What a Gem

Thoughts to Contemplate by Dr. Luann Robinson Hull

The Power of Emotions Over Happiness



The July 15, 2013 issue of Time Magazine introduced a series of articles on “happiness,” and emphasized a point, which I made in my recent Huffington Post article (excerpt below) : “Being distracted (by emotional charges, thoughts, etc.) blunts responses in the brain (Time,  pp. 30).” That’s a pretty radical statement! Your thoughts and emotional charges will blunt responses in the brain? Yes, they will.

“Here is a key point that I have learned from devoting much of my professional life to studying the effects of human emotions. The raw, impulsive ones, like fear, excessive worry, and anger will absolutely hi-jack happiness and well being—every single time. And, once these emotions take hold, they can have a fierce grip. So, if we are going to make any progress toward maintaining peace of mind (the foundation for inner joy), we have to be aware of the triggers for “negative emotions.” Once they register in the primal part of your brain, which is where they originate, they will relentlessly travel the highways in your head with a single focus—to snuff out all of the good stuff. Why? Because that is what they have been “wired” to do. Will they be successful? Yes (until you learn to interrupt them), since they have been conditioned to respond this way for a zillion years.  You and I in our current level of evolution are still programmed to react to their messages. We have inherited this phenomenon from our ancestors, who needed to stay alert in order to keep from getting killed (and “alert” did not allow for peace, balance, and joy).

If you don’t believe me (that you are inclined to operate like the clan- of-the- cave-bear-tribe), do a little experiment. I suspect that one of the easiest places to practice is in your car. Any scenario will do, but let’s pick one. You have sat patiently (you think) awaiting a coveted parking space while High Maintenance Molly puts on her lipstick, and checks her iPhone. Finally, she exits the scene. Out of flipping nowhere, Mr. Big Bad Boy suddenly swerves into “your” place in his ridiculously gigantic, SUV, replete with deafening rap music. He then brings his unnecessarily large gas sucking vehicle to a screeching halt (right in front of your blazing eyeballs) and saunters away with a surly swagger never once acknowledging you and your pain. Now then, whether or not you blow your horn and call him a f+#%ing a*&%$#e is not the point. What does matter is that more than likely your red-hot-blood has reached the boiling point. Where is your compassion? Where is your heart? Maybe his need for the space is more urgent than yours—like his throat is closing after eating peanuts or something.  If I am correct in my speculation, you are probably not going to give him the benefit of the doubt here. And if that is the case your heart just got overruled by your emotional brain. There is no reasoning with this region, once it gets its hold on you.”

How can you interrupt the tendency for the “emotional hi-jacking phenomenon” to play out in your world? Mental focus (meditation, yoga, a brain break, etc.). More on this next week.  Stay tuned!

Believing in you!




PS) I’d like to ask a very special favor of those of you who’ve read my book “Happily Ever After Right Now.” If you found the book to be informative and helpful in your journey, would you be so kind as to post a review of the book? Here is a link to my Amazon page for you to do so:  http://www.amazon.com/Luann-Robinson-Hull/e/B00AQIQ3B6/, and here is the GoodReads page for the book: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11522606-happily-ever-after-right-now.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

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I want to extend a very special thanks and gratitude to Cindy and all of those on my wonderful “Happily” team who make these posts (as well as the emails and social media) possible, and make them come together in a beautiful way!  Without their dedication and help, I wouldn’t be here “blogging” or sharing information with you electronically!  I would still be writing on my yellow tablets!

Image Credits: Happiness – http://www.scoop.it/t/well-being

Time Cover – http://www.time.com/time/covers/pacific/0,16641,20130708,00.html


10 thoughts on “The Power of Emotions Over Happiness

  1. Interesting thoughts here Luann, some great insights, very very true. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Benefit of the doubt – I agree. (in theory) – when I’m by myself, I tend not to give the benefit of the doubt but honestly, when I’m with my children and they see this and they start to get appalled by other people’s bad behaviors? I tell them “you know what? maybe they really really needed to do that. We don’t know what their life is like and maybe they’re just having a really bad day.” Thank goodness my kids make me reflect at times rather than completely react. Great post and one to remember.

  3. You are far too kind to the rapper who blazed in cutting you off… to even offer that his throat may be closing… very big of you! LOL… But yes, I do tend to believe we have no idea what is going on in the world’s of others, and by cutting them some slack we learn to cut some slack for ourselves when we most need it as well. Don’t you agree?

    • *Laughing* Yes, sometimes we must come up with the most drastic of excuses for people like the rapper dude… but whatever works, right? And yes, I agree that we can certainly be more loving to ourselves when we extend that same love and kindness to others… Thanks for the comment my friend.

  4. I would unleash a can of whoop-ass on the dude… then I would breathe and become sane again… But you see… this is why I am here reading. LOL

  5. It seems to me that once that music blaring, SUV parking place hop steals your space one has a choice to make flame or stay sane. I flamed a very nice man from my internet provider becasue he couldn’t fix my internet. Now I feel awful about unloading on him.

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