Emotional Merry-go-rounds and other spirals

Its that situation again. That person or group is present. This conversation or action will trigger my feelings. I’ll spiral into my “go-to” emotions. and I’ll be back in my misery, again. It takes to much energy and time to climb out of that wheel. Time to get off the scary-go-round!

PTSD, depression, substance abuse and other disorders are commonly associated with emotional dysregulation.
Its the inability to manage the intensity and duration of negative emotions such as fear, sadness, or anger. When caught off-guard by some triggering event, clients are plunged into overwhelming emotions and behaviors that may be difficult to recover from.

Traditionally emotional regulation skills are based on cognitive and behavioral interventions, using conscious thought and behavior to regulate emotions.

But what if we can address the emotions directly? Resolving them, in the moment they are occurring? ..and just get rid of them permanently?

Think about it. If you have a nose bleed, you wouldn’t just let the blood run down your face, onto your shirt. No. You would stop what you are doing and take care of it with a tissue, tip your head back, maybe add a cold compress. You and everyone around you will understand that your body needs some attention. It is a necessary and immediate need.

It’s the same way with emotions. If you are experiencing an emotion or feeling, that is anywhere from uncomfortable to overwhelming, it is time to stop and take a moment to deal with that emotion…. just like its a nose-bleed.

How do we loosen emotion’s grip and get control back? How do we stand in our emotion, face it head on, in the moment of crisis and “conquer it”?

We must all learn to resolve and balance our unwanted emotions on the fly, and we can do it quite simply.

Emotional Resolution on and for the Self (EmRes-Self)

  • IN THE MOMENT, while you are still in the emotion, Close your eyes. turn your focus away from the outside source of your disturbance and look in.
  • Scan your body and notice at least two physical sensations, like throat tight, hands sweaty, hard to breathe, stomach tight, etc.
  • Allow the sensations to change, without control or expectation. Don’t do anything, just watch.
  • Be present with the physical sensations until they are gone, for up to 2 minutes
  • When you are calm, open your eyes. the emotion will be gone.

It sounds ridiculously simple. How can something this unpretentious work?

Well, if you don’t embellish the routine, it works fabulously. Here are a couple guidelines to curb your desire to “make it better”.

  1. This process works with the current emotional difficulty your body is experiencing. If you are angry at your co-worker now, then you must resolve now while you are still angry at him, not after you’ve cooled down and are recalling your anger. The timing can be tricky in this regard. But immediately excusing yourself to a restroom and resolve there, will usually keep you in the emotion enough to resolve. Excusing yourself to tend a fake “important text” on you phone, also allows you to covertly bow your head to your phone and close your eyes for a few seconds–its surprising how socially normal this is.
  2. Emotions are experienced by the body as physical sensations. It is the body that has the embedded/trapped emotions that keep coming up via triggers, flooding your mind and overwhelming thought and reason. When you close your eyes, you are shifting from the mental brain/memory to emotional brain/memory.
    The body has an innate ability to metabolize the emotional memories, the physical sensations, if you give it the time and space to do so.
    And that is just it–You must give your body time to do it’s work!
    Remember: Power goes where you focus.
    You can not be in your mind and your body at the same time. If you gently focus on your body, it will resolve the physical sensations and release the emotional imprint. If you let your focus return to the mind, recalling the situation, trying to make sense of the physical sensations, focusing too hard on the sensations, trying to control or change the shape, form or intensity of the sensations, then the body stops its “resolve the emotion work”. Just watch the physical sensations and allow them to change. The sensations can be uncomfortable, but even “breathing into it” is a form of control that will derail the whole process.
  3. Allow the physical sensations to change, grow, move, pop up in another location as you passively watch, until all physical sensations are gone and you are calm… for up to 2 minutes. Many times it can take only 8-20 seconds! After 2 minutes, which feels like a long time, open your eyes and recall the emotional situation that disturbed you. We are not changing history here. You will still remember being mad, for instance, but you will most likely not feel mad about it any more. If you do feel a little emotion is left, then close your eyes again, go thru the resolve again. It will be completely gone after the second time through.

It really works. It works for me. It works for everyone that has learned it. And it will work for you.

In one of my advance Emotional Resolution classes, I met a woman who was in New York on 9/11, a hotline operator, who watched the buildings fall from close range. She had PTSD for years as a result. She shared that most of her healing was finally accomplished by using the ER-Self protocol, when she was triggered, in the instant that she was in the emotion. She was adamant about the power of Emotional Resolution on the Self (EmRes-Self).

After I recovered a little from the impact of her story, I reflected on my own use of ER-Self. Every time I had the presence to [stop, close my eyes, let go of my mind, feel the physical sensation in my body, allow them to change, observe them lightly until they were gone], it worked. My troubling emotion, present in me at the time, was gone.

You can practice from the instructions in this blog and get it right. But sometimes we have questions and need face to face time with an instructor. I teach classes in ER-Self, both to groups and privately in-person and on the phone.

Please learn this amazing act of Self-Care. Just like a nose-bleed or cut on our finger, we need to take care of ourselves when our body demands attention, whether it shows up as actual blood or as a troubling emotion that affects our ability to effectively navigate our life and world.

Are you ready to take Self-Care to the next level?

Learn ER-Self with a group (In Dallas, Tx)

Learn ER-Self individually, on the phone or in-person

Don’t let a bad vibe carry you away

I ran across this meme yesterday and I LOVED IT!

Did you really have a bad day or did you have 10-20 minutes where you let your thoughts run undisciplined which led you to a bad vibe that you let carry you away. Come on… you run this [show]. Pay attention.
–www.facebook.com/enlightenedc

The truth is that is exactly what happens. Most of our “bad days” are moments of “trauma/drama” that we keep replaying in our minds, and by doing so, let those moments pollute the rest of the day.

The main reason those memories keep resurfacing is that the emotional memory is embedded in our bodies. Once triggered it can reverberate… echoing thru the day, reminding us of the situation, the emotion and infecting any neutral state of joy we can conjure.

We can search for and try to come to terms with where the original emotional injury happened–in our childhood or wherever; What physical or emotional trauma happened to us that is now echoing into the present? But intellectual understanding of an emotion does not resolve the emotional issue. Acknowledging the abuse received, for instance, does not resolve the echoing pain. The pain and the emotion remains — waiting for the next triggering event.

Or we can turn to metaphysical and spiritual answers. “This is karma or part of my soul contract.” “My right foot hurts because I can’t find a way to move forward”. Again, interesting information, but it doesn’t actually resolve the emotion. It still lies in wait for the next situation that is similar enough to spark the emotion again… reminding you to move forward?

Our bodies innately understand how to process emotions. In certain situations, the body is overwhelmed and the emotion gets stuck. These embedded emotions are the ones that will repeat and echo into our future lives. This is literally “the baggage” that makes our reactions to current situations larger then necessary –over the top.

So what is the alternative; How do we “fix” this?

Emotional Resolution  is a very specific protocol that funnels the emotion back thru the body, in a fully conscious and calm setting, The body can then metabolize the emotion, resolving it permanently.

I know, permanently is a big word to use. But when the roots of the emotion are gone, they are gone. There is nothing embedded in the body to trigger, emotion-wise.

And one of the best parts is that you don’t have to know where the emotion came from, how long it’s been there, or its meaning in the grand scheme of life. You don’t even have to know what the emotion is exactly. This is a blessing for the many of us who have tried hard all our lives to avoid/escape emotions we feel. Name it? We often have no idea what we’re feeling.

There are two great options for Emotional Resolution (EmRes):

  1. Learn to resolve yourself in the moment of the emotion. Our Learn to Resove Your Unwanted Emotions class will teach you how in 2 one-hour group meetings.
  2. Bring a a recent situation that triggered the emotion to an Emotional Resolution Professional to conduct the session.

easy peasy!

So the next time you have 10-15 minutes of angst that vibrates thru your day, consider an Emotional Resolution session to set you right.

Clearing the Tears

Why do we think something is wrong when we are crying? 

OH OH — Someone is experiencing an emotion, they have droplets of water coming out of their eyes……. that can’t be good? or can it?   

Typically when we see someone crying, we assume they are experiencing sadness or duress.  But we frequently cry during a heart-felt moments found in joyous births and weddings. 

Tears of other people remind us that we too have emotions. Without question, the vast majority of us would rather not deal with or be reminded that we have emotions. Since tears can go either way- happy or sad tears – they disturb us. And, compassion aside for a moment, we don’t want to deal with our own emotions or anyone else’s either. 

Emotions are messy, but necessary part of living.  Emotions tell us what is going on around us and how it’s affecting us.  Our bodies react with physical sensations (the emotion), that travel brain for interpretation and, if necessary,  to set a course of reaction (the response to emotion.) 

Some psychologies believe that tears part of a coping strategy that is self-soothing and can elicit support from those around us.  It restores “emotional equilibrium”, suggesting that sad tears lift blues and happy tears bring us back to neutral.

But tears don’t resolve the emotion that they spring from.  Tears are an instant remedy without a long-term benefit, emotionally speaking.

I’ve helped several of my clients with their tears. 

  1. Elsie (not her real name) had lost her most beloved husband 2 years prior to her work with me. She still had pictures of him all over the house, because she loved him and didn’t want to forget him or their time together. Whenever she would look at the pictures or talk about her husband with friends, Elsie would well-up with tears.  She said “I don’t mind the tears–I miss him.  But my friends think it’s wrong to cry after so many years.” I guided Elsie to resolve the emotion she felt when she looked at her husband’s picture.  At her next session, she came back all smiles! “I can look at his picture and NO TEARS–I just remember our happy times.  I still miss him, but the sadness is gone and the good stuff is left! Thank you!”
  2. Jane (again, an alias) cried at every happy event.  “It’s embarrassing”, she said. “If I’m at a wedding, baby shower, spiritual events or anywhere that I feel happy and blessed, I cry. People think I’m upset. Then I have to explain–its a mess”.  I helped Jane resolve the emotion she experiences in these moments of gladness that overwhelm her.  Jane reported back that now happy times are only happy. “I’ve found I can be joyous and compassionate without the tears.  I don’t feel the need to cry–it’s all smiles and ecstatic joy.  I love it!” 

I want to make a couple points that relate to Jane’s example.  First, when we are overwhelmed by emotion, happy, sad, or otherwise, we miss the essence/meaning of the moment before us. The buried, unresolved emotions flood in, to mix with the current emotional reaction and swamp the limbic system, which is responsible for “managing” these feelings. Many times it’s too much to grapple with. 

The emotion that prompted tears are drowning the ability to feel the joy of the moment. This works in the same way as engulfing anger might keep us from a reasonable response–we’re “too mad” and might produce tears of frustration. 

Second, Emotional Resolution (EmRes) works to remove the emotions that we didn’t naturally resolve when we felt them originally.  Sometimes, especially as children, the situation is so intense that the emotions produced don’t have the chance to get resolved by our bodies. They become imprinted in the body. As we move forward in time, these are literally the PTSD reactions we feel.

Removing imprinted emotions does not eliminate feelings of love, happiness, joy, etc.  These positive emotions are never imprinted or need to be removed.  In fact, the imprinted emotions depress our expression and experience of love.  In the end, the happy day-to-day bliss of being in love, finding love and happiness is where we want to end up….without the tears.

Who doesn’t want that?

Following the trail of tears can lead us to emotions that need to be resolved. and resolving your tears can lead to great experiences in your life.


I offer Emotional Resolution sessions in-person in North Dallas, Tx or on-the-phone.  Here is a link to schedule and appointment with me.   http://regulatingsense.schedulista.com/