A story of getting your head and heart straight
Yesterday I received a call from someone I had not spoken to in years. The call was a followup to a message earlier in the week asking “do you mind if I pick your mind as as friend… I’m engaged now and not a particularly happy fella.”
We all know where this is going. Or do we?
The conversation twisted and turned from friendship, to flantering (flirty banter with no intentions), to kicking him, to picking him back up, to being asked to go on a trip, to waking up today feeling uncomfortable and saying that I would not see him for dinner even as friends because that would be a lie to his fiancé.
Our conversation got me thinking about communication and emotions, and how, we biohack things like our gut microbiome, our hormones, our telomeres even but we have not been able to biohack the most human of thing — our emotions. Our emotions, fears and self-made and confirmed stories elude our short cuts and force us to live through them.
Our emotions and feelings (which are really just nerve connections and hormones, right?) guide us in ways we have yet to comprehend — sexual attraction, lust, love, hate, envy, desire, aversion, discomfort, unease. Our emotions inform us whether we feel safe and whether we want to be there. Our emotions tell us things that our brain doesn’t. Our emotions are often the present-moment-truth-speakers, while the brain is an ego-driven, goal-oriented, future-thinker.
So, can we ‘hack’ our emotions? Probably not, but below are the things that have helped others when I’ve guided them through this. Some of this comes from older, spiritual traditions (buddhism, yoga, stoicism, sufism) which rather than sorting a hack around a problem, it’s more of an reviewing of the problem in front of you and understanding it.
1. What is the emotion and what is driving it?
(I’ll only write of negative emotions here, because often for happy emotions, we move past them rather than letting them overwhelm us as negative ones do…)
There are about 2,000 emotions. Yes. Never knew that right?
In truth, there are 8 main emotions (see below inner wheel) as described by psychologist, Dr. Plutchik: