Fostering Positive Emotional Energy

Negative emotions, such as sadness, anger and fear, are born of the situation. They are instinctive and innate. Negative emotions arise due to circumstance. They will not go away. If they won’t go away, how do we get to a happier, more content place? How do we foster positive emotions?

Since negative emotions cannot be eradicated, the best way to overcome them is to replace them with positive emotions. Positive emotions can be created by merely thinking positive thoughts. Positive thoughts result in positive emotions. Think about love, kindness and compassion. Think about them every moment of every day. When you do this, you leave no room for negative emotions. Of course, negative emotions will still creep in occasionally due to external situations. But you will be better prepared to rid yourself of them in the blink of an eye.

Fostering Positive Emotional Energy with Exercise

Emotional energy requires a solid foundation of physical energy. Without proper exercise, diet, nutrition and sleep, there is little chance of renewing emotional energy. Physical energy is the basis for emotional renewal and for the creation of positive emotions.

Fostering Positive Emotional Energy with Internal Sources

Emotional energy can be renewed from internal sources as well as external sources. Internally, positive emotional energy is created through laughter, empathy, and courage. They are also created by meditating on, or thinking, positive thoughts, particularly love and compassion.

Fostering Positive Emotional Energy with External Sources

Externally, it is renewed by spending time with positive and non-judgmental people. Positive emotions are nurtured by being in Nature, having a connection to the Earth and all its creatures. They are created and cultivated by having patience with others. Positive feelings are born of spending time with children and seeing the world through their eyes. They come from fulfilling work which incorporates and makes use of your strengths and your passion.

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote in one of his poems,
“It is better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”

In this poem, Tennyson tells us to live life without consideration of failure, as if failure does not exist. We must strive to live in love by conquering our fears, pushing past them, and continuing on in spite of them. Life is a game to be played fully and Tennyson was not one to watch from the sidelines.

In its simplest form, life is a chess game between fear and love. Choose love over fear every time. Love will never steer you wrong.

As I go through my day, I constantly fight fear. I am currently faced with the prospect of finishing up a book, tentatively entitled Meaning: The Will to a Purpose Life, while preparing to start a radio show on KDIA 1640 AM in less than 3 weeks. In addition, my wife and I are expecting our fourth child.

My approach to life used to be to attack every one of my fears. Now it has changed to a pursuit of love.

Check back in here daily. I will be sharing excerpts of the book I’m working on.

Here is some information on fear and the specific antidote, courage, from the book…

The Physiology of Fear
Fear follows a perception of immediate, concrete and overwhelming physical danger. It occurs when you believe that you are not in control, either physically or emotionally. When you are afraid, your blood gathers in the large skeletal muscles such as those in your arms and legs, preparing your body to flee. Blood leaves your face thereby making you appear paler and in some cases blotchy. Your body freezes for a moment to gauge your possible reactions such what is the quickest escape route.

Then, the brain sends in a bunch of hormones that put your body on alert which makes it edgy and ready for action, and your attention fixates on the threat at hand to allow you to better evaluate the threat and your response.

The physiological cues of fear include a quickening of breathing, a tightening of the throat, tightness in the chest, perspiration, difficulty breathing, quickened heart rate, a feeling of wanting to flee (or freeze), and reduced blood flow to the brain. Blood leaves your face thereby making it appear paler. Your body freezes for a moment to gauge your possible reactions such what is the quickest escape route. Then, the brain sends in a bunch of hormones that put your body on alert which makes it edgy and ready for action, and your attention fixates on the threat at hand to allow you to evaluate the threat and your response better.

You need to be aware of these cues in order to increase your awareness. The goal is to identify the emotion, honor it, breathe through it and eventually release it as quickly as possible.

Accompanying this is an overwhelming flood of anxious thoughts which are seemingly uncontrollable. This intense cycle of fear and worry often paralyzes the individual in a figurative sense. It also paralyzes the rational mind, making it unable to think clearly.

Fear and anxiety are closely linked. Fear is the momentary emotion while anxiety is the longer-term mood. If the fear is held onto (and not released), the brain moves towards long-term anxiety, forcing the brain to focus repeatedly on the perceived threat. The anxious mind begins an endless spiral of negative thoughts, feelings and chemical reactions. Fear-based worrying lies at the heart of all anxiety.

Courage as the Antidote to Fear

Courage is the antidote to fear. Courage is not the absence of fear but the exorcising of it. You need to feel the fear, breathe it out and push through it. It is the conquering of your fears that makes one brave. One cannot be brave without fear. This step involves taking concrete actions to help us achieve our dreams. By reframing the question as, What am I willing to try?, you can make change exciting, rather than paralyzing. Whenever you feel fearful, find out what it is that is making you feel that way. Then, go after the fear-inducing situation in small, manageable steps.

Authentic life

My wife noticed a difference in me sometime last year, telling me that I had become “easy to love.” Now, I have been a lot of things in the twenty years that my wife and I have been together, but “easy to love” was not among them. Even as a psychologist, I could not control my emotions as I desired. And since I was not in control of my emotions, they controlled me.

I used to be a moody, irritable guy. I expected perfection out of myself and those around me. I had little patience for mistakes. When I became sad, I would stay down for days or weeks at a time. Life scared me. My muscles were tense. Inside, I was quietly angry much of the time.

It was like my emotional gas tank was filled to the brim with irritation and exasperation. Outside of my family, no one would have ever guessed of my unhappiness. I tried everything to escape from my perfect façade of a life – drinking, counseling, overachieving, medication, meditation, education – and none of it worked. Among other things, these attempts did not work because none of them addressed my life as a whole. They were a shotgun approach to a complex problem – the problem of human existence.

Now, peace surrounds me. My patience has grown. There is joy in life’s nuances. The essential areas of life are in balance – physical, mental, relational, ethical and spiritual. The difference between the old “me” and the new “me” is that I am now, finally, comfortable and peaceful in my own skin. Stick with me and I’ll share with you bit by bit how I went from floundering to flourishing.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us. It is in everyone. As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others.”

The first step is to recognize your fears.