway. Unfortunately, most unhappy people either don’t know that fact, or they tend to ignore it when they try to improve their coping skills. The fact still remains, however, that to learn to cope better, people must favor their rational brain thinking over any contrary gut thinking. That logical act is the main key to success.
Maxie C. Maultsby, Jr., M.D.
‘Coping Better….Anytime Anywhere’
Foreword by Pat
Although this is not entirely SMART , it incorporates some interesting Strategies for Learning from Emotions– which is SMART 🙂
One often misconception about SMART is that we are trying to eliminate uncomfortable emotions…and that is not entirely the case.
Some things in life are deeply distressing. In fact if we DIDN’T feel something then there would be an irrationality in play.
What IS SMART, is to learn to Pay Attention to our Emotions and Feelings because they give insight into what we Believe about Ourselves, Others and the World. They are Valuable !
Once we begin to manage our thoughts and emotions then we find a purer and more insightful set of feelings that motivate, and alert and propel us through our day to day life. It is Pretty Cool and well worth the Effort.
So for what it is worth, here is an article from Body and Soul.
7steps to emotional alchemy
Dark emotions can transform themselves—and us—if we allow ourselves to feel them fully, consciously, and to their completion, says Greenspan. She suggests these seven steps to help you to feel and learn from your emotions. The process is not linear, so the steps do not have to be followed in this order.
INTENTION The feeling of brokenness must be fully experienced before it can be healed, and it takes a strong intention, or spiritual will, to use your painful emotion for a transformation. Friends, therapists, and groups can provide support, and if you are feeling overwhelmed—or having thoughts of suicide—seek professional help.
AFFIRMATION Next, go beyond any negative beliefs you may have about the emotion and affirm its value. Remind yourself that this emotion can teach you some-thing and help you make positive changes in your life.
BODILY SENSATION Pay attention to what the despair, grief, or fear feels like physically—the way it constricts your breathing or makes you fatigued, for instance.
CONTEXTUALIZATION Look outside yourself for the wider story of your feeling, placing it in the context of your family and society, and developing an attitude of com-passion toward yourself and others. Perhaps you feel hopeless, in part because you had an abusive mother. But what was your mother’s story? Maybe she was abused by her father, and she took her rage out on you. And what was her father’s story? Maybe he fought overseas and never recovered from the trauma of war. Contextualizing is figuring out how your despair is connected to the world.
THE WAY OF NON-ACTION At this point, extend your attention to your emotional pain, actually befriending it. Read, talk, write, and dream about it. Meditate on it. Ask it questions: What do you want of me? And listen to its answers.
THE WAY OF ACTION Take the information the emotion gives you and do some-thing with it. Perhaps despair over world hunger leads you to work in a soup kitchen. Or grief over the death of your spouse leads to reestablishing a closer relationship with your widowed father.
THE WAY OF SURRENDER TO surrender to our dark emotions is to let their energies flow, so they can lead, as they do naturally, in the direction of renewal and transformation. chanting, singing, and meditating with the emotion are all ways to surrender to it. —F.L.