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In this episode Joel and Antonia tackle the question: “Can people control their emotions or do emotions happen to us?”

In this podcast you’ll find:

Antonia’s video on the emotional thermostat.

Joel’s video on changing negative emotions to positive emotions.

Total Control vs. No Control Theory of Emotions: Can you control your emotions or not? by Jeremy Sherman

Two camps:

  1. You have total control of your emotions;
  2. You have no control over your emotions.

Both are extremes. Both are unrealistic. We need to fall in the middle.

“Full and total control” is a long game statement. Not an in-the-moment statement.

Social surroundings alter expression of emotion. You have control of your emotions when you feel you should be in control, like in a social environment.

Emotional expression and the emotion itself seems very intertwined.

Are we in control of our dreams? There are ways to take control of your dreams. Some people have this ability naturally. Others train themselves to do this. It’s called Lucid Dreaming.

It is similar with emotions. Controlling your dream world is harder than controlling your emotions.

You can’t control your unconscious mind completely, but you can have influence over it with breathing techniques and meditation.

The idea that you are not in control of your emotions sounds strange. No one can get into our heads and tell us how we should feel. We interpret the data set within our mental framework.

All of us experience emotions very subjectively. There are consensus definitions of emotion which we assume are objective, but they’re not. They are still subjective.

Some negative or toxic emotions can shorten your life. Especially toxic emotions like resentment.

Harboring emotions can become addictive. If you have a tendency to trend toward toxic emotions, you will have a shorter, more unhappy life – and vice versa. If you trend toward happiness, forgiveness, and joy, your life will be more meaningful, and you will live longer.

What increases the quality of your life?

Sometimes we believe that harboring resentment or other negative emotions will keep us safe from being taken for granted.

To have no control over emotions indicates we are static, whereas the mind is plastic. If the mind is plastic, emotions are plastic because they live in the mind.

Would you ever tell someone that they don’t have control over their mindset, outlook, or religious experience? No, but to tell someone they don’t have control over their emotions is acceptable.

You can build skill in controlling your emotions over the long game.

If your Judging processor is extraverted (INFJ, INTJ, ENFJ, ENTJ, ESFJ, ESTJ, ISTJ, ISFJ) you are going to have more of a concept around controlling emotions than a Perceiver. A Judgers evaluative criteria is based on how the outside world is being impacted. If people are just showing up any way they want, the outside world becomes destabilized.

Controlling your emotions in the outside world is going to be more of a Judger thought.

And the idea that you should feel permission to express your authentic emotion, no matter where you are, may be more of a Perceiver belief.

The people who are the most protective of any emotional experience are going to be IFPs (ISFP, INFP).

They want the entire range of emotions at all times. Like the keys on a keyboard. The IFPs want the whole range available to them.

There is a more skillful way to do it, though so that it is more pleasant for everyone.

You may not always be in control of the emotions that come up for you, but you are responsible for the emotions that come up and how you express them. Nobody else can be responsible for your emotions.

Whether emotions are positive or negative is context dependent. How much are you impacting your life by emotion?

Everybody should have permission to feel the emotion that is coming up at the moment. If you don’t acknowledge emotions as they come up, you won’t have a clear starting point to identify when an emotion is happening.

Giving yourself permission to feel an emotion doesn’t mean you are giving it permission to explode outward and affect everyone around you.

We have an emotional comfort zone. The more your comfort zone is set to joy, satisfaction, and happiness the more you will endeavor to maintain that comfort zone.

As opposed to being calibrated to grief, sadness, and depression and looking to return to that comfort zone whenever life takes a turn toward more positive things.

We should process through the negative emotions and endeavor to maintain a more positive mindset. We shouldn’t be living in the zone of toxic emotions.

We can decide where we want our emotional thermostat set.

Give yourself permission to feel the full spectrum of emotions, then realize that you have the control to return yourself to a space that is more rewarding in the long run.

If you know how to live with your emotional thermostat set really low. If you feel empowered in this mindset, and can empower others, please tell us how you do this.

We go through phases of our emotions as we grow and develop.

Progress varies. We are all at different phases of development. We like to paint the ideal even if we aren’t there yet. If you don’t like it, throw it away. Do what works for you. This is what works for us.

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  • Jay Trese
    • Jay Trese
    • September 13, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Nice podcast, I often argue with others that you can control how you express your emotions. But you can not always control what others make you feel. I think that Joel is redefining what it means for someone else to make you feel a certain way. Granted my emotion of sadness is mine, but in most case it will be reconize as sadness by others.
    If someone goes out of there way to make you feel something unless that person means nothing you they will probally succeed. Even if its just the emtion of anger or frustration or maybe amusement.
    In another podcast Joel mentions a difficult time he has when coming across something while cleaning up, something about that object made him feel an emotion that he did not want to deal with.
    While it may be possible to control all emotion, it is mentioned in the end of the podcast that you often have to feel an emtion to process an traumatic event.
    Maybe I am just missing Joel’s point but to me this means that to be a seen as a some what normal person, others can and will make you feel ‘your’ emotions. It is how you express it that matters since this is how others will percieve you.

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