A Wide Ranging Interview Which Goes Beyond My Last Post

Happy Valentine’s Day if you are reading this when it originally drops.

This is a link to a podcast I recently did with David Webb.

In the interview, I covered a wide range of topics including my being labelled a “non-drinking alcoholic” while I was a Psychology Intern.

This label opened me up to my own process of denying my emotions and was a precursor to my becoming The Emotions Doctor.

Also, in the interview, I discuss the topic of suicide, provide a workable definition of “failure” and add some light to the difference between being “divorced” and being “single”.

If you have survived the dissolution of a marriage and you are still “troubled” by your past interactions with your spouse, you should find this last discussion enlightening.

https://dontpickthescabpodcast.com/episode/the-emotions-doctor-ed-daube-phd-dont-pick-the-scab-podcast-020-david-m-webb

Head’s Up (A Preview of What’s Coming)…

Over the next six weeks (one new post every two weeks), I will discuss three topics which could easily been included in this interview but were not discussed at any length.

Make a note on your calendar and come on back.

*Five Steps to Mastering Your Emotions as Strategic Tools. (2/28/24)

*Emotional Flexibility (3/13/24)

*How to Express Your Emotions (3/27/24)

 

Happy New Year and (Emotionally) Making the Most of 2024 (and beyond).

Happy 2024.

Note:  As I am writing this, I just completed an interview with Bruce Hurvitz covering many aspects of the Mastering Your Emotions as Tools Model.

Here is the YouTube link to the interview.  Enjoy.

 

My first post of 2024…

While my hope for you is that 2024 will be a productive, prosperous, and personally meaningful year for you, as I write this, the world is facing many situations including wars abroad which can both elicit significant emotional responses  and might significantly impact the direction this country takes culturally, politically, and historically.

We are also facing an upcoming election which, because we are so divided in this country has already generated a tremendous amount of both emotional energy and emotionally driven maladaptive (my word) behavior including “mass” shooting events, death threats to public figures and, most likely, many personal, emotionally driven, interactions between friends and family.

With this as a background, I want to revisit some basic concepts regarding emotions.  My intent is to inoculate you with information about emotions which you may know but which might not be readily available to you because you don’t use it on a regular basis.

The idea here is the same as getting a flu, covid, or RSV vaccine.  Hopefully, you will not be  exposed, but if you are, your body is ready.

While you may not encounter someone who is  emotionally committed to one or more of the events facing us today, it is quite possible that you may experience some strong emotions in 2024 and be “motivated” (This is what emotions do!) to act-out or say something you later regret.

Hence, I want to emotionally prepare you to deal with these emotions if (When?) they arise.

If you are a “frequent flyer” on this blog, please consider this a refresher course.  All re-posts have been reviewed and updated. Some posts are brand new.

If you are new to the blog, this will be a good introduction to and overview of the Emotions as Tools  Model.

In today’s post, I will revisit a post from 2018 which addresses the relationship between emotions and logic.  This is part 1 of that discussion. Part 2 wlll post next week.

Note: It is a bit scary that the words I wrote are as relevant today as they were in 2018 and we are still facing similar behaviors!

We live in a world in which events like school shootings, a lone gunman firing an  automatic weapon into a crowd of people attending an outdoor concert, or a policemen beating up a person of interest or shooting and killing an unarmed individual pleading for his own safety strain our ability to understand what leads these people to act in this manner and beg for a reasonable explanation.

As these behaviors do not appear to be logical, the explanations often include some reference to mental illness and attempt to blame the behavior on emotions gone awry.

In other words, so the thinking goes, these people must be crazy to do what they did and they must be under the control of their emotions.

If they were “in their right minds”, they would control themselves and act more appropriately. The implication is that we need both more treatment for mental illness, and more  logic (less emotion) in our country.

Yes, having logical, in control, people making good decisions is both helpful and desirable. And, yes, we do need more to make mental health treatment more available in this country.

But, is it possible that you can have logical, in control, people making what most people consider very bad decisions and engaging in equally egregious behavior based on those decisions?

The answer is, “yes”.

The issue here is neither about mental health treatment nor about emotions verses logic.

While I am in no way condoning the deplorable behavior listed above and it is possible that mental illness was a factor, I am questioning three primary assumptions that pop up every time some outrageous behavior appears in the news:

1. All human behavior is either logical or it is emotional.

If the behavior is logical, it is appropriate, controlled, and understandable.

If it is not logical, it must be emotional (erratic, driven, devoid of logic).

2. Any behavior that doesn’t seem logical to us must be the result of emotions gone awry.

If the behavior is illogical, it must be due to emotions which have hijacked the person and are causing the deplorable behavior.

3.  Out of control behaviors imply the presence of mental illness.

So, you are either behaviorally stable or mentally ill.

The implication is that we need more logic and less emotion.

If emotions led to insane, out of control people, we’d be crazy to want more emotions.

Indeed, nobody wants crazed automatons running around doing dumb destructive things. No argument there, we all want to avoid dumb destructive behavior.

But, bad decisions and the undesirable behavior that follows from these decisions do not necessarily prove the presence of mental illness.

And, the unfortunate spin-off from demonizing emotions in the case of egregious behavior is that all emotions (when experienced and misunderstood) begin to be seen as “bad”, “undesirable”, “intrusive”, etc.

Let’s dive a little deeper….

While there may be a modicum of truth in each, statements 1, 2, and 3 are for the most part limited, misguided, incorrect and misleading.

  • Statement #1 is a false dichotomy.
  • Statement #2 implies that one’s emotions have become both autonomous and cancerous.
  • Statement #3 implies that anything we do not understand must be attributed to an underlying disease process.

So, the critical question that needs to be addressed  is… if the issue is not the  egregious behavior , what is the issue that we need to discuss?

The answer is not the emotions, per se.

Rather, the critical issue we need to discuss is how we, as a culture, and you, as an individual, view emotions.  In other words, what do you think emotions are and how do believe they impact each of us?

If your picture of emotions is that they…

  • force an out of control road-rage crazed driver to shoot at another car, or
  • leave the out of control cop with no other alternative than to shoot or beat up a perpetrator, or
  • compel the out of control  spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend to beat up their significant other, or
  • cause the out of control  co-worker  to get angry with  and demean you, as a female, when you point out their inappropriate behavior in the office,

then, yes, less emotion is needed.

But, what if your picture is inaccurate?

“Out of control” implies that feelings….

  • have taken over,
  • are totally controlling,
  • are forcing and compelling a certain behavior while eliminating alternatives, and
  • are causing the individual to engage in the clearly unacceptable behavior they’ve displayed.

Take another look at these words…

  • taken over  
  • totally controlling  
  • forcing 
  •  compelling   
  •  causing

These words imply that the individual’s (male or female) emotions have transformed this person into a  robot.

In this picture, emotions and logic are mutually exclusive.

  • You are either an emotional time-bomb waiting to explode with no logical fail-safe mechanisms in place

or

  • You are an unemotional, logic-only Vulcan (think Spock in the TV series StarTrek) who has eliminated emotion from his life.

I am suggesting that emotions and logic are mutually reinforcing and when used together can lead to better decisions and more appropriate actions.

This is where we’ll begin in Part 2.

 

My Holiday Greeting.

As I am writing this, Chanukah has passed and Christmas and Kwanza are coming up.

This will be the last post of the year for me so I want to take this opportunity to wish you all the best of the Holiday Season.

I hope that it has been a good year for you and that perhaps something I have written has been beneficial to you as you continue the lifelong journey of mastering your emotions as strategic tools.

Happy New Year and I will see you in January.

This is a head’s up on an interesting podcast that drops tomorrow 5/16/23.

A podcast Create the Courage to be Fearless on which I was a guest will drop tomorrow on Apple Podcasts.

Here is the link

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/create-the-courage-to-be-fearless/id1607770972.

As a reader of this blog, you know that I don’t think we should be “fearless”.

Rather, we should learn to master fear and use it strategically.

We do talk about this during the episode.

 

Here is a brief video giving an insight into the podcast.

Just a reminder to revisit your list and write your action steps.

This post is a follow-up to my 11/9/2022 post in which I suggested that New Year’s resolutions didn’t work and that there was a more effective way to facilitate changing your life in 2023.

That being said, I am assuming that you are still serious about improving your life in the coming year.

So, let’s continue.

At the beginning of November, I suggested you think about 2-3 changes in some arena of your life that you believe would make your life better in 2023.

And, then, I suggested you write these changes down on paper.

If you haven’t made this list yet, no worries, take a moment sometime after you have read this post and make your list.

……….

Now that you have made your list, I am suggesting you take a few minutes during the next 10 days (12/7 to 12/17) to add 2-3 action steps that you can take that will move you forward in accomplishing the specific change you have indicated you will make in 2023.

These action steps should be doable by you.

Notice that I did not say that would insure that change.  If your action steps allow you to complete the change you’ve noted, great. Just moving you closer to that change is good  enough.  You can make some corrections later if you need to.

Hence, I said “move you forward” for three reasons.

  1. I am trying here to put you on a path that you can stay on.
  2. I know that making any progress will elicit the emotions of happiness, satisfaction, self-worth and others and
  3. The energy of these emotions will serve as a motivator to keep working on the change which is now more available to you.

This is using your emotions as strategic tools.

Once you have added 2-3 action steps to the 2-3 changes you will make in 2023, put the list away and jump into the Holiday season.

You will revisit this list in January when you can focus your attention on your action steps and move into 2023.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.

If you can squeeze it in between too much food and too much TV, take a moment to think about everything you have in your life that has made your life better and which, were “it” not in your life would negatively impact the quality of the life you have.

Whatever comes to  mind for you, take a quick moment and allow yourself to be grateful for all you have in your life that makes your life what it is.

Express the gratitude as in “I am grateful for X, Y and Z.

Once you’ve done this, feel free to resume overindulging.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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

 

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.