Unlock the Power of Feeling Management: Build Stronger Relationships

Feeling Management: The Key to Stronger Relationships

As the founder of Affect Relational Therapy, I’m here to shed light on a topic that holds the key to meaningful connections and true happiness – understanding and controlling your feelings. Why is this so important? Because as you know, life can take unexpected turns that instantly shift our moods and emotional states.

You’re driving down the street, enjoying your day, when someone lays on their horn, startling you into anger. Or you arrive home, say something innocuous to your partner, and suddenly feelings are spiraling out of control. Where do we have command in these situations? While I may not be a control expert, I am an authority on feelings. 

My mission is to help you understand how feelings work – their origins, triggers, and crucially, the points where you can intervene and make conscious choices. Those fleeting moments of calm clarity are opportunities to create enormous positive changes in your relationships and imbue life with more meaning and happiness.

Why is Feeling Management Important?

The secret lies in what you’re paying attention to. It’s easy to think we know, but the truth is, we’re often guided subconsciously by the feelings and emotions that profoundly shape our inner worlds and thought processes. What controls you is what captures your attention – and for humans, that tends to be our feeling states.

The Power of Attention in Feeling Management

Consider this: in the midst of an argument with a loved one, what dominates your awareness? The anger, defensiveness, fear of being judged or abandoned, the shame – these are affects, biologically hardwired feeling states that have hijacked your mind. You’re not paying attention to logic or compromise, but raw emotion.

Memories are intrinsically linked to feelings. Recall a cherished moment and you’ll re-experience the interest, enjoyment, or pride that colored it initially. Dredge up a painful recollection and you’re flooded with fear, disgust, or shame. As a psychologist, this is a core truth – what you pay attention to, what defines your values and aspirations, stems directly from feeling states.

Feelings Drive Our Thoughts and Goals

By understanding what positively drives you and the obstacles hindering those desires, I can guide you towards your goals. Because thought doesn’t precede emotion – feeling comes first. When you feel good, you think positive thoughts. A foul mood breeds negativity. The stage for all cognition is set by your affects and feeling states.

Armed with this knowledge about you, we can tackle the hindrances, but more crucially, chart a course towards capturing the “good stuff” – the positive feeling states you wish to embrace. 

The Key to Feeling Management: Attention Redirection

The game-changing skill?

Redirecting your attention, arguably the most powerful tool for taking control of your emotions and nurturing meaningful, happy relationships.

In the heat of an argument, when you’re ensnared by anger, fear, or shame, you actually have a multitude of options – if you can recognize that your feelings have “captured” you. Just developing that self-awareness can be transformative. Mature couples adeptly cut through emotional turmoil by acknowledging “We’re caught up right now. Let’s pause this and revisit it calmly when we have more control.”

Because losing control is terrifying – it catalyzes profound shame about our behavior and fear of lasting damage to the relationship. But in those fleeting moments of clarity, you can choose to politely disengage and state “This is serious, and I want to solve it, but not in this unproductive state. I care about you, so let’s regroup when we’re calmer.”

Not All Emotional Capture is Negative

Not all emotional “capture” is negative though. Think about the warm, wonderful feelings of new love and infatuation – you’re deliciously ensnared by affects of enjoyment and interest that evoke vivid emotional memories and bonding desires. We’re biologically programmed to crave that joyful attentiveness, as any infant or toddler exemplifies in their fascination with the world.

Understanding Affects for Better Relationships

The nine core affects like enjoyment, interest, anger, fear, and shame are hardwired into us from birth (any parent recognizes them on their baby’s face). While some like disgust or fear alert us to threats, others like interest facilitate learning and human attachment – the positive “capture” we should embrace.

Understanding affects provides profound insights into yourself and others. For instance, babies elicit unconscious smiles from strangers through displays of enjoyment. But get that same baby wailing in distress on an airplane, and the entire cabin is flooded with annoyance or anger – our hardwired affective reactions.

Or consider how quickly pain, bodily urgencies like needing the bathroom, or even distressing thoughts about potential embarrassment can completely monopolize your attention and emotional state. These are prime examples of how we get “captured” – affects, physical sensations, and the specter of shame highjacking our consciousness.

The control we have lies in recognizing and shifting our attention away from negative feeling states and toward positive ones. It’s a deceptively simple yet powerful skill – making the mindful choice to stop emotional derailment and refocus on your core values and what makes you feel proud, accomplished, loved.

Mastering Attention Redirection for a Fulfilling Life

By mastering this attention redirection, you empower yourself to shape your emotional experience, nurture healthy relationships, and live a truly meaningful, fulfilling life. You become the curator of your captured states, strategically installing uplifting emotions as the operant lenses through which you perceive the world.

In our fast-paced society of constant stimuli, this ethical “mind-hacking” is invaluable for rising above distressing affects and attentional hijackers. It’s the ultimate freedom – loosening the vice-grip of automatic thoughts and knee-jerk emotional reactivity to create a passionate, purposeful, deeply satisfying existence.

So keep following me on this journey of emotional awakening. Like, subscribe, and stay tuned as we continue exploring the secrets of affect regulation, mindful presence, and connection. By harnessing your attention, you hold the power to author a remarkable life story embodied by meaningful happiness.