Psychological Self-Help

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feelings are most intense. It was the wealthy and ambitious who
committed suicide in 1929, not the poor. The college graduate who
always wanted and expected to become a doctor is more crushed by
rejection letters from Medical School than the graduate who rather
expected the rejections. 
Since emotions seem to be designed by nature to help us
adapt --to solve problems--we tend to get "used to" positive
conditions (a loving, giving spouse) but our fears and hostilities
continue on and on upsetting and urging us to "do something." As
Frijda observes, the human mind was apparently not made for
happiness, but for survival. Happiness is possible, but it may take
intentional thought and effort; it is not always an automatic process.
But anger, grief, insecurity, and jealousy are automatic, sometimes
even unstoppable. 
The desire to remove serious emotional hurts from our life can
become so primary that our strong feelings over-ride reason, close
our minds to other viewpoints, and dominate our actions.
Suicide is a way to escape pain and hurts. Likewise, the enraged ex-
spouse can hardly think of anything else, certainly not any
explanations for the former spouse's wrongdoings. The badness of the
ex-spouse becomes an obsession, an unshakeable conviction which
will often last forever, regardless of other peoples' opinions. This
single-minded view is a characteristic of emotions: the fearful flyer can
not consider the high probability of his/her flight arriving safely; the
jealous person is absolutely certain the lover is interested in someone
else; the insecure spouse feels sure his/her partner doesn't really care
for him/her. Yet, there sometimes seems to be a consideration of
the probable consequences at some semi-conscious level because
the fearful passenger usually doesn't get off the plane and we don't
always immediately dump the "unfaithful" lover or "indifferent"
spouse. Indeed, many "healthy" people tend to distort their view of a
situation in such a way that their negative feelings and dangers are
minimized and/or their positive feelings are maximized. Fortunately,
under favorable conditions, reason can help us see other
possibilities, see the likely long-term consequences of an action, see
the implications of a code of ethics, etc. Reason (cognition) can modify
the impulsive actions of the more rigidly mechanistic emotions. 
One of Frijda's points is that emotions, as well as behavior and
reason, are lawful and understandable (but not logical). The more you
know about those laws, the better your chances of controlling your
unwanted emotions. 
 
Learning to control our emotions
We are probably always feeling emotions; they seem to impose
themselves on us; we ordinarily don't "will" to feel certain ways. The
range of emotions is extensive. We can feel terrible, as in horror,
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