We need to be emotional in order to clear negative emotions quickly. Benito Spinoza, the father of neuroscience discovered that strong positive emotions can overwhelm negative ones. Recent research has shown that stress is good for us, if we allow ourselves to surrender to stress, then transform negatives into positives, we can rewire our brain for resilience.
Emotions can turn fear and stress into joy
Using our emotions effectively also gets to the root cause of why we are so stressed. The Covid situation is frightening, but we get triggered and overwhelmed because we all have outdated unconscious expectations in the wiring of our emotional brain. If we use emotions to clear our stress, we can update those expectations in the process. It’s the ultimate two for one: feel better at the moment and improve your brain’s resiliency wiring to help prevent that triggered experience in the future.
The root cause of our problem is the admitted situational stress amplified by having really stupid wires in our brains. I say “stupid” because most of the circuits that encode expectations about how life “should” be are encoded in the first few years of our lives. That’s why we say, “Gee, I’m a lot like my mother. How did that happen?” We download expectations from the brains of those who raised us. What’s more, during times of trauma, the brain encodes completely ridiculous expectations, such as I get my love from food or I get my safety from pleasing everyone all the time. We don’t know these wires are there, as emotional wires are silent killers, but they do control most of our responses.
Herein lies the neuroscience rationale about how to deal with Covid fears. Learn how to process your high-stress emotions and do that. In a few minutes throughout the day give yourself an EBT “mini-emotional cleanse” by using the technique of the method. Start off by complaining about the situation (e.g., All this information about vaccines and testing is stressing me out) and then, express some healthy anger. Anger is essential because it is only when we become highly stressed that we unlock the unconscious expectations that are “stupid” or “unreasonable” in our unconscious mind, and make them “smart” or “reasonable.”
It’s a natural cleansing process as after anger, you can flow through a few negative emotions (sadness, fear, and guilty) and be rewarded by intensely positive feelings (grateful, happy, secure, and proud).
In those few moments, you have a complete reset of your emotions, drives, thoughts, and sensations. And, you have updated your brain so your unconscious expectations are smarter and more reasonable, which decreases your stress. Last, you will feel a surge of dopamine and endorphins – and the emotion of joy.
My recommendation is that you use emotional tools to cleanse your brain of fear and stress and appreciate that in times of adversity, you do have power. You can use the coming challenging mounts as a time to become more resilient, wiser, and more joyful. Empathy will flow, and you’ll maintain enough vibrancy to help others.
As the emotional brain has no walls, your choice to become emotionally effective for the times in which we live is transmitted to others. Your partner will catch our positive energy, your children may stop squabbling, and you will feel like eating healthy, going for a walk and taking time to cheer up others and give back in just the way that makes your life complete.
We didn’t ask for this pandemic, but we can use it as a time to update our approach to emotional health and learn what neuroscience has to say about turning fear into joy.