Emotions: Can We Control Them?

So I initially wanted to do a video about repetitive thoughts and how they get in the way of our progress, but it seems as though that’s going to have to wait. In the meantime though, I figured I’d talk more about the WATER Method. Typical, right?

So let’s talk Emotions! A lot of people I work with claim that they can’t control their Emotions. After all, that’s kind of why they come see me. However, if you think about it, consider how your Thoughts and Emotions are connected.  That’s actually kind of why I started talking about Thoughts to begin with, because if you can control your Thoughts, you can control your Emotions too. Sounds simple, right?

Let’s use a practical example, like, eh…road rage. Now maybe you aren’t the road raging type, but God knows I used to be. My ex-girlfriend and I believed that we could “teach people a lesson” when they cut us off in traffic. So, we would repay an eye for an eye, and cut them off too. Then I started to realize something.

I was allowing some total stranger, that I’d never see again, make me angry.

Over what? Their driving. Something I can’t control.

How did I fix my road rage? I just decided to think differently about it. If someone cut me off, I’d say out loud “Say hi to the cops for me!” and let him go. My perception was that his/her bad driving would catch up with him/her eventually, so I was reassured that they would learn the lesson on their own, without my intervention.

But isn’t there a normal emotional reaction to stuff? Sure there is, but what I am hoping to target with people is the patterns of thinking and feeling that get us into trouble. (like this one would have, if I didn’t straighten my act out).  Despite there being a normal reaction to events, those “normal” reactions are merely societal norms that we have conditioned ourselves to respond to. We can recondition ourselves to think differently about situations, and as a result, feel differently about them.

Let’s go nuts on this idea for a minute. Think about the last time you started a new job. What were your initial feelings about it? Excitement? Anxious feelings? Maybe you were uncomfortable, because you didn’t know anyone yet. Normal reactions, right? Then, you worked there  over time, and got used to it.  You felt more confident, you got to know people, so you didn’t feel uncomfortable anymore. Maybe you didn’t feel excited as you once did.  Without knowing it, you conditioned yourself to feel something different.

But don’t you just feel stuff? Yeah, but that’s mostly because we have linked those feelings to thoughts we have about the subject matter. Your thoughts about your new job affected your feelings about it. As your perception changed, so did your feelings. Makes sense right?

Now imagine if you did this on purpose? Think about what you could change about your attitude, your life and your interactions with others! If you can change your perception (another Tony Robbins concept) about a person, situation, event or idea, you can change how you feel about it.  You don’t have to be a victim of your emotions. You can choose to feel better, provided you choose to think better.

Think this is a load of crap? Let me know. Think this will work for you and you want to know more? Let me know. Comments welcome!

P.S. – On a side note, I searched the WATER Method in Google just for kicks and it brought up Colonoscopy Research, and John Irving books. Nice.