Monday, September 27, 2010

Are Your Emotions Running You?

Take this quiz to find out whether your emotions are running you. My emotional response style is...

People with this style understand their feelings but can't get over them. They tend to dwell on past events—say, the end of a relationship or some injustice once suffered at work—and believe that whatever emotion they are suffering will last forever.

The solution lies in addressing the emotion, rather than the experience that caused it. Instead of asking yourself, What did I do to deserve this? ask yourself, What can I do to feel better right now? When I invite my clients to try this exercise, they typically report back, "I did it, it felt great, but now I'm feeling sad (or angry or whatever) again." Well, of course—a bike ride or a meal at a four-star restaurant isn't going to change anyone's life permanently! I explain, "The good news is that you made the troubling emotion go away. And that proves that your worst fear—that you will feel this troubling emotion forever—is not valid." Often, this is the moment they realize that they are in control: By changing what they do, they can change how they feel.

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