May 26, 2010

Unhealthy emotions – how they are created and how they should be treated!

Often we observe that we are disturbed, frustrated, stressed by our emotions. This is for the deeper analysis of those emotions (eg. Love, hate, anger, anxiety, fear etc.)

Most of the emotions which, eventually, disturb us are caused by our own thoughts. Both unconscious thoughts & conscious. The more you think about something, the more intense emotion will be. As Epictetus says – events are impersonal & indifferent. It’s what we make out of those thoughts, the way we perceive a fact cause a particular feeling inside us. It becomes more intense with more thoughts (irrational thoughts mostly) on it.

Lets take a real time example.
Situation – you get an opportunity to speak in front of 200 people, but you don’t dare do it (lack of stage daring).
What happens inside your mind – “I’m not habituated with public speaking, moreover I don’t know how I’ll perform. If I don’t do it right, people will laugh at me. I had better keep mum.”

You talk above dialogue with yourself, resulting into you keeping mum with a feeling of anxiety & fear. (Later or you repent about it – why didn’t I go for it? It starts disturbing you again.) This ‘thoughtful’ conversation is actually the culprit which is creating emotions in you and manipulating your actions.

Lets see what happens exactly in general n how to treat it.

Step 1 – Events that take place in your life– (Here, you get a chance to speak on the stage..)
Step 2 – ‘You’ talk to ‘yourself’ (As mentioned above)(Mostly this is irrational talk)
Step 3 – You ‘experience the feeling’ and ‘behave’ accordingly
Step 4 – Rigorously analyze the irrational thoughts you did in step 2, and destroy them
Step 5 – Replace those irrational thoughts with the stronger rational thoughts which will result healthy emotions in you. (eg. In this case, “I have got to give it a try. I may talk well. I wont come to know till I try. So lets do this!”)

Some times, when two or more people are involved in your emotional state, it mostly happens because of the standards (or expectations) you have set in your mind for them. Lets say you are angry over someone. It is because he/she didn’t live up to what ‘you thought’ he/she should live up to. Had he lived up to it, instead of being angry, you would have been happy for him (perhaps would have offered a treat to him). Thus you need to tell your mind – “I expect ‘blah blah’ from him. But I know he’s human and he may not live up to the expectation. If he does, great! If he doesn’t, well, that’s part of life and I have to accept that. But I won’t let it manipulate me.” This is what exactly a rational thought is. In step 5 mentioned above, you are replacing you irrational thoughts with such rational thoughts.

Every time you notice your emotional state degrading, remember the 5 step program mentioned above. Implement it consciously. And you will be back to your usual state pretty soon.

(Dr. Albert Ellis has shed great light on this topic. You may as well refer to his works for detailed study.)

(Note – in the above case, I rather prefer keeping ‘no expectations’ from anyone. But practically it’s difficult for most of the people, so my take on this – for the masses is – as I said above – keep expectations, but don’t let them manipulate you).


  • 🙂
    Thanks 4 t advice.enlightened!as u know i come in “most ppl”

  • Thanx alot sir….. i was needing it….am too wid the same prblem…. will try to follow nw….

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