Thursday, August 06, 2009

Judith Orloff - Are You Emotionally Free?

Interesting article from the Psychology Today blogs.

Are You Emotionally Free?

Steps to freeing yourself.

Our society is in the midst of an emotional meltdown. People are restless, volatile, our tempers about to blow. In the past year, Prozac was prescribed for over thirty million people. Domestic violence occurs in one out of six of households. Half of our marriages end in divorce.

None of this is how we want life to be. Our pressure cooker society pushes us to our emotional limits. We deserve relief from getting crucified by daily stresses. This book empowers you to attain this high quality of life and to handle stress artfully. I'm excited to present practical new tools for mastering your emotions in our hyper-tense world. It's lunacy to put up with being chronically anxious, fatigued, or depressed as so many of us have. I rebel against that cheerless status quo, and hope you will too.

Emotional Freedom offers the answer to reclaiming your happiness and heart. What is emotional freedom? It means increasing your ability to love by cultivating positive emotions and compassionately witnessing and transforming negative ones. It means keeping your center without absorbing the negativity of others. These fundamental living skills liberate you from fear and let you navigate adversity without attacking, losing your cool, or being derailed by it.

I wrote this book because, as an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA, I work in a mainstream medical system where the spiritual/intuitive aspects of emotions aren't understood. During my UCLA psychiatric training, we treated depression and anxiety, as biochemical imbalances requiring medication. I'd meet with patients for fifteen minutes every few weeks, write a prescription, then send them home. Though I never saw medications as the whole solution, I saw many patients experience at least partial "symptom relief," an undeniable relief of suffering. However, in the next two decades of medical practice, I've learned that emotional freedom involves much, much more.

The intellect, stunning as it may be, has restricted vision when it comes to emotions. This is why bringing intuition to the feeling-realm is so liberating. Intuition is a potent wisdom not mediated by the linear mind--a practical, smart, decision-making aid. Intuition can be a hunch, a dream, a "knowing," specific guidance, a gut feeling, or a warning of danger.

Emotions also have an intuitive language that begs to be decoded in our bodies--"subtle energies" that move through us that can be sensed. These are what Chinese medicine calls "chi," our vital life force. We feel emotions internally, while their energy expands beyond our bodies. Similarly, other people's emotional energy impacts us.
Today, I am a woman who travels many worlds. My approach to emotional freedom blends traditional and nontraditional realms. In this book, I'll discuss the four major components of emotions that shape your health and mood: biology, subtle energy, psychology, and spirituality. It's impossible to grasp how we tick emotionally without a cosmic perspective; everything about us, including our biology, is an expression of the divine.

A first step towards achieving emotional freedom is to know where you currently stand. Here is a sample from "The Emotional Freedom Test" in my book.

1. If I'm angry with someone, I'll breathe and
center myself before I react.

2. When I'm filled with self-doubt or fear
I treat myself lovingly.

3. When stuck in traffic or if something
doesn't happen on my timetable, I
have patience.

4. After a hard day, I focus on what I'm
grateful for rather than beating myself up
for what has gone wrong.

5. I have empathy for others but I don't
become their therapist or absorb their
emotional pain.

Answering "yes" to 4-5 questions means you are experiencing emotional freedom. "2-3"yeses indicates some emotional freedom. 1-2 "yeses" indicate a low level. Zero "yeses" indicates you are not enjoying a lot of emotional freedom but you can start to make change now

* * *

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's new book "Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life" (Harmony Books, 2009)

Judith Orloff, MD, is the author of Emotional Freedom. Check out this book and free articles on her website Dr. Orloff is a UCLA psychiatrist who synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy. and spirituality.

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