“father of positive psychology”

“The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe that bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault. The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe that defeat is just a temporary setback or a challenge, that its causes are just confined to this one case.”

– Martin Seligman, Learned Optimism, 1991.

What is Emotional Regulation?

“Emotional regulation refers to the process by which individuals influence which emotions they have, when they have them, and how they experience and express their feelings. Emotional regulation can be automatic or controlled, conscious or unconscious, and may have effects at one or more points in the emotion producing process.”

(Gross et al. 1998).

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Chronic Stress

When you’re chronically stressed or overwhelmed you tend to keep reacting in the same emotional way over and over. This conditions your nervous system to potentially (mis)read your environment based on past experiences, and the associations and perceptions you’ve formed around those experiences. It also trains your mind to automatically think more negative thoughts and have more pessimistic expectations. Your nervous system, being the intelligent processor and gatekeeper, diligently keeps seeking and running those old-patterned programs and subconscious emotional memories over and over recreating the same or similar experiences, and reactions in an attempt to match the old pattern. This creates a vicious cycle that can leave you feeling exhausted and drained. Most of this happens underneath your conscious and voluntary level of awareness.

Stress is unavoidable

Stress is unavoidable and can, under the right conditions, even be beneficial. We can’t escape stress, but we can befriend it. We can learn to control our stress response and channel that energy in constructive and creative ways. If you’re experiencing chronic stress or feeling constantly on edge chances are you’ve got an overactive sympathetic nervous system. This is the branch of your nervous system that dictates the fight or flight response. It can take a few tweaks and some new habits but with consistency and willingness, you can transform chronic stress and use it to your advantage. This means more well-being, mental health, physical resilience, inner calm, insight, creativity, and healing.