How to transform negative emotions
Often after years of persevering, what drives people to take action and seek help is almost always fuelled by negative emotions.
- ‘I keep panicking…’
- ‘I’m too worried to speak up in meetings…’
- ‘I just want to feel good again…’
- ‘My voice goes so shaky when I do presentations…’
- ‘I want to stop feeling sad / worried / anxious / angry / jealous / scared…’
If this sounds familiar then, like many clients, you might’ve considered having these emotions ‘deleted’ or ‘removed’. Some clients come thinking that’s what hypnotherapy’s all about.
And it does make a certain sense. I mean, why on earth would you want to feel something so unpleasant?
However, in many ways, that’s exactly why these so-called negative emotions exist..
It’s all about pleasure and pain
An essential of life is to find what’s good and avoid the bad stuff. Different creatures do this in different ways but most mammals, including humans, work on the pleasure & pain principle.
We move towards pleasure and away from pain. From a physical perspective this is quite easy to grasp. If we touch something frostbitingly cold or red-hot or sharp or spiky we experience it as pain and stop. It keeps us from physical harm.
And if something’s comfy or tasty or safe, we experience it as pleasure and want to do it again.
It helps us take advantage of opportunities and avoid danger.
As we developed even further, our minds began to control our behaviour in the same way. If your mind thinks there’s an opportunity, it makes you want to stay. If it thinks there’s a threat, it makes you want to avoid it, (or be ready for it, if you can’t).
So rather than wait for the actual physical pleasure or pain to turn up, your mind guides your behaviour based on what it thinks is going on. It gives you a head start. In evolutionary terms, a headstart matters.
No such thing as a negative emotion
You experience this ‘head start’ as emotions. If your mind thinks you’re safe, you get flooded with pleasure sensations that make you want to do it again please that feels nice. Smells or tastes are ‘delicious’, you feel ‘relaxed’, ‘curiosity’ comes out to play, you might feel intrigued or hungry or focussed…
But if your mind thinks there’s a threat, you feel the opposite. Unpleasant sensations that make you want to get-the-hell-out-of-there to make the feelings can go away. You might feel ‘disgust’ or ‘worry’, ‘fear’ or ‘panic’. Perhaps you’ll feel timid, shy or quiet. You might be angry or embarrassed or jealous.
It’s all about creating appropriate behaviour. Think about it. When you’re happy or relaxed, you behave very differently to when you’re timid or angry.
Emotions are pleasant or unpleasant, (rather than ‘positive’ or ‘negative’). This reflects their underlying purpose much more accurately.
If all emotions have a positive purpose, why are they still such a problem?
The problems come when your mind makes mistakes.
Our brains haven’t caught up with our 21st century world yet, so a lot of our responses are based on physical life or death threats and these fight or flight behaviours don’t work for us anymore.
Therapy is about helping you rewire your mind’s reactions to your world. Rather than deleting panic or fear or anger, (you might actually need them one day!), you learn how to create far more empowering ways of thinking, feeling and reacting.
Once it’s done, the results can be pretty amazing.
It still surprises me how anxiety & panic can simply disappear. Or speaking up in front of others stops being scary & you actively look forward it
Often, the realisation that emotions are designed to help can be enough for you to manage them more effectively.
For many people though, personalised help makes all the difference in transforming how their mind works.
If this is you, do get in touch. I’d be pleased to help.
If you’d like to have a chat about how I can help free you from negative emotions, drop me a line here.
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