Tag Archives: extreme

7 Steps to Dealing with Extreme Emotions

Do you ever feel like your emotions are so intense, you’d just rather not experience them?

These may be toxic emotions, like anger, jealousy, or guilt. But they may be neutral or even positive, but the intensity of the feeling is almost too much to bear.

While fielding questions in the heart of NYC’s Union Square for The Chopra Well series, SPIRITUAL SOLUTIONS, Deepak was approached by Kersten with the predicament: “How do I deal with extreme emotions?” In the past, Kersten said, she has tried to avoid her emotions. Now when she experiences them, they “come in great force.”

This seems to be a conundrum in our culture. Americans especially love getting emotional over their favorite football teams and the latest controversies of political campaigns. But in our personal lives, who wants to be the one laughing the loudest at the movie theater or saying “I love you” first to a sweetheart? Balance is a virtue; moderation is key.

In response to Kersten’s dilemma, Deepak shares a 7-step process to release emotional toxins. It may come as surprise to many, though, that the process focuses on experiencing emotions fully and then releasing those that get in the way. The steps originally featured in Deepak’s book, The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, and follow as such:

1.     Take responsibility for your present emotion.
2.     Feel it in your body.
3.     Label your feeling.
4.     Express what you feel.
5.     Share what you feel with someone you trust.
6.     Release the toxic feeling through a ritual.
7.     Celebrate the release and move on.

As you work through the steps, imagine that you are metabolizing the emotion. Your body, mind, and soul need to process feelings, just as you process food or toxins, so that they don’t make you ill. Don’t shy away from the experience, as raw as it might get.

First, take responsibility for what your body and mind are experiencing. Feelings occur within you, though they may be triggered by external stimuli. There are always alternate ways of responding. Deepak emphasizes that we have the power to feel and respond exactly as we wish.

Feel the emotion in your body. Close your eyes and meditate on the feeling. You may experience sensations in certain parts of your body – tension, tingling, aching. Notice the feeling without any attachment to it.

Label the feeling; identify it. The Boogie Man isn’t so scary if you learn his name is Albert. Give the feeling a name. Irritation? Fear? Anticipation? Once you label it, you already have the upper hand.

Express what you feel by saying it out loud and writing it down on a piece of paper. It can help to frame from first person, second person, and third person. This may help you understand it from a slightly new perspective.

Share the feeling with someone you trust – a loved one or friend. This will help you verbalize the progress you are making in dealing with the emotion.

Release the toxic feeling by performing a ritual. Deepak tells Kersten that this may entail burning the piece of paper on which you wrote your feelings, throwing it to the wind, singing, dancing, or doing yoga. This symbolically releases you from the experience.

Celebrate the process and get on with your life. Allow yourself to be free of the emotion and recognize the hard work you did to overcome it. Then go have some fun! You deserved it.

Do you have a problem you’d like Deepak’s help with? Submit your questions in the video’s comments section!
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Further resources:

For an even more in-depth outline of the seven steps, check out this article by Deepak Chopra.

What Are The Seven Principles of Manifesting Your Desires? Ask Deepak!

How Does Forgiveness Heal? Ask Deepak?

Memories and Emotions: All in the Mind or the Brain?

Participate in the 5-day Emotional Freedom experience at the Chopra Center.

Seven Ways to Release Anger Out of Your Body

Originally published July 2012

Extreme Devotion: Does baby tossing ritual cross the line?

What is the most “extreme” thing you’ve done for your faith?

If, for example, you alter your body in some way or fast for days on end, that’s one thing. Once you involve someone else in your devotion, though, things start to get fuzzy. In this week’s episode of “Holy Facts” on The Chopra Well, Gotham Chopra explores some of more extreme spiritual practices around the world, including a particularly alarming festival involving babies.

In this 700 year old tradition, practiced every year in Karnataka, India by Hindus and Muslims alike, parents hand their infants over to priests, who swing the youngsters back and forth before dropping them 30 feet off of a balcony. Men standing below hold a blanket taut in which to catch the screaming babies before returning them to their mothers. Devotees believe the ritual to bring the babies prosperity and good health, though children’s rights organizations around the world decry the practice as “barbaric.” And it seems a rather life-threatening thing to do for the sake of “health.”

Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 11.37.36 AMApart from the perhaps obvious problem with dropping babies off of balconies, there’s also the issue of forcing one’s devotion on another person. Is it okay for one person to engage another in their extreme and dangerous act of devotion, particularly if that other person is an innocent baby with no autonomy and no way of consenting? Maybe parents know what’s best for their children, physically and spiritually, but it would be interesting to get the baby’s perspective, especially when his or her life depends on a bunch of men with a blanket 30 feet below.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Extremely Extreme

I was thinking…

About what it means to be extreme, and how that changes from time to time.

For example, traditionally the Aghora sect of Hinduism has, at least in part, at least according to my understanding, embraced practices that would seem extreme to non-Aghori Hindus.

Or just about anybody else. Meditating in graveyards, maybe on corpses, inviting a relationship with what others would shun, in order to arrive at acceptance of, and relationship with, Reality. They had no use for the dogma of the elite—nor the snootiness that often accompanied. In going against the momentum of mediocrity, they attempted to engage in living alchemy and embrace Reality. Of course, there are other examples of individuals preferring to live according to a Truth that landed them in trouble with the presiding ruling class or Powers that Be (or Were). Saint Francis. Jesus. Guru Arjun Dev. Boston Tea Party. You get the idea.

It has occurred to me that, today, going against the tide would have to look very different from how it would have had to look a century ago. Or even quarter of a century. These days extreme is the soup du jour. From Fear Factor to Extreme Makeover to people You Tubing your latest stunts (“this is me launching myself into a brick wall,” etc.), to photos of naked musicians covered in blood adorning popular magazines, to speeding up football (which is kind of cool, actually…see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/05/magazine/05Football-t.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a210) it is hard to think of what it would be that modern society would shun as too extreme.

What would be the most extreme thing we could do now? What would out-extreme extreme? The thing we could do that would establish us as serious swimmers against the tide, as shaking off the status quo and becoming situated in our selves?

How about this? Slow down. Surrender ambition. Stop.

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