• When your emotions are managing you in a way they throw you off, we commonly fight back trying to block them out. That extra glass of wine -maybe a bottle- after a bad day at work? Binge eating, alcohol, drugs, gaming.... you name it. There is a full range of options out there to numb what you feel. To avoid what you feel. But unfortunately, shutting them (momentarily) doesn't make them go away.

    Instead of ignoring them, what about asking yourself... how do you feel? Just notice, be aware. No need to react to it right away. Maybe the secret relies in not denying how you feel but in not identifying with what you feel. Emotions are biological suggestions, not undeniable truths to blindly rely on. 

    Emotions emerge as the result of that permanent never ending inner conversation we have with ourselves. We think we are what we think, what we feel. But we are not.

    As in the practice of meditation, it's not about stopping your thoughts and consequently the emotions derived from that inner chatter, but just to change your relationship with them.


  • What does science say about the best way for you to deal with difficult or negative emotions?

    Lesson one, Emotions are unavoidable. They just happen to you, either you want it or not. They are inevitable. You can’t avoid them, so stop trying and accept that they just show up. Optioning to ignore, silence them or distract yourself from them, just make them louder and stronger, and much more powerful. As, Tal Ben Shahar, used to say,” only two types of people never experience negative emotions — psychopaths and dead people.”

    Second, emotions are data, not directions.
    Negative emotions provide you with relevant information (mostly from past experiences or speculated self constructed futures) but they aren’t necessarily right, neither correct. They are suggestions, not commandments. Listen to their message, question it and decide either to discredit them or use them on your own benefit.

    Third lesson, emotional perfectionism is a fallacy. This absurd and overspread idea, that you have to be always in a positive state can

  • All our habits are originally underpinned in what we call the Positive and Negative reinforcement. What is more commonly known as Trigger - Behavior - Reward, a simple formula that states by: Action + Reaction = Outcome. That's how we learn and establish habits. But the problem is that we forget that those early reactions are always based on a context dependent memory.

    Suddenly, we start assuming that what makes me feel good in one situation, might also work in a completely different one. So we tend to extrapolate the behaviors to get the same reward, but the trigger might be different from the original functional one.

    If initially we developed a functional habit, out of context, we might cross the line from learning to survive to kill ourselves with those habits.

    It's pretty clear that trying to control those "impulses" doesn't work, it even made them worse. We are trying to use cognition to control our behaviour. But the Pre-frontal cortex, the part of

  • Actually, it doesn’t really matter that there is no real danger. Most of the things that we fear the most won’t put our life into question. Fear drives our lives, without us being aware of it; quoting Ezra Bayda: “fear motivates how we act and react”.

    We can’t deny the feeling of it, we can’t even stop experiencing it, but we can be able to accept that, fear, or at least the the intensity of our fears, it’s mostly a construction in our heads.

    And which are the three biggest ones? The fear of losing safety and control, the fear of aloneness and disconnection, and the fear of unworthiness. Ezra Baydastates, in this articlethat, by truly knowing our fears, we can start breaking their spell. More below, as usual, summarised for you.

  • Mindfulness could be defined as awareness of your thoughts and feelings without being consumed by them. Assuming this definition, cognitive fusion might be the problem. When you infer that you are your thoughts, that this thought that's in your head is the Truth and, what's worse, that it defines you.

    But when you give defusion a try, a thought can be contemplated as just an idea, a suggestion to be considered. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not. But, you really shouldn't care.

    Actually, when it comes to mindfulness, "Is it true?" is the wrong question. The right question is: "Is it useful?"

    Erik Baker has more to say in his article about how ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and it might help you