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Emotions are Real and not Surreal

E-Motions = Energy in Motion. This article is a continuation of the previous one.

Emotions are energy that is manifested into the body in a particular dimension that cannot be seen or measured in any concrete way. There is so much scientific evidence in the past few decades that emotions are nothing but energy that has manifested itself in a particular form and has been labelled as a particular emotion using words that we are familiar with. Emotions are real and not surreal.

We are born into and grown up in a world that is dysfunctional, emotionally repressive and spiritually hostile even if religiously gregarious. We are born into a world of words used as labels and have pre-inclination to treat some of these labels (nouns) as offensive or otherwise. Emotions are neither positive nor negative in themselves, it is our perception that is positive or negative. Or it is the manner in which this emotional energy has been used that is positive or negative, depending upon its impact on the world at large.

For example, anger which is considered a negative emotion, has created formidable leaders who have then fought successfully for freedom and against discrimination. Yet, rage and anger has also been responsible for creating human monsters on planet earth resulting in so much destruction human lives and property. It is not ‘anger’ that is responsible, it is the use of this energy that can interpreted as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’.

To get in touch with that level of emotional energy requires awareness and contemplation in a state of relaxation, to acknowledge, clarify and be honest with our human emotional responses. To meditate upon this is also to unlearn the twisted, distorted, negative perspectives and reactions to our human emotions and to stop branding them.

Hedonic theories propound that well-being postulates the presence of positive emotion, the absence of negative emotion and a sense of life satisfaction. Wishful thinking indeed, considering that so many events in our life lie beyond the circle of control. What this theory propounds is therefore not congruent with the mess in real life, that all of us grapple with and survive. In fact, an overoptimistic outlook leads to ignoring real dangers and complacence.

A more congruent theory would therefore be one that emphasizes a sense of meaning, an inclination towards personal growth, a deep understanding of our ‘self’ and setting up goals that necessitate overcoming adversities in order to achieve them. Unpleasant feelings or negative emotions are just as crucial to evaluate our experiences in the journey called life, so that we can make sense of life’s ups and downs.

In this theory, psychological well-being would then be to acknowledge negative emotions born out of bad experiences, inculcate the learnings to overcome adversities and understand our ‘selves’, allow the positive emotions that surge from good experiences to detoxify the bad experiences and celebrate the achievements in our life’s journey. Doesn’t this make more sense to you?

In the Nirmiti Nidra workshops, where a unique technique has been imparted to more than 500 participants till date, the most common query from participants has been to learn, ‘how to push back or fight back a negative thought’.

Such is the collective pressure exerted by today’s society that people strongly feel that their only task in life is to learn to deal with negative thoughts and emotions by pushing them away. My answers quite often disappoint them initially till they realize the immense logic of how that is not plausible and why it is detrimental.

Our task is to create a mental bank of positive images and thoughts, i.e., to cultivate positive emotions so that over a period of time, the reservoir of negative thoughts and emotions accumulated over years do not determine our future life ahead. This does not, however, translate into deleting thoughts or emotions, which is neither possible nor beneficial.

Various psychological studies almost a decade ago concluded that attempts to suppress thoughts led to harbouring more of them. Similar findings from a 2010 study suggested that pushing back negative emotions could spawn more emotional overeating than simply recognizing that you were, angry, upset, agitated or irritated.

At all times, as is emphasized in our workshops, you must remember that your subconscious mind is 30,000 times more powerful than your conscious mind. Even if you consciously choose to suppress or repress a thought or emotion, the power of the subconscious would simply overwhelm you, rendering it impossible. What you consciously choose to ignore, your subconscious may continue to dwell upon. A study as recently as in 2011, reported that a thought deliberately suppressed prior to sleep, resulted in dreaming about it (a phenomenon called dream rebound) or it immediately surfaced upon waking up in the morning.

As recently as 2012, a psychotherapist Eric L. Garland of Florida State University and his associates measured a stress response based on heart rate in 58 adults whilst exposing them to specific cues. The subjects also completed a measure of their tendency to suppress thoughts. The researchers found that those who restrained their thinking more often had stronger stress responses to the cues than did those who suppressed their thoughts less frequently. This in turn reinforces that suppressing thoughts and feelings can even be harmful.

Continued in the next post on my blog.


The author, Rajesh Seshadri, is an internationally recognized Certified Leadership Coach, Certified Success Coach and Certified Life Coach. He is also a NLP Master Practitioner, facilitator and therapist. The basket of therapies is holistic and integrative adopting techniques from Psychotherapy, NLP, Silva, Gestalt, Hypnosis and Silva UltraMind. Additionally, he is a seasoned corporate professional who continues to serve as a whole-time Director and Board Member

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