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How to Master Your Emotions

Developing three emotional capacities will gain you mastery of your emotions. Our Life Energy Playground eBook and the TriUnity™ Emotion Coach™ on this web site provide tools for you to develop these ‘key three’:

  1. Name your emotions – the more accurately and the more precisely the better.

    With the Life Energy Playground  eBook you will explore 150 of your emotional reactions. Click here to download it now.

    The online TriUnity™ Emotion Coach™ provides free guidance to help you name your emotions. Click here to try out the free TriUnity™ Emotion Coach™.

  2. Claim your emotions. To claim a feeling:

    1. Wholly acknowledge you truly feel what you truly feel.

    2. Let yourself ‘have’ your emotion. This does not just mean letting your thoughts race, uncharitably interpreting an event or a situation. This unalterable human tendency sprays ‘jet fuel on the fire.’

      Rather, we mean ‘taking time out’ to be with your feeling. Let yourself just feel. Feel what you feel, and let your feeling be. Take enough time that you notice you are becoming more at peace with what you feel.

    3. If you have someone with whom you feel safe to share your feeling, doing so will help ‘take the edge off’ as well as provide perspective. If you do not, we recommend ‘pouring your heart out’ in a journal. Journaling – writing your emotional experiences and explorations down in a ‘diary’ – can be an effective substitute when a caring friend is not accessible.

      If you are seeking additional emotional support, personal coaching is available. Click here to book an appointment with one of our coaches.

    4. Distinguish who or what is the ‘target’ of your emotion.

    5. Generalize the type of relationship in which your emotion is occurring. Is your feeling toward:

      1. Yourself?
      2. An important other, such as your mate, a family member or a friend? or
      3. A group, a stranger, an animal or some inanimate object?

    6. Insofar as you find yourself able, put your emotion in perspective. This step is most vital when your emotion feels so intense it is overwhelming. For example, suppose you feel so enraged you know just one more thing could ‘set you off.’ Acknowledge you have just one person’s rage. Then as calmly as possible ask yourself, “How much will all this matter five years from now?”

  3. Aim your emotions. You aim accurately when you accurately perceive the context of each emotion.

    This is the most powerful capability of the three. But you absolutely must name and claim your emotion before you aim it. Otherwise, how will you be sure what emotion you are aiming? If you are unsure what you are feeling or toward whom, what are the chances you understand the message or purpose of your emotional energy?

    Aiming is huge. Learning to accurately aim your emotional energy will empower you to climb Maslow’s Hierarchy with class and aplomb. Moreover, you will develop increased capacity to ‘keep operating’ at higher levels.

    Key Learning   Each ‘negative’ emotion triggers a visceral emotional appetite, which immediately impels a reflexive response. Your visceral appetites are primal and sourced in your rawest instincts to survive. They occur near the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
    KEY LEARNING  

    A clarifying example will help. Consider anger.

    When angry your visceral impulse is to lash out and attack. In the violent prehistoric world, ‘attack’ served to disable a dangerous adversary. ‘Attacking’ had primal survival value.

    Primal anger is one part of your ‘flight or fight’ instinct. The ‘fight’ part is designed to defeat predators and ward off parasites. A ‘fight’ response is appropriate if you stand an excellent chance to win. Flight is more appropriate when you stand to lose. When ‘backed into a corner,’ your gut makes the decision to fight instinctively, unconsciously and immediately. Your gut decision is a visceral response.

    The bottom level of Maslow’s Hierarchy identifies real situations which call for primal reactions. Two examples of defeating ‘predators’ are: police violence against serial killers, and soldiers firing on wartime enemies. Two examples of containing ‘parasites’ are: police imprisoning bank robbers, and the FBI interrogating drug dealers. You will want to keep ‘attack’ in your repertoire as a ‘street skill,’ because in rare situations it pays to attack other people.

    Being faced with a true life-or-death situation creates a ‘charge’ when it fully arouses your primal self. Action, drama and superhero movies use your appetite for this ‘charge’ to entertain you, without actually putting your life at stake. We’re not that much different from the ancient Romans, whom Caesar entertained by forcing gladiators to fight to the death.

    Supposing you live in a civilized society, you will seldom face true life-or-death encounters. However, more often than such encounters occur, you will experience visceral anger! It’s how we are designed as human beings. You have an emotional appetite for it.

    Human beings were once lower in the food chain. Most of our evolution occurred during prehistory. Back then, people were as likely to be hunted as to be the hunter. The ‘flight or fight’ instinct grew strong in our genes. We banded together in families and tribes, but other families and tribes competed with ours for limited resources.

    Accordingly, our instinctive reaction to unfamiliar people (those not of our family) is to regard them as dangerous. The more different from us other people seem, the stranger they seem: their behavior seems more difficult to predict. Strangers could mean danger.

    Conversely, we like people who are like us: we feel ‘at home’ with them. People closer to us are easier to trust because we understand behavior that is like ours: their behavior occurs for us as more predictable and more likely to be acceptable.

    Suppose you are angry with someone. The closer that person is to you, the less it pays to attack and disable them. In any group that includes you, it stands to weaken your group. If you disable a member of your family, it will reduce your chances of survival. Finally, where is the sense in attacking yourself? Two examples are self-mutilation and suicide. You most likely regard such behaviors as self-destructive, or even insane.

    Again, I’m sure you have felt angry in plenty of situations even though your life was not threatened. There must be some other evolutionary purpose for anger, one you can apply in caring relationships. Otherwise the anger reaction itself would never have ‘survived.’

    I repeat: There must be something better you can do than treat the target of your anger as a dangerous adversary. There must be some civil way to use the emotional energy of your anger to advantage.

    Key Learning   I explored behind anger and found there is an emotional appetite which is more general than the visceral appetite to attack. It is your generic appetite for confidence.
    KEY LEARNING  

    In a generic sense, here is when you become angry: Taken by surprise by something disgustingly unacceptable, you find yourself powerless to change it. Because it has already happened.

    What the life energy of your anger most wants is to have your confidence restored. Its preferred outcome is to be absolutely sure the unacceptable will never happen again.

    The primal case illustrates: a dangerous adversary you have disabled, can no longer harm you. ‘Attacking’ is one way to restore confidence in your survival.

    I further explored anger inside valued relationships, and found anger generically energizes two distinct emotional appetites:

    1. Enrollment: you want another person to ‘come on board’ with your cause or your point of view. You want them to:
      1. feel as angry as you do,
      2. share your conviction that whatever happened is utterly unacceptable, and
      3. be an advocate with you to right the wrong.

      An example of enrollment is Mark Antony’s speech in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which begins: “Friends, Romans, countrymen: lend me your ears.” In this classic play Mark Antony rouses an angry mob to avenge Caesar’s death.

    2. Economy: you want to ‘optimally allocate your scarce resources.’ You sense another person is trying to enroll you or control you. You judge it wiser to allocate your time, energy and money to other undertakings.

      You will easily relate to this if you have ever disconnected a telemarketer.

    Key Learning   Enrollment and economy are two of 18big picture’ emotional appetites.
    KEY LEARNING  

    These 18 appetites apply at even the highest levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. For a ‘high level’ example of anger turned to good, behold the enrollment Nelson Mandela accomplished in South Africa. In the face of the injustice of Apartheid and 27 years as a political prisoner, Mandela united his country. For a dramatic recap I recommend you take in the movie Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman.

    My research reveals virtually every emotion you feel in modern life occurs in the context one of these 18 ‘big picture’ emotional appetites.

    This insight shouts volumes: you can find a legitimate, passionate purpose for every emotion you feel!

    Here are advanced steps you will learn, as you develop your capacity to aim your emotional energy:

    1. Perceive whatever emotion you are feeling in the context of a ‘big picture’ emotional appetite.

    2. Learn which specific emotional competency to apply:

      1. to make the most of the emotion you are feeling,
      2. in the context of your ‘big picture’ emotional appetite.

      This web site provides the TriUnity™ Emotion Coach™ as a recommended ‘tool of choice’ to identify, learn and practice emotional competencies.

    3. Become creative, as you imaginatively apply each emotional competency across multiple situations. Each competency is generic – it will guide you in any situation in which you feel its related emotion. The specifics are up to you.

    4. Perfect each competency as you practice it. Practice it until you master it.

    Aiming your emotions inside a ‘big picture’ context confers upon you a huge advantage: perceiving greater possibilities beyond your immediate, visceral reactions.

    You will learn to get in touch with something grander you are authentically out for. Each of the 18 ‘big picture’ emotional appetites is one your ‘higher self’ will validate.

    Our Life Energy Playground eBook is your gateway to understanding all 18 of your ‘big picture’ emotional appetites. Click here  now to download it ($14.99 USD).

    You might well be skeptical, questioning whether these 18 appetites truly encompass every ‘emotional situation.’ Don’t take our word for it. We challenge you to try the online TriUnity™ Emotion Coach™ to find out!

    The TriUnity™ Emotion Coach™ is free and easy to use. Click here now to use it.

The promise of our eBook and the ‘Emotion Coach™’ is to make you a master at naming, claiming and aiming your emotional energy.

How to Measure your Progress

Schedule a time each month to review negative feelings whose energy you would love to take better advantage of. Ask yourself and journal: Do these emotions occur for you –

  • As intensely?
  • As often?
  • For as long?

If your answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ we encourage you to continue. You are developing emotional competence and making progress on your road to emotional mastery!

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