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Video: Controlling emotions to get the most out of life

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    >>> this morning, a new year, new you, 2013 . controlling your emotions to get the most out of life. founder of life choice psychology is also the author of the book "your killer emotions," and happens to be my agent. and agent to a number of news anchors. and psychiatrist dr. gail saltz, a "today" contributor. nice to have you with us. ken, let's start with you. you have given advice to countless number of people over the years. it almost seems like it's our nature to make decision when was we're stressed. how destructive is it?

    >> it's very destructive if the emotions lead you to make a toxic, self-sabotaging decision. lester, you can be the very smartest individual, you can have the greatest aspirations and goals, new year, new you. but if you make decisions when you're angry, when you're enraged, when you're sad, when you're resentful, when you feel disrespected, oftentimes you opt for an emotional quick fix. you want to do something now. and oftentimes that's that decision --

    >> short term.

    >> short term, you make a decision counter to what you would want in the long term or would have done in cognitively clear moment.

    >> and gale, what role do emotions have in making our big decisions? back to the question, is it -- our default position?

    >> it's always present. in a sense, you can't get around it because all the parts of our brain are connected to each other. emotional centers are always connected to cognitive centers on one hand. on the other hand, some people are more emotionally ruled. it's when you don't know what's going on emotionally when you're not as in touch with it. you're angry, but you don't realize how angry you are or what's driving the story. the story that's emotional isn't so conscious to you that you're in the worst shape. and you're absolutely right that it will drive you to make a purely emotionally based decision. we know this from like data about, say, money and investing.

    >> the speciinteresting thing, a lot of times you know. you know you're making this in a stressed, emotional time. ken, in the book you calk about consequence cognizant. how do we step out of ourselves knowing this? how do we step out of ourselves and make the proper choice?

    >> first of all, picking up what gail said, you need to objectively identify that there is a flaw with your past decisionmaking. if you don't identify it, you're not going to want to try to fix it. you want to identify it. the second thing is, when i talk about cognitive or being consequence cognitive, it's important to think about either the heinous consequences of the act that you're thinking about doing. for example, if ex- cia director david petraeus had fraught about the effects of what he allegedly did, that his career, potentially his family could have been ruined, he might not have made that decision. conversely, if you could think about all the wonderful things that making a positive life choice can bring you, that can motivate you. you need to find your personal emotional trigger. so things that motivate you the very most to make a great life choice . that's what your killer emotions talks about.

    >> and gail , at what point is it a bigger problem in which you'll need counseling, someone to really kind of call you on the carpet emotionally and say you need to step outside this?

    >> as ken's saying, you can do self-analysis if you step by step look at where emotions a problem and try to think more analytically. sometimes you keep making the same bad decision over and over . if you keep blowing up relationships, if you keep getting fired from jobs or doing something that's essentially shooting yourself in the foot in any one realm of life or certainly across more than one, then that's sometimes the sign that you need actually more help than you can provide yourself. and sometimes an objective other party, a therapist, can make a big difference because they can spot things that sometimes you have blinders for if you're very emotionally consumed. some is work we can do on our own and looking at a step-by-step guide to uncovering the stories that we seem to be repeating and take a different path by being more analytical about decisions can make a personal difference.

    >> thankfully the beginning of a new year. i think we have open minds to this discussion, making the right choices. we've got to end there. ken and gail , thank you very much. great to have you on this morning.

    >>> still to come on "today," dr. mehmet oz with great tips on staying healthy in the new year.

Greenleaf Book Group
TODAY books
updated 1/6/2013 12:46:24 PM ET 2013-01-06T17:46:24

Emotions can be difficult to control, especially during life's most stressful moments. Media career coach Ken Lindner argues that you can free yourself from debilitating emotions that often impair good judgment by following his “tried-and-true” steps. Here’s an excerpt.

Your emotions can be killers! They can kill the accomplishment of your plans, the fulfillment of your dreams, and the attainment of the life that you envision and so dearly want for yourself. Potentially poisonous emotions can also trigger behavior that leads to lower self-esteem and self-worth. Essentially, they can destroy your spirit and your positive energy. Obviously, all of this is extremely bad stuff!

When I was a Harvard undergrad, I saw the very smartest people do some of the most unfathomable, self-destructive, and seemingly “stupid” things. In the process, they destroyed themselves and their chances of enjoying exceedingly bright futures. From this apparent irony, I gleaned the following: Just because a person is intellectually gifted or wonderfully talented doesn’t mean that he or she is in control of his or her emotions. In fact, it can be quite the contrary!

Haven’t you, at one time or another, let your feelings of hurt, anger, loneliness, resentment, rage, neediness, insecurity, jealousy, and/or hopelessness cloud your best judgment, resulting in your making a disappointing, self-sabotaging, and/or spirit-deflating life choice? If your response is, “Oh yes, unfortunately far too many times,” have you considered what led to these life-derailing situations?

The answer may well be that you were energized, catalyzed, and led to act in response to the energy charges from potentially poisonous feelings, urges, and impulses because they, at the time, overpowered and thereby negated your intellect and your best judgment. You would up assuaging an intense impulse or urge rather than opting to make a positive life choice. Your actions were not a well thought-out reflection of your very best judgment, as you didn’t take into account what you truly want in and for your life. Instead, you made a self-defeating, emotionally charged choice that was in direct contradiction to what you, in more lucid moments, would want to accomplish. And later, upon clearer reflection, you realized once again that you had compromised your life goals and dreams, as well as your physical, psychological, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being! This failure to do what you generally knew was “right” may also have led to a significant diminution of your overall self-esteem, as well as to a substantial decrease in your core confidence to create and enjoy the life that you crave.

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Over the past 30 years, I have successfully counseled thousands upon thousands of individuals regarding their most important life and career choices, and there is one thing that almost all of them have in common: They have made crucial, self-defeating or self-sabotaging decisions that they later dearly regretted at a time when their best, clear judgment was clouded by sabotaging emotions, impulses, or urges.

Sometimes we pay little or no price for poor/self-destructive decision-making. However, many times we cause ourselves, our most dearly held goals, and the ones we love severe or irreparable damage because we are unable to think and reason clearly and toxic-emotion-free at pivotal decision-making moments.

Think of Your Killer Emotions as your emotional survival kit, as it will provide you with a set of clear, tried-and-true steps for acting with absolute intellectual clarity when you are about to make important life and career choices. The key is for you to master your emotions and urges and to turn them into your allies when you are making important life choices. One of the ways by which you will accomplish this is by correctly identifying your unique set of very specific Personal Emotional Triggers (or PETS). As we will discuss, these PETS are so highly super-charged that they will overpower, and thereby nullify, the less potent, competing, and/or sabotaging emotions, urges, and impulses. As a direct result, you will be free to make crystal-clear life choices and take actions that reflect and effect what you most want for yourself and your life in the long term.

There are some things in life that you can control and some that you can’t. I’ve seen way too many individuals make diminishing, destructive, and/or self-sabotaging life choices because they worried about things that they couldn’t control, and they didn’t focus — or lost focus — on controlling the things that they could. You absolutely can control your reasoning and evaluative processes, your choices, and your actions — as long as you master the potentially toxic emotions, urges, and impulses that can compromise or totally dismantle your best judgment when you make your life choices.

So, if making truly great life choices sounds exciting, beneficial, and/or intriguing, let’s get started!

Excerpted from Your Killer Emotions by Ken Lindner. Copyright (c) 2012 by Ken Lindner. Reprinted by arrangement with Greenleaf Book Group Press.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive


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