Emotions are a crucial part of our lives and they are fascinating.
Several recent books will help you understand. Lazarus & Lazarus
(1996) explain how emotions are aroused and their effects, including
the impact on our health (see chapter 5). Goleman (1995) argues that
we overemphasize academic IQ and neglect emotional IQ (knowing
and handling our gut feelings and impulses, self-motivation, people
skills). You might gain further insight into your feelings from several
other books: Averill & Nunley (1992) for being more creative in your
emotional life, Keen (1992a) for just exploring your emotions, Felder
(1988) for getting rid of your "emotional baggage," Preston (1993) for
working through emotional distress, and Kinder (1993) for
understanding why (a biological or brain chemistry orientation) you
feel the way you do and then for changing those feelings.
Learning to produce desired emotions
Being able to relax at will is a handy skill. Most people can learn to
do so. There are many methods but they all have much in common.
No one relaxation technique is best for everyone. Madders (1997)
provides a practical, detailed guide to many relaxation exercises. Your
first task, then, is to find a method that works well for you. Three
methods will be described here: (1) deep muscle relaxation, (2)
recorded relaxation instructions, and (3) Benson's method. In addition,
relaxation via suggestion is provided in method #2, meditation is
described in method #5, self-hypnosis in chapter 14, and many other
approaches are possible: progressive relaxation (more complicated
than deep-muscle relaxation), taking a nap, taking a warm bath,
getting a massage, daydreaming, praying, gardening, reading, simple
work or hobbies. After learning a good method for you, the major
problem is taking the time to relax when you need to.
The Anxiety Panic Internet Resources Web site describes various
disorders and provides suggestions about how to Relax
sure to see desensitization and meditation later.
To reduce tension and overcome general feelings of anxiety.
To counter-condition fears and phobic reactions, as in
desensitization (method #6).
To counteract panic reactions and to counteract the constant
activity of a workaholic or social addict.