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HOW TO ACHIEVE EMOTIONAL CONTROL

By Psycholex

INTRODUCTION
In this report, I will present some of the most powerful ways to gain control over your
own emotions. For most of us, our emotions seem to take over automatically,
influencing how we think and how we behave, and consequently, how we conduct our
lives. You can vastly increase your personal power by imposing more and more
conscious control over your emotional states. Furthermore, your personal power tends
to decrease to the extent that you indulge in negative emotions. Negative emotions,
which have a biological usefulness, are largely destructive in modern humans living
in our artificially enhanced environments. I might also add that many of us habitually
abdicate control of our negative emotions without ever realizing that doing so
amounts to a tremendous waste of our lives.

OVERVIEW
The following is a brief overview of the main elements of emotional control covered
in this report. By integrating and implementing this material you can profoundly
increase your control over your own emotions.

• Brain physiology. Learning how your brain works is an important aspect of


emotional control. Once you realize that emotions are largely an automatic function of
the human brain, it is much easier to learn how to begin controlling them. Personal
growth and evolution is mostly a matter of exerting more control over our reflexes.
Reading this report will give you a rudimentary understanding of the physiological
origins of emotions.

• Inappropriate diet and hormonal imbalances may affect your emotions adversely.

• Automatic thoughts. In many instances our negative emotional responses are directly
preceded by automatic thoughts. These automatic thoughts remain hidden for most
people. Unless you train yourself to look for these thoughts, you will probably be
unaware of them. This report contains instructions for learning how to monitor your
automatic thoughts.

• Identification. When we identify ourselves with our negative emotional states, it is


difficult to control them. By identifying with our negative emotions, we open up the
possibility (and likelihood) that we will become dominated by them. Emotional
control is essentially a matter of disidentifying with or detaching ourselves from our
negative emotions.

• Emotional control techniques and therapies. Freeze-framing is a simple yet powerful


technique for disengaging from negative emotions. When you freeze-frame, you shift
out of gear and into neutral.

Thought field therapy enables you to access the deepest, most fundamental underlying
cause of all negative emotions. Major debilitating emotions such as depression,
anxiety and phobias can be quickly eliminated by
correcting the problem at the fundamental level.

Idenics is a self-development technology which enables


you to rid yourself of unwanted mental or emotional
conditions.

At the end of this report I suggest specific steps for


beginning to achieve emotional control.

THE TRIUNE BRAIN


In order to increase your control over your emotions, it is helpful to understand
emotions from the viewpoint of a brain specialist. This will help you to understand the
origins of our emotions and why we have them. The advantage of this is the same of
any type of self-knowledge: the more you become aware of the mechanical or
automatic aspects of yourself, the more you are able to increase your control over
them.

Although we often refer to our brains as a single, solid unit, it is clear that this is not
an accurate description. Rather, our brains consist of a conglomerate of various sub-
brains and sections, all interconnected. Dr. Paul D. MacLean, a prominent brain
researcher, has developed a model of brain structure which he calls the "triune brain."
In other words, humans have not one brain but three. (Actually, even this is an
oversimplification; but this model has the advantage of displaying our evolutionary
heritage.) MacLean states that the human brain "amounts to three interconnected
biological computers," with each biocomputer having "its own special intelligence, its
own subjectivity, its own sense of time and space, its own memory, motor, and other
functions." Each of the three brains corresponds to a major evolutionary development
and are categorized as follows: the reptilian brain, the old mammalian brain and the
new mammalian brain. MacLean illustrates this point facetiously when he points out
that when a psychiatrist asks his patient to lie down on the couch, he is asking him to
stretch alongside a horse and a crocodile.

According to the triune model of the brain, evolution has simply added new sub-
brains to preexisting ones like a man who keeps building additional structures onto an
old house. However, to continue with the analogy, with each new addition to the
house the physical structure of the older components were altered or modified to some
extent. In other words, the reptile brain in humans is not exactly the same as the brain
of a lizard. That is not to say we haven’t retained any reptilian functions in our brains;
we most certainly have. MacLean has shown that our reptile brains play a major role
in our aggressive behavior, territoriality, ritual and social hierarchies.

In The Dragons of Eden, after describing the characteristic behaviors of the reptile
brain which I’ve just listed above, Carl Sagan says, "This seems to me to characterize
a great deal of modern human bureaucratic and political behavior." Bureaucratic
behavior is "controlled at its core" by the reptilian brain, hence we observe coercion
and physical violence, territorial and jurisdictional claims, political rituals such as the
presidential motorcade, and the social hierarchies for which bureaucratic
organizations are notorious. Sagan does, however, believe there is hope for the human
future since it is within our powers to adjust the relative role each section of the triune
brain plays in our lives.

We are also highly influenced by our old mammalian brains which, as we will see
later, are capable of a much wider range of emotional response.

The R-Complex
The most ancient of the three brains is called the reptilian brain or the R-complex.
(See diagram above.) The R-complex evolved around 200 million years ago.

As I’ve mentioned above, the reptilian brain is still influential in humans; in fact, it
still performs in much the same way as it did for our remote ancestors. Much of
human behavior can be described in reptilian terms, especially those involving
aggression and territoriality.

In addition, the R-complex also influences our emotions. If, as MacLean suggests, our
brains are a kind of biological computer, then just like all computers, they are run by
programs — instruction codes. Programs can be genetically transmitted or they can be
acquired after birth. Furthermore, the older and more primitive a brain, the fewer
programs it has to choose from; it also tends to rely almost completely on genetic
programs which have been "hard-wired" into the brain. The primitive reptile brain is
basically a survival brain, possessing only a few dozen or so ancient programs to
choose from.

The emotional responses of the reptile brain are severely limited. Leslie Hart, a writer
on brain research, states: "As we look at the three-brain structure of humans, it
becomes manifest that, in general, the old, more primitive schemata and programs
and the cruder emotions are in the oldest brain tissue, and that the highly subtle
pattern-detecting capabilities are in the newest, the neo-cortex" [author’s italics]. In
other words, initially, emotions were directly related to basic survival needs. To see
why this is so, we need to understand the concepts of "homeostasis" and "biasing."

The human body has a built-in ability to regulate itself; it maintains the settings of
various bodily conditions within certain established parameters. Take, for example,
body temperature. We have a kind of thermostat which regulates the temperature of
the body, just like we have thermostats attached to the heating and air conditioning
systems in our homes. We have many of these thermostats regulating and adjusting
various bodily factors.

For the most part, the aim of these thermostats is to keep our various bodily systems
in balance — something called "homeostasis." The oldest function of emotions was to
change the bias or setting of our bodily systems. To illustrate this, imagine a rabbit
feeding on some vegetation. In this quiet and calm state, its internal systems are
biased at a low setting. Now imagine a fox suddenly shows up. Noticing this, the
rabbit reacts by abruptly shifting its internal setting. It has rebiased its homeostasis
setting to "emergency." This is similar to suddenly moving the thermostat pointer in
your house from 78° to 44° and the heat (or cool air if it’s summertime) starts pouring
in. When the rabbit changes over to the emergency setting, the drastic changes in
various bodily systems prepare the animal for immediate action. "This emergency
shift of bias," says Hart, "lies at the heart of what we call emotion."
Now, it is important to keep in mind that in humans, although our reptile brains are
fully functional, the various parts of the brain are all interconnected and,
consequently, influence one another. Next, we take a look at the old mammalian brain,
also known as the limbic system.

The Limbic System


The old mammalian brain, or the limbic system, is sandwiched between the R-
complex and the new mammalian brain. (See diagram above.) This brain is about 60
million years old and is far more sensitive and sophisticated than the R-complex.

The limbic system is much concerned with the emotions. Brain physiologists have
discovered that the amygdala, a small almond-shaped structure located in the limbic
system, plays a major role in both aggression and fear. When the amygdala of a placid
domestic animal is stimulated electrically, the animal is roused into a high degree of
fear or frenzy. Conversely, if the amygdala of a naturally ferocious animal is
surgically removed, it becomes docile and will even tolerate being petted.

The limbic system also seems to be the origin of altruistic behaviors.

Says Carl Sagan, "Much in animal behavior substantiates the notion that strong
emotions evolved chiefly in mammals and to a lesser extent in birds. The attachment
of domestic animals to humans is, I think, beyond question. The apparent sorrowful
behavior of many mammalian mothers when their young are removed is well-known.
One wonders just how far such emotions go. Do horses on occasion have glimmerings
of patriotic fervor? Do dogs feel for humans something akin to religious ecstasy?
What other strong or subtle emotions are felt by animals that do not communicate
with us?"

As a biocomputer, the old mammalian brain contains a much greater number of


programs than its predecessor, allowing it a far wider range of response. In addition,
the limbic system plays a major part in the generation of our emotions; in fact, we
could call it our "emotion brain."

The Neocortex
The newest brain, the neocortex or new mammalian brain, has only been around for a
few million years. In humans the neocortex is also the largest of the three brains —
accounting for about five-sixths of the entire brain.

In order to see what role the neocortex plays in our emotional responses we need to
back up a little. The R-complex is essentially a survival brain; it is capable of only a
handful of behaviors. The limbic system is capable of a much wider range of
behaviors, especially those concerning the emotions. As we have already seen, a
component of the limbic system, the amygdala, plays a major role in fear and rage.
The limbic system is largely responsible for the resetting of various bodily systems
during our emotional reactions.

But in order for me to react to something with fear, I need to perceive or interpret that
situation as warranting a fearful response. A part of my brain needs to say: "If you’ve
ever had the need to be afraid, it is right now!" If I am walking along the street and
suddenly encounter a street gang wielding baseball bats, before I can feel afraid, I
need to interpret this situation as a threat. By the same token, if I had been informed
by someone that I would come across life-sized puppets in the form of a street gang, I
would feel no fear at all; for I now interpret the situation as non-threatening. It is the
job of the neocortex to detect patterns and interpret the "meanings" of situations.

The importance of this interpretation process will be discussed further in a later


section on cognitive psychology. There we will see that many of us make the mistake
in assuming that events and circumstances directly cause our emotional states. We
forget about the cognitive process of interpretation which comes between the event
and the emotion.

Shifting Down to Our Lower Brains


According to Hart, it is the process of resetting the biases and preparing the organism
for a change in activity which constitutes emotion. For the most part this is obviously
true. If I suddenly find myself face-to-face with a wild bear, in order to escape, I need
to instantaneously reset various bodily systems and put myself into the "emergency,
run like hell!" mode.

Says Hart: "Emotions involve the human brain at all levels. To oversimplify, the
oldest brain does the body resetting, the middle brain gives the orders, and the new
brain provides complex and detailed analysis of the situation and gives permission for
or inhibits the emotion. But the new brain, the cerebral cortex and its associated
pathways, does not always win. It can be temporarily shunted out of the decision
making as older, simpler circuits take over. A suitable term for this is ‘downshifting.’"

When we downshift, full use of our new brains is suspended and more control is given
to our lower brains. One can readily see how this can become problematic. When we
become upset or are in a negative emotional state, we turn over the controls to our
lower brains and the consequence is something we’ve all experienced many times: we
can’t think clearly, our thinking becomes muddled, as if someone has thrown a bucket
of mud on the windshield of our car.

Under any kind of threat we tend to downshift. The reason for this should be clear: in
many serious, threatening situations we are required to take immediate action. We
confront a wild bear and we make an instantaneous decision to run. The lower brains
work well in these kinds of situations; they were designed to make quick decisions.
So downshifting is an automatic protection mechanism. It enables us to shift to more
primitive and dependable response patterns.

Unfortunately, downshifting has an obvious downside. When we downshift, we lose


full use of our new brain, the neo-cortex. Our ability to think straight seems to vanish.
The problem is that we continue to downshift even when it is not necessary or even
beneficial to do so.

By learning how to counteract or prevent ourselves from downshifting, we can greatly


increase our personal power and our control over our emotions. An effective method
for doing exactly this is the freeze-frame technique discussed below.

ON HUMAN STUPIDITY
Downshifting is actually one aspect of a much greater problem. Recall that when we
downshift, we turn over the controls, so to speak, to our lower brains — we revert to
older and more primitive response patterns and programs. In addition, we tend to lose
our ability to think straight.

However, even when we are not actually downshifting, we are strongly influenced by
our reptilian and old mammalian brains.

Consider the following passage from Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminati Papers: "The
great genetic portion of stupidity is programmed into all of us and consists of ‘typical
mammalian behavior.’ That is, a great deal of the human nervous system is on auto
pilot, like the closely related chimpanzee nervous system and the more distantly
related cow nervous system. The programs of territoriality, pack hierarchy, etc., are
evolutionary stable strategies and hence work mechanically, without conscious
thought. These evolutionary relative successes became genetic programs because they
work well enough for the ordinary mammal in ordinary mammalian affairs. They only
become stupidities in human beings, where higher cortical centers have been
developed as monitoring systems to feed back more sophisticated survival techniques
and correct these stereotyped programs with more flexible ones.

"In short, to the extent that a human follows the genetic primate-pack patterns,
without feeding back from the cortex, that human is still acting like an ape, and hasn’t
acquired facility in using the New Brain."

This goes to the heart of the problem of emotional control. Getting a handle on our
emotions is a matter of gaining more conscious control over those behaviors which
ordinarily swing in automatically without conscious thought. Now, many of our
"typical mammalian behaviors" are quite useful, as when a mother responds
automatically to the needs of her newborn child. It is when we allow ourselves to be
controlled by these automatic (genetically programmed) functions without feedback
from the new brain that we run into problems. For example, suppose my mammalian
programming prods me to lash out at someone who I feel is challenging my position
in a social hierarchy. If I were to pause and consciously consider the situation, I would
probably come up with a much more effective strategy or course of action. But it’s
more than that. For, as long as I continue to think and behave automatically, it is my
programming which is running the show, not me. And the whole idea behind
emotional control is that I am the one in control, not my programming nor my
emotions.

MULTIMINDED
Not only do we have more than one brain, but it could also be argued that we have
more than one mind. Our minds are not a single unit. Rather, various "small minds"
are constantly wheeling in and out and taking control at different moments. For
example, you are driving to work and someone cuts you off. Suddenly your anger
routine (one of your small minds) automatically swings to the forefront of your
consciousness and takes over the controls. You find yourself yelling and cursing. A
few minutes later, your anger routine subsides and you calm down.

Most of us seem to have all sorts of small minds which swing in and out, taking
control of our consciousness. In order to develop more emotional control, you need to
develop your ability to control the various small minds which tend to wheel in
automatically. Says Robert Ornstein in his book, Multimind:

"It is a question of who is running the show. In most people, at most times, the
automatic system of the [mental operating system] organizes which small mind gets
wheeled in, most likely on that automatic basis of blind habit. But there is a point
when a person can become conscious of the multiminds and begin to run them
rather than hopelessly watch anger wheel in once again" [my emphasis]

And how do you begin running your own show? By practicing self-observation.
Develop your ability to stand back and observe your own mental and emotional
functioning as if you were a zoologist studying the living habits of animals. Describe
what you see and take notes. Ornstein states, "Under the stimulus of self-observation,
the [mental operating system] seems to begin to change and the fixed links between
action and reaction are loosened, leaving room for some serious choices and
redirection of the mind."

The multimind metaphor is also useful for increasing your ability to deal with other
people’s emotional reactions. This is important when trying to avoid getting caught up
in a process of knee-jerk emotional reactions with other people. In this scenario,
someone says something which sets you off and you automatically react by saying
something which irritates the other person, and on and on like a pendulum swinging
back and forth. If, instead, you simply remain calm and say to yourself, "There goes
one of her small minds again; I will not get dragged into this," you can avoid such a
confrontation.

I highly recommend reading Multimind. It contains important information on


emotional control.

IMPROVING DIET AND HORMONAL BALANCE


The first thing for some people to do about improving emotional control may be to
read the book 'Mood Cure: The 4-Step Program to Rebalance Your Emotional
Chemistry and Rediscover Your Natural Sense of Well-Being' by Julia Ross, M.A. See
"About the Mood Cure" for a desciption of the book. The on-line "Four Part Mood-
Type Questionnaire" may reveal some important things to you. (See also The Diet
Cure and the "Quick Symptom Questionnaire.")

TAPPING INTO YOUR AUTOMATIC THOUGHTS


One of the most critical aspects of gaining more emotional control is to learn how to
identify your automatic thoughts. In most instances, our negative emotional responses
are directly preceded by automatic thoughts. These automatic thoughts remain hidden
for most of us. Unless you train yourself to look for these thoughts, you will probably
not be aware of them. But once you do learn how to catch hold of your automatic
thoughts, you will not only become aware of them, but you also learn how to control
them.

An excellent source of information on automatic thoughts is Aaron T. Beck’s


Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders. You may also want to look into
Renaeu Z. Peurifoy’s Anxiety, Phobias & Panic. Although both of these books are
largely concerned with various emotional disorders, they contain valuable information
on the topic of emotional control in general. They
are both worth reading even if you don’t have any
"emotional disorders."

Assigning Meaning to Events


The basic idea behind cognitive therapy is that by
changing the way you think, you can change the
way you feel and act. The process of changing the
way you think consists of restructuring your thought
processes; in fact, in cognitive therapy this is
referred to as "cognitive restructuring." If you don’t
like the way you are feeling or acting, you simply
make changes in the way you think, hence the term
"cognitive therapy."

It is not surprising then, that cognitive therapists


argue that most of our emotions are a result of the interpretations we make of the
events around us. This is quite different from the way we normally think about our
emotional states. Usually, we tend to regard our emotional responses as being directly
caused by outside events and situations. This view is reflected in the way we talk. For
example, an angry man says of his wife, "She made me so mad!" Or, a gloomy
woman says of her co-worker, "He made me sad." But, according to the cognitive
approach, events and situations do not cause emotional reactions, as pulling back a
rubber-band and releasing it causes it to snap back. Rather, it is our interpretation of
the event which triggers the emotional response. Once we grasp this, we can see that
it is of enormous importance for emotional control. Diagram #2 illustrates the
cognitive explanation of emotional response.

For the most part, we are unaware of this process of interpretation or assigning
meaning to events and situations because it happens automatically and very rapidly. A
good example of this is driving a car. When I am driving, I am constantly making all
sorts of judgments, evaluations and interpretations. I need to decide what the actions
of the other drivers and pedestrians mean. I need to know what it means when I
approach an intersection and I see a red light. I need to assign meanings to all of the
events happening around me. And during the entire time that I am driving, the process
of assigning meaning goes on automatically and unconsciously. If I could not make
immediate, automatic interpretations, I would not be able to drive.

"The mind’s ability to interpret events quickly and automatically," says Peurifoy, "has
led to the widespread misconception that people and events generate emotions. Most
people don’t realize that it is the meaning they assign to people and events that
actually generates emotions. Commonly used statements such as, ‘He made me mad,’
‘She made me sad,’ or ‘That really made me happy,’ not only reflect this mistaken
belief but actually reinforce it." Peurifoy goes on to say that if this mistaken idea were
true, any given event or situation would generate the same emotional response in
everyone encountering or experiencing it. This should be obvious to just about
everyone. We’ve all noticed how an identical event or circumstance on different
occasions results in different emotional responses in ourselves. For example,
sometimes I feel a minor surge of irritation when another driver cuts me off on the
road; on other occasions, the same event — being cut off — does not bother me in the
least. Or, you may have noticed that some people tend to become depressed during a
rainstorm, while others may become elated and full of energy. So even our own
everyday experiences demonstrate the error in the notion that external events and
other people directly cause our emotional reactions.

What Are Automatic Thoughts?


In Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders, Beck gives the following
examples:

During a walk, a woman immediately feels faint after suddenly realizing that she is
three blocks away from her home.

Each time he drove his car through a tunnel, a professional athlete felt his heart pound
and his chest constrict; and each time he would start to gasp for air and have thoughts
that he was dying.

When he received compliments for his work, a successful novelist would cry bitterly.

At first, these reactions may seem quite puzzling. However, when given specific
directions to do so, each of these people observed a sequence of thoughts and images
that intervened between the event and the negative or unpleasant emotional reaction.
Beck calls this "tapping into your internal communication system." Once the internal
communication system is accessed and the stream of automatic thoughts uncovered,
the emotional reactions of these individuals is much more understandable. With
training, we can learn how to monitor and become aware of the rapid, automatic
thoughts which occur between the event and our emotional response.

The woman in the above example was able to observe the sequence of automatic
thoughts which entered her mind immediately before experiencing her anxiety. She
found herself thinking, "I am really far away from home. If something happened to
me now, I couldn’t get back in time to get help. If I fell down on the street here,
people would just walk by — they wouldn’t know me. Nobody would help me."

Similarly, the athlete who experienced fear and panic whenever he would drive
through a tunnel also found his mind filled thoughts having to do with a sense of
danger. When entering a tunnel, he found himself thinking, "This tunnel could
collapse and I would suffocate." This was followed by a visual image of the tunnel
collapsing around him, and immediately his chest began to tighten. He then
interpreted the tension he felt in his chest to be a sign that he was suffocating. These
thoughts of suffocation lead even more anxiety and other physical symptoms such as
an increased pulse rate and shortness of breath.

In reaction to the compliments he received for his writing, the novelist experienced
this automatic thought: "People won’t be honest with me. They know I’m mediocre.
They just won’t accept me as I really am. They keep giving me phony compliments."
Once these thoughts were uncovered, his emotional reaction was much more
understandable. He regarded his own work as inferior, therefore, he interpreted any
compliments from other people as being insincere. In turn, his depression was further
reinforced by his mistaken conclusion that other people were not honest and up front
with him.
What is common to each of these three cases is that there was a more or less
conscious thought between an external event and the individual’s specific emotional
reaction. I say "more or less" because although these thoughts are directly accessible
in our consciousness, we tend to be unaware of them unless we intentionally train
ourselves to monitor them. At least part of the reason we tend not to notice them is
they appear automatically and rapidly. It is analogous to wearing glasses. After
wearing glasses for a while, we forget that we are wearing them. Yet they remain a
part of our experience and perceptions (in fact they play an active part) even though
we have forgotten about them. Training ourselves to track our automatic thoughts is
like remembering that you are wearing glasses. And not only that. Its like taking them
off and examining them.

Once you learn that your emotional responses are preceded by automatic thoughts, it
is not difficult to train yourself to focus your attention on them during various events
and circumstances. You then begin to see for yourself that thoughts and images link or
come between external events and our emotional responses. Try it the next time you
experience an emotion like fear. For example, you may notice that after walking past a
dark alleyway, you suddenly feel afraid. Turn your attention inward and ask yourself
what you were thinking immediately prior to feeling the fear. You may find out that an
image of being attacked with a knife appeared in your mind. You may even have told
yourself something like, "If I were suddenly attacked, I would not be capable of
defending myself. I could end up bleeding to death on this sidewalk" — even without
being consciously aware of saying this to yourself.

We can also experience an emotion without an accompanying external event. In this


case, by tracking down our thought processes, we will most likely find an automatic
thought which preceded our emotional reaction.

Monitoring Your Automatic Thoughts


Learning how to monitor your automatic thoughts is not difficult. It is simply a matter
of turning your attention inward and tracing back the series of thoughts which ran
through your head just prior to experiencing the emotion. Since most people tend not
to be aware of their automatic thoughts, the most important step is to know that you
need to start looking for those thoughts.

It may also help to start practicing the skill of recalling the images and ideas which
floated through your stream of consciousness during the last few moments. To do this,
sit quietly and allow your mind to wander. After a minute or so, ask yourself what you
are currently thinking about. Once you’ve identified that, ask yourself what led you to
start thinking about what you were thinking about. Continue tracing your thought
stream back as far as you can. Usually there is some connecting factor between each
set of thoughts. For example, you may discover that you were just thinking about your
Apple Macintosh computer. What brought up that topic in your mind? Well, just
before that, you were thinking about how your neighbor wanted some advise on
purchasing a computer. And what led you to start thinking about your neighbor? The
fence between your house and your neighbor’s driveway needs to be repainted... You
get the idea. You can then apply this skill to tapping your automatic thoughts.

Another thing which may help you learn to track your automatic thoughts is to study
the examples provided in books like Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders
and Anxiety Disorders and Phobias (see the bibliography at the end of this report for
more information on these books). The following example comes from Cognitive
Therapy and the Emotional Disorders. A man became frightened whenever he came
close to a dog even when there was no chance of being bitten or attacked by the
animal. He would even feel nervous when passing a dog which was chained or fenced
in or too small to harm him. The man was asked to try focusing on the thoughts which
entered his mind the next time he saw a dog. He reported something which escaped
his notice before; each time he saw a dog, he had the following thought: "It’s going to
bite me." By focusing on his automatic thoughts, the man was able to understand why
he felt anxious whenever he saw a dog. By repeatedly recognizing his automatic
thoughts when exposed to dogs, the man was able to overcome his anxiety and long-
standing fear.

Command Phrases
In a book called Dictionary of Typical Command Phrases, Richard W. Wetherill
describes what he refers to as "command phrases," which are essentially automatic
thoughts. Wetherill’s basic idea is this: when we are emotionally upset, we program
our brains with faulty and self-destructive programming. When in a state of emotional
upset we say things like, "If he ever crosses me again, I’ll teach him a lesson!" Or,
"I’ll never make anything out of myself!" These sentences then become "command
phrases" which are installed in our unconscious minds where they continue to exert a
powerful and destructive affect on us even after the emotional upset subsides.

Says Wetherill in his book How to Solve Problems and Prevent Trouble, "What
happens is that in an outburst of emotional thinking the individual substitutes
unreality for reality on the subject of the emotion. For him, the unreality thereafter
tends to control." [my emphasis] And that, claims Wetherill, is the main source of our
troubles and problems — this process of creating distortions of logic during emotional
upsets and having the distortions remain even after we are no longer upset.

This entire process is a kind of negative brain programming. The command phrases
which you install in your brain during emotional upset thereafter become unconscious
premises which are incorporated into your everyday thinking. For example, if in an
emotional outburst you exclaim to yourself, "I’ll always be a loser," that sentence
becomes a command phrase which influences your thinking so that you find yourself
behaving as a loser.

According to Wetherill, the procedure for ridding yourself of command phrases is


simple. All you need to do is think about each command phrase in an unemotional
state of mind; the command phrase then loses its control over you.

In his Dictionary of Typical Command Phrases, Wetherill lists examples of command


phrases in 1008 different categories. You may want to purchase a copy of that book
and begin to systematically rid yourself of command phrases. It is also important to
learn how to achieve emotional control so that you cease creating new command
phrases. And that is what this report is all about...

To find out more about Wetherill's books, see The Alpha House Publishing website.
The Reactive-Responsive Orientation
Since I’ve pointed out that most of us tend to believe that our emotions are generated
by external events and circumstances, it is worth mentioning Robert Fritz’s idea of the
reactive-responsive orientation. In The Path of Least Resistance, Fritz states that most
people believe circumstances are the driving force of their lives. In other words, in
such an orientation, you are forced to either respond to or react against the
circumstances; you tend not to believe that you can make choices independent of the
circumstances. This, it seems to me, is how most people live with regard to their
emotions.

The reactive-responsive orientation is based on the premise that you are powerless; it
is the external circumstances which hold the power, not you. Your life is simply a
series or reactions against or responses to the circumstances you encounter.

In order to regain your power, you need to switch to what Fritz calls the "orientation
of the creative." The individual who lives out his or her life in the creative orientation
believes that he or she can make choices independent of the circumstances.

It is clear to me that the problem of emotional control reflects the problem of human
beings in general: we tend to live as if our lives are determined by circumstance, by
factors beyond our control. This essentially passive orientation towards life leads to
the feeling that we are victims of circumstance or fate. We tend to get so used to
things happening to us that we forget that we can control our own lives. This is
especially relevant to our emotions: we don’t need to be at the mercy of our moods
and feelings; instead, we can begin to learn to control them. And that is what this
report is all about.

IDENTIFYING WITH YOUR EMOTIONS


In Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders, Beck illustrates what he calls the
"personal domain" with the following example:

"A man was shown a picture of a coat of arms by a friend. He was indifferent to it
until he was persuaded that it was actually a picture of his own family’s coat of arms.
From then on, he prized the picture, was excited in showing it to other people, and
was hurt when they seemed uninterested. He reacted to the illustration on the piece of
paper as though it were an extension of himself."

This is also what is known as "identification." The man in the example has identified
himself with the coat of arms. When we identify ourselves with something — no
matter what it is — we are unable to step back and view it objectively. Humans can
identify themselves with just about anything, including their emotions. I should say:
especially their emotions.

Now, when we identify with our emotions, it is very difficult to control them; when
we are immersed in our emotions, we are controlled by them. The secret of emotional
control is to disengage yourself from them, to pull back and cease identifying with
your feelings and moods. (The "freeze-frame" technique discussed below is a
powerful tool for learning how to disengage or detach yourself from your negative
emotions.)
Neil Diamond Sings the Blues
Neil Diamond has a song called "Song Sung Blue," in which he describes how the
process of writing a song about depression can be a form of catharsis. Singing about
his low feelings has the effect of relieving him from his state of despondency. The
song goes like this:

Song sung blue


Everybody knows one
Song sung blue
Every garden grows one
Me and you are subject to
The blues now and then
But when you take the blues
And make a song
You sing them out again
You sing ‘em out again
Song sung blue
Weeping like a willow
Song sung blue
Sleeping on my pillow
Funny thing but you can sing it
With a cry in your voice
And before you know
It gets you feeling good
You simply got no choice

The song claims that when you sit down and write a song about your depression, you
automatically start feeling good. In fact, says Diamond, you cannot help but start to
feel good.

Why is this so? Why does the simple act of writing a song about one’s depression
automatically lift the depression? What mental mechanism is at work here? The
answer to these questions leads us to major increases in emotional control.

We can glimpse the answer if we examine what is going on in the songwriter’s


consciousness. Let’s suppose that I am depressed; I take Neil Diamond’s advice and
decide to write a song about my depression. So I sit down with pen and paper and
attempt to convert my emotional experience into words — I start describing how I
feel. It is this act of describing my feelings which leads directly to my depression
being lifted. For in order to describe how I feel, I need to detach myself from my
feelings. The process of describing how I feel forces me to separate myself from my
own emotions. There is a kind of internal split; I separate myself from an aspect of my
own consciousness in order to examine and describe it. As a result, I am no longer
identified with that aspect of my consciousness — my depression is automatically
lifted.

This process works not only with songs, but also with activities like writing poems,
letters and daily journal entries — just about any activity which involves examining
your emotional state and describing it with words. An effective way to pull yourself
out of an emotional slump, like a mild depression, is to describe your emotional state
out loud or in writing. When you do this, try to describe yourself as if you were
another person.

Observing Yourself As If You Were Another Person


This type of self-observation is to be distinguished from ordinary introspection. The
trouble with introspection is that we attempt to explain why we behaved in a certain
way or thought a certain thought. We try to rationalize or justify our thoughts and
behaviors.

When you observe yourself as if you were another person, you simply record what
you thought and what you did, as if you were taking a snapshot of the contents of your
mind and another snapshot of your overt behavior.

FREEZE-FRAMING
A simple, yet highly powerful technique for gaining immediate emotional control is
something called "freeze-framing." The term "freeze-frame" comes from the image of
a movie projector projecting a movie onto a screen. Many of us tend to get so caught
up in the movie (what is going on in to present moment) that we become a kind of
ping-pong ball which simply bounces around and merely reacts to the environment.
Someone interrupts us while we are on the phone and we automatically react with
irritation. We get held up in traffic and we automatically experience frustration. What
is wrong with all of this is that we mechanically and unthinkingly indulge in our
emotional responses. And furthermore, our emotional "indulgences" — and all
emotional responses amount to self-indulgence — color our perceptions and influence
our choices and actions. How many times have you found yourself swept up in a tide
of emotion, only later to wish you had called a time-out before you made a decision or
took a certain action?

Well, with freeze-framing, you can. You can call a time-out and momentarily slow
down the movie projector. This enables you to maintain a clear, level-headed
perspective even in the midst of all your stress and frustrations. We’ve all noticed how
easy it is to help others to regain their emotional poise. But when it comes to our own
stress and strain, it is as if we were powerless to keep ourselves from being swept up
by our own emotions. And to further exacerbate the problem, when we find ourselves
caught up in negative emotional reactions, we tend to feel such a response is perfectly
acceptable and warranted. Freeze-framing enables you to call a time-out and get a
clearer perspective of what is happening on the screen.

Doc Lew Childre, the inventor of freeze-framing, describes it as "...a technology that
gives you the conscious ability to self-manage your reactions, gain clarity and have
more quality, fun and well-being in the moment. You gain the power to make better
choices and decisions and not be victimized by your reactions to people, places and
situations" [my italics]. That last phrase is of critical importance: "not be victimized
by your own reactions to people, places and situations." To what extent do we create
our own problems and miseries by the way in which we automatically and
emotionally react to the world around us?

Freeze-framing is essentially a tool for handling stress. Most us find ourselves


automatically slipping into various emotional responses when we are under pressure,
and in doing so, we loose our ability to keep a level-headed perspective. When we
freeze-frame, we shift ourselves into neutral; we maintain a high level of clarity and
insight even when we are in the middle of the stressful moment.

Personal Power, Control and Stress


Freeze-framing helps you release stress by increasing your personal power. Childre
points out that a San Francisco-based, stress-research consulting firm called Essi
Systems has discovered important new information regarding personal power and
stress. Essi Systems has found out that what is taught in usual stress-reduction
programs — diet, physical fitness, weight control, etc. — has only a minimal effect on
a person’s ability to deal with pressure, rapid change, and other sources of stress. The
only factor which does have a significant impact on a person’s ability to handle stress
— particularly work pressure — is personal power, i. e., control over your time,
resources, information and other elements connected with work. Says Esther Orioli,
the founder of Essi Systems, "Our testing revealed that out of 21 stress-related factors
we examined, personal power was the only factor that could predict who got sick and
who stayed healthy in work situations with high amounts of pressure. Conversely,
people without this sense of personal power tended to feel victimized and were unable
to cope with high amounts of pressure in similar situations" [my italics].

How to Freeze-Frame
The following are the five steps of the freeze-frame technique:

1) Recognize your stressful feelings and make the decision to freeze-frame (call a
time-out). The key skill in this first step is to realize that you are feeling stressed and
that you need to disengage before you get swept up in the situation and allow your
emotions to take control of you. In this sense, the first step of the freeze-frame
technique is like pressing the pause button on a VCR. The key is to begin pressing the
pause button at the moment the stress starts to build up. You may find that your
emotions take control so quickly and automatically that you are unable to recognize
your need to freeze-frame until after the fact. In that case, you simply need more
practice. Eventually you will reach a point where you are able to take a time-out while
feeling stressed.

2) Shift your focus away from your racing thoughts and emotions. Focus your
attention instead on the area around your heart and for about ten seconds or so,
pretend you are breathing through your heart. Since the purpose of this technique is to
disengage yourself from your disturbed emotions, it is essential that you move your
attention away from your thoughts and emotions. This enables you to quickly gain a
more clear-headed perspective, which in turn allows you to consider more effective
ways of handling your current situation. In doing so, you will experience a major
increase in your personal power. You remain in control, rather than allowing your
emotions to take over. The reason why your personal power increases is because you
are able to immediately step back and get a more objective view of the situation. It is
like soothing a worried friend. Since you are not caught up in your friend’s emotional
state, you are able to see the situation with much more clarity.

The benefits of step #2 are analogous to making a movie. The actors in the movie are
necessarily caught up in the middle of the movie-making process. Consequently, their
viewpoints are quite limited. But the director needs to stand outside of the entire
process; he has a much wider and clearer perspective. Says Childre, "If you want to be
the director of your own movie, you have to stop being just one of the characters and
step back to see the whole picture."

3) Think about a fun time in your life, a time in which you felt positive. Try to re-
experience that moment in your mind. The importance of this step is that it helps to
neutralize your negative reaction. When you shift into neutral, you are better able to
see the options available to you in the present moment.

4) Ask your heart for a more efficient and effective response to the situation you are
freeze-framing. The answer will come from your intuition or source of common
sense. As you practice the freeze-frame technique, your ability to both access and
recognize answers from your source of common sense or intuition will improve. It is
also helpful to develop a sense of confidence in your own ability to give yourself an
answer. We are all in possession of vast sources of intelligence and creativity; we need
only open ourselves up to them.

5) Open yourself up and listen to the answer your heart gives you. As you practice the
freeze-frame technique, it starts to become second nature to you. After a while you
will no longer need to think about the steps involved. You will start to do them
automatically.

Here is a shortened version of the five steps for quick reference:

1) Recognize your stressful feelings and make the decision to freeze-frame (call a
time-out).

2) Shift your focus away from your racing thoughts and emotions. Focus your
attention instead on the area around your heart and for about ten seconds or so,
pretend you are breathing through your heart.

3) Think about a fun time in your life, a time in which you felt positive. Try to re-
experience that moment in your mind. (Note: freeze-framing can be much more
effective if you decide beforehand what experience to focus on.)

4) Ask your heart for a more efficient and effective response to the situation you are
freeze-framing. The answer will come from your intuition or source of common
sense.

5) Open yourself up and listen to the answer your heart gives you.

The Benefits of Freeze-Framing


The following is a list of some of the main benefits of using the freeze-frame
technique. This list is not comprehensive, and I highly recommend reading Freeze-
Frame to get a more complete sense of the benefits of this tool.

• Increased emotional control. Freeze-framing enables you to shift into neutral by


stepping away from uncontrolled (particularly negative) emotional reactions. It is
important to note the difference between suppressing your emotions and neutralizing
them. When you suppress your emotions, you don’t necessarily rid yourself of them;
in a sense, you are just pushing them away, like a gardener pushing seeds into the
ground; although you can’t see it, the seed is still there. Neutralizing your emotions —
freeze-framing — is a matter of disengaging your emotions, like pressing the clutch
and taking your manual transmission out of gear. Also, when something is neutralized,
it disappears; a neutralized emotion vanishes and no longer has the ability to influence
you and your perceptions.

• More productive at work. Using the freeze-frame technique at work can bring you
numerous benefits, including most of the other benefits listed here. One specific
benefit is that it may help you in dealing with difficult people. By taking a time out
when interacting with difficult people, you improve your mental clarity and cease to
identify with any negative reactions. You then become more sensitive to that other
person’s needs by paying attention and listening more. If this difficult person happens
to be a client, for example, you may boost your potential of closing a sale. Once you
realize just how robotic and mechanical most of us operate, you will realize how
ridiculous much of the fiction and negativity between individuals really is and that it
could be easily avoided.

• Gives your mind more clarity. This goes to the heart of the freeze-frame technique:
maintaining inner poise, emotional control and mental clarity in the face of stress and
strain.

• Bring more quality to your relationships. The freeze-frame technique will help to
minimize or even eliminate knee-jerk negativity in your personal and professional
relationships. (See below for additional information on knee-jerk negativity.)

Using this technique could also help you to form new powerful and positive
relationships. One of the areas of our lives where we experience a significant amount
of pressure and stress is the area of personal relationships. To the extent that you can
help keep the relationship positive and healthy, you will benefit both yourself and the
other person. Such a relationship is mutually enhancing, enables both individuals to
move toward actualizing their innate potential, and increases personal power. (For
more information on positive and healthy relationships, see my article "Plus and
Minus Relationships," in Terra Libra News #10.)

• Help eliminate the victim mentality. Using the freeze-frame technique enables you
to feel more in control of your life rather than feeling a victim of circumstance or fate.
This is especially true when it comes to our emotions. Many of us tend to behave as if
circumstance and other external factors directly cause our emotional responses.
Someone forgets to unlock the door and we feel we can’t help but become angry. But
this is clearly not the case. By practicing the technique of freeze-framing and
increasing your emotional control, you will quickly begin to see just how much choice
and control you have in your own life.

• Help you to take back control of your life. This is closely related to what I just said
about eliminating the victim mentality. Not only does freeze-framing enable you to
gain more control over your emotions, but it gives you more control over your life in
general by helping you to think more clearly and reducing your automatic reactions.
When you step back from your own emotions, a kind of mental black cloud lifts and
you can readily see all of the options available to you, including perhaps, a much
more effective way of responding to any given situation.
• Maintain emotional and inner poise. We are all aware of the ebb and tide of our
emotions from day to day and even moment to moment. Your mechanic tells you your
engine needs to be overhauled and suddenly the world caves in; you’ve got another
major problem on your hands. Half an hour later, an old friend who you haven’t seen
for years drops by your office to say hello and the two of you laugh over old times;
suddenly the world is not such a bad place after all. But 20 minutes after your friend
leaves, you hear the latest crisis on the news and your pleasant mood evaporates into a
bitter cynicism... According to Childre, "Freeze-frame is an opportunity to make on-
the-spot attitude adjustments so life doesn’t entrap you in an emotional roller coaster."

• Gain more strength, flexibility and common sense in dealing with whatever you
encounter in your life. The ability to maintain emotional poise increases your general
level of personal power. It also enables you to become a more effective decision-
maker, which enhances your probability of success.

• Eliminate knee-jerk negativity. Many of us who have not yet taken the time to
become aware of and even resist our automatic reactions may find ourselves indulging
in knee-jerk negativity. For example, your wife comes home from work in a crabby
mood and complains that you didn’t fix supper. You immediately and without prior
thought, lash back out at her telling her that you are tired of always being the one who
has to be responsible for dinner. And then she fires back and the conflict begins to
escalate rapidly. Before long, you don’t even know what you are really fighting about.
All that is happening is a process of knee-jerk negativity where one person slanders
the other and is slandered in return, and on and on. Freeze-framing enables you to
side-step this entire process. You can look on and respond to someone else’s
negativity with a calm detachment. (For those who are familiar with report #TL05B:
Freedom Steps, it is interesting to note that freedom step #16 is "confront compulsive
knee-jerk negativity without reacting in like fashion." For more information on the
effects of compulsive knee-jerk negativity on personal freedom and power, consult the
freedom steps report.)

• Enhance your decision-making abilities. An important factor in good decision-


making is being aware of the options available to you in any given situation. When we
get pulled into a storm of negative emotions, we loose our ability to think clearly and
therefore do not readily see the array of options at our disposal. Furthermore, when
our emotions take over, we are no longer calling the shots. In such a position, our
options drop down to zero.

In addition, the freeze-frame technique can assist you in making your decisions more
consciously. This technique gives you the "conscious ability to self-manage your
reactions."

• Greatly improve your ability to communicate with others. Since so many of our
responses are purely mechanical and robotic, especially those involving a strong
emotional charge, we can vastly improve our ability to communicate with other
people by using the freeze-frame technique and taking a time-out. When you
approach someone in a strong, negative emotional state of mind, their automatic
response is likely to be some sort of defensive stance. By taking a time-out and
pulling back from your emotions, you can find a much better response to the situation.
• Begin handling situations more efficiently and effectively. To the extent that you can
remain calm and clear-headed under pressure or stress, you will find yourself
handling all types of situations much more efficiently and effectively. Whenever there
is some sort of emergency situation such as a collapsed building or a tornado strike,
there are always a few individuals involved who remain calm and confident while
everyone else panics. (In fact, those who panic are downshifting; see the above
section on brain physiology.) When we prevent our emotions from taking over even in
emergency situations, we increase our power and efficiency, and consequently, our
chances of survival.

• Physical benefits of freeze-framing. The freeze-frame tool can go a long way


towards improving your physical health and preventing any further damage from
emotional stress. With this tool you can: improve the health of your heart, improve
your immune system, and even help slow the aging process. Consult chapter 4, "The
Scientific Basis of the Freeze-Frame Technology," in Freeze-Frame for a detailed
discussion of how this tool can enhance your physical well-being.

EMOTIONAL CONTAGION
An important aspect of emotional control is the ability to handle emotional contagion.
We can become "infected" by the emotions and moods of others. You can catch both
negative and positive emotions alike, such as euphoria, elation, sadness, depression,
anger, grief, etc. We’ve all had the experience of feeling rather solemn and serious and
then encountering someone who is in a cheerful and bubbly mood. Usually, that other
person’s mood rubs off onto us; we soon find ourselves feeling elated.

The following information is relevant to the topic of emotional contagion.

• Emotional contagion happens quickly; you can almost instantly catch someone
else’s mood.
• You are especially likely to catch the moods of the people who are closest to
you; for example, spouses, parents, children and close friends.
• A recent study found that depression was highly contagious among college
roommates.
• People who are considered extroverts and who are more emotional expressive
tend to transmit their feelings more powerfully.
• Introverts and highly sensitive individuals tend to be more susceptible to the
moods of others.
• Women may be inclined to catch someone else’s mood because they are better
able to read other people’s emotional states and body language.

So emotional control is not only a matter of managing your own emotions, but also
dealing with other people’s contagious moods. Now, of course, if you find yourself
being swept up in someone’s excitement and euphoria, by all means allow yourself to
catch that infectious mood. Negative emotions, however, are a different matter. And
you can learn how to inoculate yourself from other people’s negativity while keeping
yourself open to catching their positive moods.

Here are some steps for protecting yourself from the negative emotions of others:
• Begin paying attention to how you feel around different people. Do you feel
sad around some people and happy around others?
• Become aware of and label your emotional responses. For example, "I felt
elated while having dinner with my wife." Or, "I feel sad and pessimistic
whenever I’m around my landlord."
• Examine your emotional responses. Ask yourself whether the feeling is your
own or did you catch it from someone else. By observing how you feel before
and after interacting with various people, you will begin to see how other
people’s emotions spread to you.
• Simply recognizing that an emotion actually belongs to (originated with)
someone else may be enough to prevent the mood from spreading to you.
• Basically, protecting yourself from emotional contagion is a matter of
monitoring your own floodgates and not allowing yourself to become
contaminated with other people’s negativity.

The Mood Infection Quiz


To find out how easily someone else’s mood can infect you, take the following quiz
designed by Dr. William Doherty at the University of Hawaii. Read each statement
and rate yourself as follows: 1. Never; 2. Rarely; 3. Sometimes; 4. Often; or 5.
Always.

"1. I’m good at sensing other’s moods.

2. If someone I’m talking with cries, my eyes well up too.

3. Spending time with an upbeat friend lifts up my mood.

4. I feel sad when people talk about the death of a loved one.

5. Seeing a mother and child hugging makes me feel tender.

6. I’m irritated around angry people.

7. When someone smiles warmly at me, I smile back and feel happy.

8. I get uptight when I’m around people who are stressed out.

9. I notice how people say things in addition to what they say.

10. If I overhear a quarrel, my body is likely to tense up.

11. When someone I love touches me, my body tingles with excitement.

12. When someone paces, it makes me nervous.

To find your Mood Infection Index, add up your answers to the quiz:

If you scored 12-27: You have mood immunity. Maybe you are in touch with your
own moods, but you can only guess what other people are feeling.
28-41: You’ve achieved emotional equilibrium. You’re able to understand and
experience other people’s feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them. If you
try, you can pick and choose your susceptibility — letting yourself absorb their joy,
for example, while shielding yourself from their fear, anger or sadness.

42-60: You’re on an emotional roller coaster. Because you’re easily swept away by
the joys and sorrows of other people, you be in may need of emotional rescue
yourself."

[This section was based on material from an article in the May 5, 1996 edition of the
Arizona Republic.]

Emotional Contagion at Large


Cultural influences are another aspect of emotional contagion, only on a larger scale.
The phrases "what’s in vogue" and "the latest rage" are indicators of contagion
occurring within society. The fashion and music industry bank on this phenomenon
working its magic over the minds and emotions of the public. It’s possibly more
important to be aware of larger scale influences because they can operate on your
consciousness more subtlety. The dangers of unchecked cultural influences becomes
morbidity apparent in light of World War II and Hitler’s mastery at engaging the
minds and emotions of the German people.

Each generation of youth in any given society seem to have a collective movement
that defines the ideology of that specific group. Separate cultures of people frequently
operate in this collective fashion. The important thing, if you wish to operate as a self
directed individual in control of your own thought processes and emotions, is to
identify specifically what an ideology entails before you adhere to it and follow the
trend. Does the "mood of the day" apply to you, or are your values incongruent to it.
Recognizing and becoming aware of emotional contagion is critical if you wish to
gain emotional control in your own life and be determinate in the direction it follows.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
In Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman argues that the conventional view of
human intelligence is far too narrow in that it does not take into account an aspect of
our lives which plays an important role in the success or failure of just about
everything we do.

Goleman describes the five major components of emotional intelligence:

"1. Knowing one’s emotions. Self-awareness — recognizing a feeling as it happens


— is the keystone of emotional intelligence. ...[T]he ability to monitor feelings from
moment to moment is crucial to psychological insight and self-understanding. An
inability to notice our true feelings leaves us at their mercy. People with greater
certainty about their feelings are better pilots of their lives, having a surer sense of
how they really feel about personal decisions from whom to marry to what job to take.

2. Managing emotions. Handling feelings so they are appropriate is an ability that


builds on self-awareness. ...People who are poor in [the ability to soothe oneself, to
shake off rampant anxiety, gloom , or irritability] are constantly battling feelings
of distress, while those who excel in it can bounce back far more quickly from
life’s setbacks and upsets.

3. Motivating oneself. [M]arshalling emotions in the service of a goal is essential for


paying attention, for self-motivation and mastery, and for creativity. Emotional self-
control — delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness — underlies
accomplishment of every sort. And being able to get into the "flow" state enables
outstanding performance of all kinds. People who have this skill tend to be more
highly productive and effective in whatever they undertake.

4. Recognizing emotions in others. Empathy, another ability that builds on emotional


self-awareness, is the fundamental "people skill." People who are empathic are more
attuned to the subtle social signals that indicate what others need or want. This makes
them better at callings such as the caring professions, teaching, sales, and
management.

5. Handling relationships. The art of relationships is, in large part, a skill in managing
emotions in others. ...These are the abilities that undergird popularity, leadership, and
interpersonal effectiveness. People who excel in these skills do well at anything that
relies on interacting smoothly with others; they are social stars." [my emphasis]

I highly recommend studying Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence (see the bibliography


for publisher information) and applying its insights to increase your emotional IQ.

LEARNED OPTIMISM
Pessimism is essentially a bad habit or bad programming that was developed from
being exposed to poor examples from parents, teachers or others who provided major
influences during the formative years of our lives. Many of the negative command
phrases that create the ill effects on our lives today were exactly the ones we heard
verbalized by the influential people in our past. Thinking patterns were developed and
reinforced by repetitious example. By the time we reach adulthood these patterns have
become deeply entrenched and woven into the fiber of our personalities, values and
concepts. Rather than seeing the true nature of an uncomfortable situation, these
patterns superimpose themselves onto our perception of reality, like Pavlovian
conditioning and we may react as though we are powerless to change the outcome.
This programming is used very successfully in training animals that can easily
overpower their master, but it is disastrous as a problem solving mechanism for
individuals in the throws of daily existence. The manner in which you explain (self
talk) how and why any unpleasant situation came about determines whether you are
operating from the vantage point of helplessness or power and optimism.

In light of this knowledge it is then apparent that what is necessary for us to do is to


unlearn the poor programming and reinstall more positive and productive patterns.
Essentially, you must learn optimism. This begins with identifying your automatic
thoughts, becoming aware of how they influence your moods and behaviors. Once
identified they can be uprooted and replaced with the programming of your own
choice. This gives you the freedom to propel your life in the direction that you choose
rather than the direction chosen by unfortunate circumstances and influences of the
past.
For a more in-depth study of this subject you may refer to a powerful book written by
Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., entitled appropriately, Learned Optimism. You can find
details about the publisher at the end of this report.

THOUGHT FIELD THERAPY


Dr. Roger Callahan has pioneered a remarkable form of psychotherapy called
"Thought Field Therapy™." Originally Dr. Callahan had developed thought field
therapy to help his clients eliminate their fears and phobias. To his astonishment, he
found he could rid a patient’s phobia in a matter of minutes, rather than years, as is
usually required by traditional methods.

Now, Dr. Callahan is finding out that his methods work on an array of psychological
problems, including: panic, phobias, drug addictions, depression, irrational guilt,
public speaking fears, rape trauma, obsessions, self-sabotage, post traumatic stress,
anxiety, food addiction, alcoholism, chronic anger, child abuse victims, sex problems,
rejection, smoking, general stress, love pain and physical pain.

The Callahan techniques could be the most rapid and effective methods for handling
psychological problems ever devised. The reason these techniques produce such quick
and effective results is that they address the deepest, most fundamental underlying
cause of all negative emotions: blockages in the body’s energy system. Dr. Callahan
refers to these blockages as "perturbations," and says:

"Perturbations in the thought field contain the active information which...triggers and
forms the sequence of activities — neurological, chemical, hormonal and cognitive —
which result in the experience of a negative emotion such as fear, depression, anger,
etc. In TFT’s [Thought Field Therapy] unique diagnostic procedure the perturbations
are revealed and quickly subsumed."

What Dr. Callahan is saying is that the cause of negative emotions is even "deeper"
than the physiological and cognitive components. By going straight to this underlying
cause, thought field therapy can swiftly and effectively eliminate the psychological
problems involving negative emotions.

The implications of thought field therapy are profound. Our lives can be extremely
limited to the extent that we suffer from any of the psychological problems listed
above. And this reflects one of the chief problems of human beings in general: we still
have not acquired the knack of eliminating to any significant degree, the negativity in
our lives. We still manage to get ourselves tangled up in problems and negativities
which have the potential to more or less destroy our lives. And the realistic, yet sad,
fact is that most of it is completely unnecessary. Humans have got to reach a point in
their development where such things as depression, anxiety, addictions, obsessions,
etc., are laughable absurdities.

A WORD ABOUT IDENICS


If you are serious about furthering your emotional maturity and development, I
recommend looking into something called "Idenics." Idenics is basically a
methodology by which you rid yourself of unwanted mental or emotional conditions.
Because of the unique approach of Idenics, you may experience much more rapid and
powerful (and permanent) changes than traditional approaches such as ordinary
psychotherapy. In fact, Idenics is so different from most other methodologies that it is
probably unfair to compare it to them.

The basic working idea behind Idenics is that we tend to get stuck in various
unwanted mental or emotional conditions; we automatically slip into certain
perspectives and response patterns which at one time may have been quite useful, but
now cause us trouble, limit us or hold us back. The problem is not so much the
perspective itself as the fact that we seem to be stuck in it and unable to see beyond it.

Recently, about half of the Terra Libra staff underwent sessions of Idenics. One staff
member had this to say about his experience with Idenics:

"Idenics allows you to shift your perspectives — and hence your attitudes — towards
the impact of the metaphors by which you structure your perceptions. This creates a
change in the way these basic paradigms lock, limit, or tint one’s experience of reality.
Distortions due to viewpoints are unmasked, and productive movement and growth of
the psyche is thereby encouraged.

"For me, the Idenics processing was a way of confronting issues related to my
identity, and it offered a set of alternative viewpoints with respect to coping with
deeper ‘unwanted conditions.’ Through accessing what were for me previously
unknown aspects of my understanding of events, I was able to forge an expanding set
of relations with ‘troublesome’ or ‘worrisome’ life issues. Idenics provides a
functional methodology for value enhancement and clarification."

For more information on Idenics call Mike Goldstein at 1-800-IDENICS or visit the
Idenics website. Mike Goldstein spoke about Idenics at the Terra Libra Houston
Practical Freedom Seminar (June 1995).

EMOTIONAL MATURITY AND HUMAN POTENTIAL


In a book called The Fifth Discipline (by Peter M. Senge), I’ve come across a passage
containing a highly important idea, the significance of which has probably been
largely overlooked. Senge quotes an article called "Advanced Maturity," by B.
O’Brien:

"Whatever the reasons, we do not pursue emotional development with the same
intensity with which we pursue physical and intellectual development. This is all the
more unfortunate because full emotional development offers the greatest degree of
leverage in attaining our full potential" [my emphasis].

It is the idea of emotional development as providing the greatest leverage in


actualizing our full potential which strikes me as being of great significance. For,
most all adult humans are quite immature when it comes to their emotions. It’s as if,
emotionally speaking, they stopped growing at about the age of ten or eleven. And
some of us have not even reached that far. I say this in all seriousness. The vast
majority of us are grossly immature when it comes to our emotions.

And if that is indeed the case, then how can we expect to attain our full potential to
any significant degree? At most we could expect a lop-sided development: for
example, we may have acquired advanced thinking skills yet remain an emotional
child.

It is clear that part of the task of the Personal Power Institute needs to be to teach
people how to continue developing their emotional maturity.

STEPS TO EMOTIONAL CONTROL


The following is an outline of a plan for implementing the information contained in
this report. The order in which you take these steps is not important. If you tackle the
items on this list with sincerity and seriousness, you will be well on your way to
achieving emotional control.

• Continue to study this report. Make notes and add anything it might be
missing. (If you see that it is missing something, please inform me!)
• Acquire and study the following books: Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional
Disorders, Freeze-Frame, Multimind, and The Path of Least Resistance. I
consider these required reading. The other books listed in the bibliography
section of this report are optional.
• Consider keeping a daily journal tracking your emotional states. You could
also include the following: automatic thoughts, command phrases and mood
contagion. Journaling is also a good tool for flushing out emotional garbage;
when you write about your negative feelings and moods, you externalize them.
• Begin implementing the ideas in this report and the books listed above.
• Begin ridding yourself of your command phrases — the destructive
unconscious programs installed in your brain during moments of emotional
upset. Read the books by Wetherill listed in the bibliography.
• Begin monitoring your automatic thoughts.
• Observe the identification process in yourself, especially when you identify
with your negative emotions.
• Start monitoring yourself for mood contagion.
• Begin practicing the freeze-frame technique.
• Continue to strengthen and expand your self-control and personal freedom.

FREEDOM AND EMOTIONAL CONTROL


At this point, it is worth asking what emotional control has to do with personal
freedom.

I would start off by saying that Rose Wilder Lane was right when she defined freedom
as self-control. Freedom is essentially a matter of achieving more and more control
over one’s own self.

When I allow my emotions to swing in automatically, I relinquish some of my control.


When I give way to my anger or sadness, I am no longer running the show. Instead,
my emotions are now calling the shots. Furthermore, I tend to loose my ability to
think clearly when my consciousness is flooded with emotions. And I find that I am
most in control when my head is clear and devoid of negative emotions.

There is another important connection between emotional control and freedom that
has to do with human potential and self-actualization. Since I feel this is such an
important insight, I will attempt to express it as clearly as possible. At least since
William James, we have been aware that humans typically use only a tiny fraction of
their potential. The trouble is that we waste so much of our time getting bogged down
by our own emotions. We encounter various problems and difficulties and find
ourselves shrinking away from life like a pill bug which curls up into a tiny ball when
threatened with danger. Somewhere, the writer Colin Wilson has written:

"We habitually exaggerate the importance of present difficulties. We seldom feel


relaxed and healthy enough to take a clear, objective view of our own lives. The
consequence is that we are always working below our maximum level of efficiency.
And only fairly unusual people possess the power to call the bluff of their emotions
and restore a state of objectivity."

This, it seems to me, cuts right to the heart of the matter. Most us have experienced
moments when we felt relaxed and healthy and were able to step back and see our
own lives from a bird’s-eye view. It is the same feeling we get when we climb to the
top of a mountain and take in the vast panorama below. But so much of our time is
spent getting caught up in a subjective world of negative emotions that we lose this
more objective, bird’s-eye view. The consequence, as Colin Wilson points out, is that
we are always working below our maximum level of efficiency.

By taking control of our emotions and minimizing the degree to which we indulge in
negative emotions (and all negative emotions are basically a form of self-indulgence),
we not only increase our personal freedom, but we also become vastly more effective
and efficient human beings.

APENDIX A
[The following story was recently posted to an e-mail discussion list. It illustrates the
importance of attitude to emotional control.]

Attitude Is Everything
By Francie Baltazar-Schwartz

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always
had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he
would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him
around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was
because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad
day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the
situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him,
"I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" Jerry
replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices
today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I
choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a
victim or I can choose to learn from it.
I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose
to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the
positive side of life."

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk,
every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how
people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The
bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my
own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about
life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a
restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at
gunpoint by three armed robbers.

While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the
combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively
quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the
hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw Jerry about six months
after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied "If I were any better, I'd
be twins. Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the
robbery took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have
locked the back door," Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I
had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be
fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions
on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, 'He's a
dead man.' I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if
I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied.

The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply... I took a deep
breath and yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live.
Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I
learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is
everything.

You have 2 choices now:

1. save or delete this mail from your mail box.


2. forward it to your dear ones and choose to pass this on

I hope you will choose choice 2.