I appreciate the generosity of so many who responded to my request last week to answer: “What is your most pressing question about managing your emotions?” (If you didn’t get the chance and still want to answer, please go to this link. I’d love to get your response as well.)

It was a compelling cascade of questions using words that expressed emotional anguish… anxiety, irritability, panic, sadness, shame, negativity, stuck – to name just a few.

The questions that emerged from my invitation are smart, penetrating and emphatic. Here’s a sampling that arose as the most pressing questions about managing your emotions…

  • How do I shed negativity and engage positivity and have hope?
  • How can I feel good every day with life and my emotions?
  • How do I prepare to manage my emotions “in the moment”?
  • How can I sit with the uncomfortable ones so that I can really synthesize them and heal them – when it’s so much easier to distract or cover them or run away?
  • How do I identify the root cause of the emotion?
  • How can I discover my own inner needs and act on them with self-confidence?
  • How do I parse out complex and multilayered emotional patterns so each one can be identified and resolved?

You can’t outthink difficult emotions

What strikes me is the brilliance of these questions.
But it doesn’t matter how brainy or educated we are because the torment of difficult emotions transcends intellect. Professionals I work with can be smart and successful (however that is defined) and they still doubt themselves in various “compartments” of their lives. They may be good at business but can’t maintain a relationship. Or they’re better at relationship – and can’t seem to find their groove in fulfilling ways. And I often see people perform poorly at tasks where they believe it’s their intellect, when it’s really their anxiety hindering their capabilities and holding them back.
To be sure, our emotions are at the very core of everything we do and say.
I know this terrain intimately as back in the day difficult emotions were part of the fabric of my life – although they didn’t stop me. I was a television reporter and producer. I worked for NPR. I owned and published a magazine. I trained as a clinical nutritionist. Yet every day I wrestled with anxiety, anger and often crippling self-doubt.
And having been there and recovered from all that, what I can tell you is this: working with your emotions is an acquired skill. We usually see our difficult emotions as the enemy. But what we need to do is invite a different relationship with them. We want to remember that distractions and thoughts are always going to be present but with practice you can learn not to let them affect your emotional state.

And how do we do this? 

We can take a few minutes every day to do things that keep us focused on the present moment… without concern about what’s going to happen or what has already happened (get out of ruminating about the past or the future). In this emotions work, we do this through a combination of techniques and tools – including plant medicines – that will help you master your mind.
So thank you for sharing your most pressing questions about emotions with me. I’m taking all of your feedback in creating a new group program that’s gonna be exploring essential concepts in understanding and managing your emotions and applying it to your life. In other words, how to train your mind so you’re not a slave to your emotions.
Meantime, I invite you to drop down to the comments section and let me know how what I’m saying resonates for you.
With Love,
P.S. More to come later on the new online group programs. And as I say, if you didn’t get the chance and still want to answer: “What is your most pressing question about managing your emotions?” Please go to this link so you can share your concerns with me as I develop these new offerings and live retreats.