TODAY | January 05, 2013
>>> 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.