Why does it feel like we can’t control our emotions?

Another way to put this: Why does it feel like anxiety takes over or just happens to us against our will?

Knowing that I could get anxious against my will has been discouraging for me in the past and led me to think that I had a genetic defect that made me overly anxious. After years of research inspired by the hope that I can eliminate my anxiety triggers, I now know that being anxious isn’t a genetic defect.

This post answers why emotions seem to take over us against our will with book excerpts from a psychotherapist named Frank Mosca and a best-selling author named Barry Neil Kaufman. Both of these men specialize in helping people understand and eliminate negative emotions. I encourage you to test these explanations with your own life experience and suspect you’ll find truth in them.

Pre requisite understanding required

To fully understand this post, I believe you need to be able to honestly answer the question: “Why do humans get anxious?”. If you think you know the answer or can’t articulate an answer that you have certainty in I recommend you read my free book that will teach you in less than a day. You’ll learn why humans (us) get anxious about things so that whenever you get anxious or triggered again, you’ll know exactly why and also know what to do to find and eliminate the internal root cause of the trigger.

Why emotions seem to happen to us at the speed of light

“…we catalog our beliefs and invoke them so easily and frequently that the process feels automatic. In actuality, we can recall hundred of beliefs in a millisecond (one thousandth of a second). Speed does not eliminate choice…Instead, speed indicates just one aspect of the wonder of our neurological capabilities.

The rapidity of our thinking process enables us to take action quickly, a genetic imperative for survival. For example, we jump out of the path of an oncoming vehicle because we ignite many powerful beliefs that fuel that seemingly instantaneous actions, such as “Collision means severe physical damage, pain and even death.” An infant who might not have adopted any such belief might simply stay within the path of such a vehicle, just observe curiously, even welcome the onslaught with giggles and open arms (and without any fear). Why? Beliefs fuel feelings and actions. The infant has not yet been taught or created beliefs about the power and consequences of huge metal machines crashing into soft flesh and skeletal structures. Thus, the infant would not create the kind of emotions and avoidance behaviors that we as adults might create under similar circumstances. We turn beliefs into responses so quickly that they seem like instincts when, in fact, those deduced or acquired beliefs generate our quick reactions.

Barry Neil Kaufman – Chapter 9 of Power Dialogues (page 26 and 27)

…Now as to the speed of responses, not to worry. It has to be that way because otherwise we would never get anything done. So in each and every moment of our lives we are responding to what is happening with our own thoughts and with the actions and events of the people and things in the world. Despite the speed of our responses, we ourselves were the ones who put together the meanings and values that created the belief, then the emotion. This doesn’t mean that we don’t control our beliefs so as have that particular response. It is a matter of using…questions to identify what we believe and thereby putting ourselves in the position to change or alter that belief if we so choose. Now the really interesting thing is that so often we actually do not choose to change or alter a belief that produces unhappy feelings.

Frank Mosca, Joywords section 5

Suggested reads:

I’ve provided Amazon affiliate links to the two books I’m referring to. If you’d like to ask me more questions about the books feel free to contact me using the Contact me button at the top of my website (navigation bar).

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