Happy 2022 to you and yours. And, if it feels right to you, help me reach more people in 2022.

This is my 200th blog post!

Thank you for supporting this blog by reading my posts and benefitting from the information.

In three days, you will enter a new year– 2022.

My hope for you is that you will have new opportunities to grow, return to a more “normal” life, enjoy gatherings with friends and family, and watch Covid become just like the flu.

As readers of this Blog, I hope that you continue to become more adept at improving your life and your relationships by mastering your emotions as tools.

And, as readers of this blog, I am requesting that you help me help others.

  • I do not monetize my blog in any way.
  • It is informational only.
  • In 2022, I would greatly appreciate if you would send a link to my blog to anyone who you believe would benefit from the information I provide.

Thanks, all the best, and Happy 2022.

Ed Daube, Ph.D.

The Emotions Doctor

Happy Holidays in 2021.

Last year, your Holiday Season may have been negatively impacted by Covid.

This year with vaccines, the Covid landscape has changed.

We’ve all seen on the news, or experienced, families anticipating upcoming visits with relatives or being surprised by unexpected visits by parents in the service or missed relatives.

With this in mind, I am repeating my post from last year with some updates because I believe it is as relevant , or more relevant, in 2021 than it was in 2020.

I hope it helps and whatever Holiday you celebrate this year (Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanza), I hope it brings you and yours happiness and joy.

All the best,

Ed

Some basic concepts:

The emotion of Anticipation

Anticipation is the flip side of the emotion of anxiety.

Anxiety is a future based emotion the message of which is that there may be a threat in the future that may “kill” me.  When we get anxious, we often act as if the possible threat is an actual threat and react by being unable to take any effective action.  This is anxiety as distress.  Anxiety as eustress takes the energy of the emotion and uses it to prepare for the possibility that the threat may occur.

The emotion of anticipation is also a future based emotion.  For anticipation, however, the message is that there is a possible event in the future that I want to experience.

Anticipation both sets up an expectation regarding and prepares you for something good.

The emotion of surprise.

Surprise, as an emotion, grabs your attention and focuses it on an event. The message of Surprise is that an unexpected event has occurred and you need to assess it to see if it is beneficial or detrimental.

The issue of perceptual sets: What you “see” is what you get but is not always what exits.

Did it ever occur to you that you might not see your surroundings as they actually are?

Huh, you say, what does that mean?

Well, the psychological fact is that, while you may see something, like a fast food restaurant, you may not notice it because it has little value to you unless you are hungry.

The concept of perceptual set says that your emotions and your expectations will impact how you interpret what you see.  In other words, you will “see” what you expect to see.

We see what we look for…..

A rather interesting experience was conducted several years ago in which groups of subjects were asked to watch a video of two teams playing basketball. One group was asked to count the number of times the red team dribbled the ball and the other group was asked to do the same thing with the blue team.

Each group did as they were instructed to do.

However, in the middle of the video, an actor dressed as a gorilla was shown dancing on the screen.

Each group was asked if they noticed the gorilla and a significant number of subjects indicated that no gorilla appeared on screen.

The subjects were so focussed on counting, they failed to notice the gorilla.

In previous posts, I’ve written about driving down a  street and not really seeing any of the fast food restaurants and driving down the same street when hungry and “seeing” all of the restaurants.

How does all this fit together and what does it have to do with the Holiday Season?.

Typically, the Holiday Season is upbeat and a time when we engage with others in a feel good way.  Yes, I know that there is downside to the Holidays as well including the stress we may experience having too much to do and too little time to do it, thinking about past Holidays and so forth.

Surprise

But, this Holiday Season, try setting yourself up to look for, and find, things that surprise you. This is strategically deploying the emotion of surprise so that it works for you.

You want to be surprised!

When surprised, you will be motivated to engage with the object/issue of your surprise.

You will see things about others and yourself you haven’t noticed before.

Here is what you are going for…

A gift to others...

The “gift” you give others will involve seeing them in a new light and, perhaps, improving your relationship with them.

Look for something new in a friend that you can compliment them about or something interesting that you haven’t really paid attention to before that you can engage with them about.

Look for something new in your kids or your spouse that is surprising to you because you haven’t really paid attention to it before.

A “gift” to yourself...

Look for something new about yourself that’s either always been there or that is something you’d like to do, build upon, or engage in as in “Wow, I never realized that about me!”

Anticipation

I don’t know about you but I suspect that you, like me, remember Christmas morning waking up experiencing the emotion of Anticipation of what might be under the tree when I went downstairs. I was all excited.  I didn’t know what I would find but I was anticipating that it would be good.

This is the emotion I want you to experience but I want you to expect that you will be pleasantly surprised by what you observe in and  learn about those who are close to you and yourself.

Again, I want to wish you and yours..

A Very Merry Christmas.

A Happy Chanukah

A Memorable Kwanza

 

Mastering and Strategically Deploying the Emotion of Frustration

Note: You can learn about all the emotions you experience by hitting the Index button above and clicking on any post that addresses your issues.

As I am writing this, we are entering the 2021 Holiday season.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and experienced a lot of gratitude.

The material for this post came to me as I was watching the news.

While certainly happy about getting together with families, people are facing  crowded stores, supply-chain  issues, differences in approaches to vaccinations, and other issues.

Taken together, I wondered what emotions people might be experiencing this holiday season.

Here is what I came up with.

Let’s explore a possible scenario…

You are trying working on a project or pursuing a specific goal and your progress slows down or stops.  

Your “project” could involve:

  • Trying to buy Holiday gifts
  • Trying to book seats on a plane to visit relatives
  • Trying to organize an “event” such as a wedding and keep everybody safe while balancing different viewpoints toward vacinations (a real example, by the way)

You are facing an…

OBSTACLE.

What emotions do you think (or know) you might be experiencing?

While frustration is an obvious emotion in the above scenario, and I will address this emotion in detail below, you could experience several different emotions depending on your interpretation of the obstacle and its impact on you  including:

  • anger (if you perceived the obstacle as a threat of some kind),
  • sadness (if you perceived the obstacle as signaling a need to end the project),
  • anxiety (if you perceived a possible future loss because of the obstacle),
  • guilt (if you perceive yourself as having done something wrong)
  • amusement (You just knew this would happen!)

In the Emotions as Tools Model, each emotion informs you about how you are perceiving what is happening in your situation.

This is the message of the emotion.

The emotional mastery cycle (EMC) enables you to both understand the emotion and choose how you want to strategically deploy that emotion to your benefit.

Some basic definitions:

  • Strategically Deploying an emotion

Strategically Deploying an emotion involves adaptively applying the energy of the emotion to the situation in which you find yourself so that what you do (your behavior)  improves, resolves, responds to, or, at the very least, does not exacerbate, that situation.

  • Emotional Mastery Cycle (EMC)

The EMC describes the process by which we experience, recognize, label, analyze and utilize our emotions as tools to improve our lives and our relationships.  You can download a PDF of the Anger Mastery Cycle  by clicking on the link provided.

The EMC can be summarized in 5 steps:

  1. Experience the emotion (physical and automatic)
  2. Take a deep breath and “step back” from the situation (create “safety”)
  3. Acknowledge the emotion and its message (cognitive)
  4. Question the validity of the emotion  (begin mastery)
  5. Choose and initiate a response (strategically deploy the emotion)

Frustration

The message of frustration is that your project has stopped and you are annoyed because an obstacle is impeding your progress on your project.

While many articles recommend a passive approach to frustration including distraction, relaxation, exercising, or doing yoga, the Emotions as Tools approach advocates actively validating the emotion and dealing with it strategically. The passive approach, while not always inappropriate, won’t work here because it ignores the feeling and moves away from the goal.

Once you have experienced and acknowledged your frustration, you are now in a position to use the energy of your frustration as motivation to question (and master) the emotion.

Two important questions you need to ask (and answer):

  1. What is the nature of the obstacle?
  2. If there is an obstacle, what can I do to eliminate or overcome that obstacle?

Strategically Deploying Frustration:

Question #1 serves to validate whether an actual obstacle to your forward progress actually exists.

Two major possibilities exist here.

  • There is an actual obstacle and you have identified it.
  • There is no actual obstacle and you have in some way misinterpreted what is going on.

The answer to question #2 is the basis for a plan of action which emanates from your frustration.  Your plan of action determines what you do with (or how you deploy) your frustration.

(Note: This is the essence of emotional mastery.)

Turn your Frustration into Determination

When you decide that you can (and will) overcome the obstacle,  the obstacle becomes a challenge and your frustration morphs into determination.

The debilitating emotion of frustration becomes the enabling emotion of determination and you begin to move forward.

You master the emotion when you….

  • recognize and validate it,
  • understand the information it provides about how you are perceiving your situation
  • choose how you want to respond to, adaptively deal with, and strategically apply the energy of the emotion to effectively change the situation which elicited your frustration in the first place.

Happy Holidays.

 

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENT: Updated Website Gives You Easier Access to ALL of My Informative Posts

As I am writing this, there are over 150 posts dealing with emotions on my blog.

But,to be honest, it hasn’t been easy to access all of this information.

So, I decided to do something about that.

In this post, I am announcing that I have updated my website to make it easier for you to directly access the specific information about emotions that you want.

How you choose to access my site is now completely up to you.

I have made two main changes.

I. CURRENT POSTS

The first is the inclusion of a Blog tab which takes you to the CURRENT posts.

II. ALL PAST POSTS

The second is the inclusion of the Index to All Posts tab.  This is for PAST posts and gives you a drop-down menu which lists the five topic categories into which my posts can be divided.

The categories are:

  • Anger,
  • Mastering Emotions as Tools,
  • Other Emotions,
  • Relationships and Emotions,
  • Words and Emotions and
  • Uncategorized. (These are posts that do not address a topic specifically related to any content category.  This post is an example.)

When you click on the category you want, you gain access to any post in that category. You may have  to scroll down a bit as there are lots of posts in each category. Clicking on the title you want takes you directly to the post.

Enjoy.

Oh, and I should add that I have included a Contact Me tab if you have a question or want to suggest a topic you would like me to cover.

Please note:

  • I do not collect, sell, or monetize email addresses.
  • You will never receive an “offer” from me in your email.

In two weeks, I will begin a 4-part series of posts entitled:

Understanding Others and Ourselves to Build (or improve) our relationships. 

All the best,

Ed

Ed Daube, Ph.D., The Emotions Doctor

Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanza.

As I am publishing this post, many are you are almost to the end of celebrating Chanukah.  I hope yours was a joyous celebration.

Christmas is next week.

I would like to wish you and yours a safe, happy, and very Merry Christmas.

And Kwanza is also next week.

Google says the appropriate greeting for Kwanza is Habari Gani.

If this is wrong, I apologize.

Whichever Holiday you celebrate, we live in stressful times so make your Holiday a joyous one.

And, while you still need to be cautious about covid, you can still celebrate and enjoy the moment.

Happy 2020

Today is New Year’s Day.

Happy New Year!

My hope for you is that 2020 will be a productive year of learning, growing and succeeding (whatever those words mean to you).

As we enter a new year, let me thank you again for being a loyal member of this site.  If there is a topic related to mastering emotions as tools, mastering relationships, or any other topic you would like addressed, let me know in a comment or in an email (TheEmotionsDoctor (at) gmail.com)

If I can address the topic in a useful way, I will attempt to do so.

Regular posts will resume every two weeks beginning on January 15.

 

To My Members: A New Milestone! There are over 1000 of you. How can I help you going forward?

Today, we reached a new milestone at TheEmotionsDoctor.com!

We exceeded 1000 registered members of this blog.

This is a milestone I never in my dreams believed I would achieve!

Thank you.

While the official WordPress label for all of you when you register is “user”, I prefer to think of all of you as members and my blog as a “membership site”.

Let me explain.

I do not monetize, or charge for, access to The Emotions Doctor blog because I believe that the information I provide should be available to anyone who wants to  use it and grow with it. And, no one likes Ads!

My books, of course, are available on Amazon.

That being said, I write for you, my readers.

And, I would like to provide content that you can use.

So, that being said…….

  • You took the time to register for my blog
  • I assume that you have found the material I write useful
  • Now,  please help me help you by letting me know what you would like me to write about.
  • And, let me know what, if anything, I can do to make this site more useful for you.
    • Is the index tab helpful?
    • Are the posts too long, not long enough?
    • Are the topics covered sufficiently informative for you?

As a registered “member”, you are the only one who can leave a comment on my blog.

And, this is one way to contact me.

However, a better way is to send me an email with the word “member” in the subject line.

  • In the email, let me know what you would like me to address in a post.
  • The only caveat is that I do not do therapy through my blog. So while I will attempt to answer any question I can as specifically as I can, the answer will be educational and not therapeutic.  No need to worry, I’ve answered many questions on Quora.com and I am quite good at giving useful information.
  • My email address is TheEmotionsDoctor (at) gmail.com

Thanks, again, for helping me reach this milestone.

AND, I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU.

Ed Daube, Ph.D.   The Emotions Doctor.

 

A “personal” note to all my registered readers.. Thanks and help me improve this blog.

I put the word “personal” in quotes because I would like to think that I am writing to each one of you separately.  As I do not do mass email campaigns and I do not want to “spam” anyone, I do not use any of the addresses you post when you register.  Hence, this is the only way I have to reach you.

Thank you for registering for my site and showing your support.  My purpose in writing my posts is to educate and entertain you my readers.  I do my best to try and anticipate what you would like to read but I know I can always do better.

With this in mind, I really would like you to help me make this a better, more relevant blog.

Two points:

First:

If there is a subject you would like me to address in a post, please feel free to leave a comment on the blog.  I review all comments before they are posted.

Or, if you prefer, send me an email.  My address is TheEmotionsDoctor@gmail.com.  Put “blog comment” in the subject line.

Second:

Please let me know if the Index Tab that I have added to the site to help you to more easily get to the specific post you want is working for you.

Thanks, again, for your support, please keep coming back to the site, and let others know we’re here.

Ed Daube,  Ph.D.   The Emotions Doctor.

An Open Letter to my Registered Subscribers

Blog Registration:

I recently adjusted my blog so that only those who register can leave a comment. Many of you have chosen to register and I thank you for your support.

Your Email Address:

I want you to know what happens to the email address you provide when you register.

The short answer is nothing.

I do not like spam and I assume that you do not either. While I could be wrong, it is entirely possible that you gave your email address because it is required in order to register and be able to leave a comment and NOT because you wanted another source of email notifications in your inbox.

Based on this assumption, you will not be receiving emails from me.

Communicating with me:

I DO, HOWEVER, WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU ABOUT HOW I CAN MAKE THIS BLOG BETTER FOR YOU!

So, as a registered reader, please leave a comment on the blog or feel free to contact me via email. My email address is TheEmotionsDoctor (at) gmail.com. 

Note ==> Put “TED” in the subject line. 

I, personally, read all comments and TED related emails.

New Posts:

I post a new article every other Wednesday because I want to educate my readers about emotions and about relationships.

So, visit the site (at least) every other Wednesday for a new post and leave a comment if you choose. (Liked the article because…Didn’t like the article because… Want more information about…)

Finally-A Reminder about the “Index Tab” to help you access earlier posts:

Remember to click on the “Index Tab” in the upper right hand corner of the home page. I have upgraded the index to list posts by Topic, Title and Date to help you more easily access any article that interests you.

Again, thanks for your support and continued involvement with my blog.

Ed Daube, Ph.D. The Emotions Doctor.