Most people just don’t have the skills they need to process emotions
When it comes to managing emotions most people only have around 3 skills, things like: 1-Talk it out, 2-Avoid it 4- or try to cope, 3- Eat something. Now these skills might work great in a couple of situations or they might be just fine in the short term, but if these are the only skills you have, then when big, loud, intense emotions come up for you-you probably don’t know what to do with them. And that’s when things can get ugly.
Over the next 30 videos I’m going to teach you skills that help you not only process through feelings of anxiety and depression, but emotions in general. These videos are part of a larger course I’m working on but the bulk of the videos on Emotion Processing are going right here on YouTube. This is how to work through big painful emotions. You could call this emotional intelligence, or controlling or coping with your emotions, but it’s better than that. It’s actually resolving your emotions. Knowing how to process emotions is essential to living a happy life, to having healthy relationships, to being a good boss or friend or lover. Research shows over and over that these are the skills that help people live a good life-but most people have never even heard of them.
You’re going to learn over 30 skills to process emotions, these are the skills you’d learn in like a year of therapy- now obviously this course is not therapy- therapy is an incredible process between two human beings working together in a customized environment of growth. But as one part of therapy, I teach skills- and you can learn those emotion processing skills right here.
When I talk about processing emotions, I mean we literally need to go through a process to regulate and resolve our emotions. In this video you’re going to learn what emotion processing is, what gets in the way of it, and how you can start to learn to work through your emotions so they don’t build up in a harmful way in your life.
The Processing Plant
Let’s start by making a little analogy- We’re going to compare emotion processing to a fish processing factory. Every day trucks arrive carrying piles of the latest catch. They come with Salmon, Halibut, Crab, Lobster, Tilapia and other delicious seafood. At our processing factory we need to check in the trucks, unload the trucks, cut the seafood into usable portions, throw out the unusable parts, package the seafood, label it and send it out to stores where it can be used to make delicious salmon fillets and sushi and butterfly shrimp. Sounds delicious, if you like seafood.
Now remember this is an emotional processing analogy, and some emotions, just like fish, can be quite unpleasant, stinky to say the least. So let’s say that one sunny day something goes wrong. A truck arrives full of fish that are too big for our machines to handle. We may try to run them through anyway, but then our machine breaks down. Because the machines aren’t working, the workers leave for the day because they don’t know what to do- they don’t know how to fix the machine.
Now we’ve got trucks loaded with unprocessed fish sitting outside but we can't process them, and more trucks are coming in but can't be processed either. You can see where this is going right? The fish start to rot. You and your workers are starting to feel stressed out. “What’s going to happen with our factory? With our jobs?” So we try to cope with the stress in the best way we know how. Maybe we use one of our three skills, we vent to a coworker about how much we hate processing fish, or we leave and go to lunch, but basically we just try not to think about those trucks of fish.
Pretty soon the trucks become more and more stinky, oozy, even terrifying. The longer we leave them, the easier it is to avoid them and the harder it is to face them. Maybe we avoid the trucks for days, weeks, years... At some point the fish that had the potential to be purposeful and delicious becomes rotting and putrid.
At this point we don’t want to go anywhere near those trucks of fish, they seem too terrible to face or approach. But avoiding the trucks seriously messes up our lives. We can’t work, because other trucks can’t get in. We can’t process seafood, our employees are out of work and the grocers are out of fish. Our processing factory and or rather our life is not working.
One day we drive up to the factory and decide “Something needs to change!!!” We get out the big hoses, the galoshes, the shovels, and we dive in. We clean out the trucks. It’s painful, stinky, terrifying, but we get through it. Maybe we need to ask for help, maybe we have to find someone who knows how to fix the broken machine or we need some extra support to finish the cleaning. We get our factory back in order, and decide that to prevent that from happening, we need to process each truck as it arrives or soon after.
And soon, as each truckload of seafood comes in, we check it in, we unload the trucks, cut the seafood into usable portions, throw out the unusable parts, package the seafood, label it and send it out to stores where it can be used to make delicious salmon fillets and sushi and butterfly shrimp. And we’re back in business. Our factory is running smoothly, turning a profit, and we feel pretty good about life.
And this is what the emotion processing looks like, when big emotions come rolling in, we notice them, name them, pause and decide what to do with them. We cut out that faulty thinking that makes things worse, and we work with our body to calm down, and we break the emotions down into smaller pieces and explore what they are, and then, we decide what to do with them, whether to act on them, make some changes, or just accept them as a beautiful part of the process of being alive.
But sometimes something goes wrong. Sometimes our emotions get backed up. Maybe just like if you have too many trucks of fish, maybe you get overwhelmed with too many emotions to process at once. Maybe you go through some trauma that’s too big to deal with at once. Or maybe work is too stressful and overwhelming, or maybe you’ve got something biological that goes wrong, you’re not sleeping well or your body gets sick. And it just feels too overwhelming to deal with the truckload of emotions that keep coming in. Emotions that had been meant to help you, become overwhelming and seem to be the thing ruining your life. Sadness takes over your day-to-day, or Anxiety stops you from doing important things.
So you avoid your feelings. You try not to think about them. Maybe you use drugs or food to feel good for a while. Maybe you avoid your feelings by keeping too busy or by blaming everyone else. And this leads to the emotions building up. And on top of the old trucks of emotions, new trucks arrive every day.
Many people have a backlog of unprocessed emotions. But you might have been doing it for so long that you don’t even notice that you’re doing it.
And the longer those emotions have been there, the harder it is to process them. Our three old skills- (1) talk about it, (2) eat something, (3) try not to think about it, just aren’t working any more. Our life feels broken, we stop functioning, everything feels overwhelming, and hopefully at this point- you reach out for help- and get those trucks cleaned out. This is what the therapy process is like. Your therapist helps you work through those emotions, that backlog of trucks, and teaches you the skills to keep your emotion processing factory running smoothly, working through emotions so that backup doesn’t happen in the future.
But in addition to therapy, you can learn the skills to help keep your emotion processing factory up and running. In this course I’m going to teach about a year's worth of skills you would learn in therapy, to work through, resolve and act on your powerful, beautiful, intense emotions. People who know how to process their emotions are more successful in life and happier in general. They know what to do with strong emotions, they have better relationships and better health. YOU can learn this.
What gets in the way of Emotional Regulation:
There’s some good reasons why most people aren’t very good at emotion processing-and it is not your fault, but there is something you can do about it.
One of my relatives recently told me the story of her and her father. When she was a little kid, her parents got divorced. She was just little, she was going to kindergarten. For some reason, she was crying at school one day, and her teacher let her dad know. I’m sure her teacher was just trying to help this tender little child, but her dad thought that the girl’s crying was disrupting the class. He took her home and told her “You don’t cry at school ever again! If you cry at school I’ll give you something to cry about when you get home”. In that moment, that little girl learned that emotions are dangerous. You’re not supposed to have them. Suppress them or you’ll get in trouble.
Like this little girl, so many of us have been taught that emotions are dangerous. That you’re not supposed to have them, that you need to push them down or you’ll get out of control or get in trouble. So here are a couple of reasons why you don’t know how to process your emotions.
1. No one taught you
The first big reason that you don’t process emotions is that most of us haven’t been taught the skills we need to work through emotions. Instead we’ve been taught that emotions are bad or dangerous. They need to be avoided. No one ever taught you how to work through grief or guilt or anger in a healthy way. So you’ve got just a few skills, and that limits your ability to resolve emotions.
The second reason why people aren’t great at emotional regulation is because when we get stressed out or overwhelmed by big emotions-the stress response shuts down our ability to think clearly and solve problems. When we’re highly emotional, we just don’t think clearly.
This course is going to teach you how to calm your body and mind down when you’re stressed so that you can think clearly to work through emotions and you’re going to build up your emotion skills toolbox, so you’ve got more options of how to do it.
There’s a few other things that get in the way of processing emotions:
Foreclosure: trying to jump to solutions but skipping the process. Trying to get from A to D without going through B and C. This is trying to feel good before acknowledging what you are feeling now. You can still get to feeling good, you just have to go through a couple of steps. And this is closely tied to
Avoidance: Trying to just make emotions go away
Lack of Clarity: not even being sure what the emotion or problem is
Instant Gratification: Choosing things that feel good in the moment (like eating that quart of ice cream) over lasting Joy (facing and resolving a tough problem)
This course responds to these challenges with 3 main principles:
Principle #1- Emotional Regulation is a process.
The Process: Our emotions are like this processing plant. When they come, and we can’t always predict when they will arrive, we need to
Identify: check them in (notice them) Identify the emotion
Pause take an inventory (give them a name) Explore the emotion without needing to immediately make it go away Stay calm in mind and Body
Explore: see what they can be used for (look for their function/purpose) break them down into smaller packages (1 thing at a time) and then
Choose: decide where to send them (take action or practice acceptance). Make a choice about whether to Act or Accept
Voila! No more putrid emotions! If we can put the effort in to go through the entire process, then we create something useful and good from all those emotions. If we seek to escape at any point in the process, we are stuck with some pretty stinky results.
Principle #2- Emotional Regulation is a skill that can be learned
Emotional Regulation is a skill that can be learned and developed through practice, just like a physical skill. People sometimes think that it’s a trait that you either have or you don’t. But our emotional skills are like physical skills, if you want to be a good tennis player- you need to learn how to hit the ball and how to move and how to stand, and then you need to build up your tennis muscles. But when it comes to emotional skills and muscles, most people were never taught how to strengthen them. This course is designed to provide easy access to practical skills to build emotional strength and mental resilience by processing, accepting, and resolving emotions.
Principle #3: Emotions are deeper than thoughts and behaviors
We need to access the deeper parts of our brain, and body in order to resolve many emotions.
If we could just think our way out of problems, or educate our way into perfect lives, none of us would need much help. The reality is that our brain is much more than our thoughts, We can’t just think our way out of emotions or just “Stop it” with many behaviors, and in order to create change we need to utilize as many learning styles as possible. This course will show you some techniques that will take you deeper into healing emotions in your nervous system, in your bodily response, and in your mind.
So Welcome to the course : How to Process your Emotions- 30 + Essential Mental Health Skills.
This course uses Exercises, Video, Audio, quotes, visuals, narratives, short readings, workbook exercises and links to extended resources. If you want to access all of these essential resources, ad free, in one convenient location, you can buy the full course by clicking this link. Don’t skip over these if you want the full benefits.
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