Dr Judith Orloff's Blog

Combat Toxic Energy & Rejuvenate Your Emotional Life

 
Judith Orloff - Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s NY Times bestseller “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life” (Three Rivers Press, 2011)

Emotions can come at you hard and fast. You must be prepared.

In a flash, negativity can spin you into a tizzy, your center blown to smithereens. Not to worry. In my  book, Emotional Freedom I provide readers with strategies for dealing with every angle of emotions--cerebral and intuitive, from earth to heaven.

There are four major components of emotions: their biology, spirituality, energetic power, and psychology. Together, these components create an elegant portrait of your emotional self, revealing breakthroughs about how you operate that will lead to freedom. Here is a summary of these four secrets that I discuss in Emotional Freedom to help you combat toxic energies and keep your peace of mind.

Secret 1: Reprogram the Biology of Your Emotions

To know thyself, you must know some basics of your biology. Biology lends piercing insights into our emotions. It is the awesome science of life that defines the laws of how living things relate, both physically and emotionally. All emotions trigger biological reactions that shape your health just as distinctly as what you choose to eat or how you choose to exercise. When you learn to change your emotional reaction to a situation, you change your biological reaction as well.

Emotional stress depletes your body and calm revives it. Finding calm is an emotionally stressed out person’s salvation, a humane time-out from turmoil when you’re centered and at ease. Stress hormones wane, as spasms in your shoulders and gut loosen, heart rate and blood pressure lower, mental frenzy relents. Your body can breathe freely again and gratefully releases its guard to become more open, soft, expansive.

Applying the First Secret: Reprogram the Biology of Your Emotions
Reduce Stress With This Three-Minute Meditation

  • Find a comfortable, quiet place. Wearing loose clothing, settle into a relaxed position in a spot where you won't be interrupted.

  • Focus on your breath to quiet thoughts. Eyes closed, gently place your awareness on your breath. Be conscious only of breathing in and breathing out. Maintain a centered state of calm by continuing to follow the movement of your breath.

  • Breathe in calm, breathe out stress. Let yourself feel the sensuality of inhaling and exhaling as air passes through your nostrils and chest like a cool breeze. With each slow, deep breath, feel yourself inhaling calm, sweet as the scent of summer jasmine, then exhaling stress.
  • This simple, stress-busting meditation is an initial action step you can take to forge a winning partnership with your biology. Practicing it, you’ll become increasingly adept at upping endorphins and short-circuiting your flight-or-flight response, biological gifts of meditation.

    Secret 2: Uncover the Spiritual Meaning of Your Emotions

    As a psychiatrist, I’m in the sacred position of getting to hear what goes on in people’s heads, from soccer moms to movie stars. Despite how externally different we may seem we all have basic emotional commonalities, and often keep getting similarly sabotaged. Everyone wants love, but negativity, our own or another’s, often subverts us. So what is our suffering for? The puzzle can be solved, but it requires a spiritual perspective.

    Spirituality, as I’m defining it, is a quest for meaning that goes beyond the linear mind to access a vaster force of compassion to frame everything. Spirituality is freeing because it means opening the heart and doing your darndest to see every nanosecond of existence through this aperture. Always, you must ask, “How can a situation--any situation--help me grow and develop loving-kindness toward myself or others?”

    Applying the Second Secret: Uncover the Spiritual Meaning of Your Emotions
    A Heart Centering Meditation to Counter Negative Self-Talk

  • Settle down. In a tranquil setting, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Take a few long, deep breaths to relieve tension. Even if your negative thoughts are going a mile a minute keep concentrating on your breath as best you can.

  • Tune into your heart. Lightly rest your palm over your heart in the mid-chest. This energy center is the entryway to compassion and spirit. In a relaxed state, inwardly request to connect with a higher power, a force greater than yourself that links you to love. Then, in your heart area, notice what you intuitively feel, not what you think. You may experience a soothing warmth, comfort, clarity, even bliss. I often get shivers, a wave of goose bumps, or am moved to tears. If negative self-talk still arises, keep your compassion flowing; the self is doing the best it can.
  • This meditation is a surefire antidote to negative self-talk. I’ve never seen anyone able to sustain a denigrating diatribe when they’re centered in the heart.

    Secret 3: Learn the Energetic Power of Your Emotions

    In Energy Psychiatry I’ve learned to see emotions as a stunning expression of energy. Positive ones nurture you. Negative ones deplete you. You feel emotions internally, while their energy extends beyond your body, affecting everyone you contact. Similarly, the emotions of others can register in you. I’d like you to begin to think of emotions in terms of subtle energy, a “vibe” emanating from yourself and others, an intimate sensing. Subtle energy is right in front of you, but isn’t visible. It can be felt inches or feet from the body.

    I realize that it’s one thing to know this, and yet another to live it. The problem is that negative emotional energy is basically louder, wilder, and more seductively grabs your attention than the positive. On an intuitive level, emotions such as grief and terror are easier to sense than the lower keyed vibes of calmness or confidence. It’s important that you channel this knowledge into new behaviors so you’re not the doomed moth eternally drawn to the flame.

    Applying the Third Secret: Learn The Energetic Power of Your Emotions
    Try An Intuitive Experiment: Sense the Difference Between Positive and Negative Emotions

    In this experiment, you’re going to compare two scenarios. With both observe how your words and tone affect your body and emotional state. Spend at least a few minutes trying these words on.

    Scenario 1. Stand in front of a mirror and sincerely say to yourself in a loving, appreciative tone, “I look terrific and I’m a fantastic person.” Stay focused on your positives. Then feel, don’t think. Notice: How does your body react? Are you breathing easier? Do your shoulders relax?

    Scenario 2. Stand in front of the mirror and say in your nastiest, most hateful tone, “I look horrible and I despise myself.” Really mean it. Flare those negatives up. How does your body react now? Notice: Your shoulders? Your gut? Chest? I’m so taken by this exercise because it spells out that positive and negative energy are about as opposite as you can get. No confusing them. Ask yourself: Which do you prefer?

    Secret 4: Map the Psychology of Your Emotions

    Why do you feel what you feel? Where do fear of commitment, alpha achieving, or looking on the bright side begin? Which emotional coping styles hinder or serve you? These urgent questions are the life-blood of psychology’s study of emotions and behavior. You need to know your psychological self so unhealthy patterning doesn’t stifle you. Here’s a look at how psychology can liberate your heart and head. I’ll focus on one principle--“You are not your parents”--which is so central to your emotional freedom that it can dictate how you treat yourself and everyone you love.

    Applying the Fourth Secret: Map the Psychology of Your Emotions
    Take An Emotional Inventory of Your Parents

    To get a well-rounded picture of your parents, I’d like you to take an inventory of their top five positive and negative traits. When identifying these traits, try to see your parents as human rather than idealizing or demonizing them. Get their pluses and minuses down on paper so they can stare right back at you. When reviewing the inventory, consider ways your parents’ assets or liabilities impacted you. Also, be truthful about the traits you too possess. If they are positive, embrace them. If they are negative, begin to work with one at a time to free yourself. You don’t have to worry about turning into your parents if you take action not to parrot their dysfunction.

    Self-knowledge is a most impressive oracle, crystallizing who you are and can be. As it mounts, expect to feel a coming together inside of you, a beautiful feeling of awakening. I praise consciousness so unflinchingly because it’s the path to freedom.

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    Judith Orloff, MD is author of The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. She is a New York Times best-selling author of Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing. Connect with Judith on  Facebook and  Twitter. To learn more about empaths and her free empath support newsletter as well as Dr. Orloff's books and workshop schedule, visit her website.

    Comments
    Betterlife commented on 04-Apr-2013 01:01 AM
    At times it's very difficult for me to let go of negative thoughts in my head about what others have done to me. The resentments & wanting revenge harbor in my mind. I want to totally think only positive thoughts-which I've been working on. I'm better with recognizing the negative thoughts & deleting the anger quicker than say 2-3 years ago-as I continue meditating & doing breathing exercises I'm close to that day when nothing will interfere with my peaceful state-I do believe it will happen as long as I'm will to use Dr. Orloffs suggestions along with continuous introspection I'll soon being living a life of Emotional Freedom,and that is worth more than money. Again I want to THANK Judith for all the knowledge she shares with us,living a stress free happy life is definitely attainable & just my being in a constant calm relax state-that energy helps people just by physical presence-even in silence the peace thats within can help others. Judith you are a priceless individual & since January 2013-I been following you on twitter & Facebook & in just 3 months you really have helped me & I WANT TO THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR THE BOOKS YOU WROTE & FOR YOUR TIME & DEDICATION IN MAKING THE WORLD BETTER!!!!!!!!
    Betterlife commented on 04-Apr-2013 01:13 AM
    At times it's very difficult for me to let go of negative thoughts in my head about what others have done to me. The resentments & wanting revenge harbor in my mind. I want to totally think only positive thoughts-which I've been working on. I'm better with recognizing the negative thoughts & deleting the anger quicker than say 2-3 years ago-as I continue meditating & doing breathing exercises I'm close to that day when nothing will interfere with my peaceful state-I do believe it will happen as long as I'm willing to use Dr. Orloffs suggestions along with continuous introspection I'll soon be living a life of Emotional Freedom,and that is worth more than money. Again I want to THANK Judith for all the knowledge she shares with us,living a stress free happy life is definitely attainable & just my being in a constant calm relax state-that energy helps people just by physical presence-even in silence the peace thats within can help others. Judith you are a priceless individual & since January 2013-I been following you on twitter & Facebook & in just 3 months you really have helped me & I WANT TO THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR THE BOOKS YOU WROTE & FOR YOUR TIME & DEDICATION IN MAKING THE WORLD BETTER!!!!!!!!
    Shanna commented on 09-Apr-2013 12:42 PM
    I agree whole heartedly with you. Like u said you have to listen to your intuition it's talking to you it gives you signs people just have to listen...

    *** Shanna ***

    http://gigiandshanna.com/
    Wayne commented on 10-Apr-2013 12:57 AM
    The tone of your April 2 blog is promising, yet feels so far away.

    I am an extremely sensitive person: if someone near me is angry, I tense up; if someone near me is happy, I relax. I also obsess and empathize about the misfortunes of others: if someone has some terrible disease, my body and mind try to act out the terror of having that disease; reading an account of a POW in WWII will trip up my brain to relive the horror of starvation and torture; hearing of people with 'locked-in' syndrome causes me to panic. And so on.

    I've seen psychiatrists and counselors since the '80s. I taken all manner of prescription drugs. I've done CBT and EMDR and meditation. And yet, life has this undercurrent of terror that is hard to shake. At times, I feel that I am 'broken'; that science or whatever has not advanced far enough to fix me. I guess my greatest fear is that my 'self' will never find true happiness in this life. And so, I despair and wonder if this life is not for me.

    Over the ages, so many people have come and gone. And, innumerable animals and all kinds of organisms have lived, suffered, and perished as well. What good comes from the act of living? In that context, I feel much despair. As a father and a husband, I feel much conflicted.

    I've never commented on a blog or written to a stranger in such brutal honesty as this. There is a saying, "Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper." My supper meal grows cold.
    paulette commented on 20-May-2013 11:28 AM
    toxic energy, i was getting listless ,depress , suicidal weekly ,i can raise my energy when i am alone with dance,sing, prayers ,, and then loss it by the end of the day, then i started to track what was depleting my energy,
    and the most was from my husband , i was so shock because his word sound caring but his intention was bad so, i had rely on my body to know what was happening , i will actually feel energy leaving my hands and feet and feel pain in my chest,back, neck when he was specking like he cared which was so confusing , it turn out to be just beautiful words , that was empty.
    when i realize that i grieved , but my health started to improved, my suicidal thought decreased. i felt more vibrant , thanks for your work
    emma commented on 02-Feb-2015 05:49 AM
    In response to Wayne, I experience similar levels of sensitivities as you, if you wish to email me, to connect to a like soul, then please do.
    It is not for science to change our ways, although I have often longed to be less aware, but I try to find the good in myself for being able to experience these levels. alijames236@gmail.com

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