Monday, September 7, 2015

The emotional complexity of the mental world

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Negative emotions with their insidious, long-term presence adversely affect health, relationships, and careers, but they can play a role in long-term success. Although positive feelings are the most important generators of personal and professional success, in some cases, luxury and comfort can lead to laziness and mediocrity. Promising, overconfident young talents can morph into disillusioned, bitter personalities with insignificant lives. What is the explanation for the various aftereffects? 

In search of an answer, we must look at emotional regulation. Our inner thoughts stretch out into the past or the future, but we respond to a stimulus in a fraction of a second. This fast reaction rate does not leave time for careful analysis or analytic thinking; behavior is directed by our momentary mental state. For example, we know that positive emotions feel good and have potent health benefits. Yet, we cannot help feeling blue, aggravated, or teary-eyed when faced with tragedy. This is because feelings are not under conscious control and have unstoppable power in our lives. 

Although stress affects almost everybody from time to time, some people maintain focus on positive attachments or goals (positive attitude). How is this possible? Both immediate satisfaction (short-term joy) and aggravation exhaust opportunities by using up energies in the present. The energy for progress comes from  mental calm and equanimity, which increases future freedom. Emotions are energy states; therefore, they cannot be altered without interaction with the outside world! Like switching the car into reverse, the emotional charge can transform instantly; love can turn into hate or vice versa. Therefore, negative emotions can propel toward success is fueled by determination. Persistence makes such transformations toward long-term success possible. Therefore, personal challenges, even physical handicaps, can inspire exceptional personal and professional success.

How to navigate life's emotional complexity? The situation can be visualized with a boat. As side-to-side movements slow a ship, emotional storms derail progress. Because a fast-moving boat cannot rock side to side, goals are potent motivators for success. Scientific support for the above claim can be found in my book. Emotional stability provides confidence, the engine of mental progress. What kind of boat do you represent? Do you allow negative emotions to sidetrack your ambitions? Can you maintain your inner calm when things are tough?

My straightforward handbook, The Power of Joy, gives you the tools and advice you need to liberate yourself from your negativity and become the best version of yourself.

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Picture credit: Gamma wave recording by Hugo Gambo

You can order the book on Amazon.

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