Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings | Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara

Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings | Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara

Translator: Leonardo Silva
Reviewer: Mile Živković I’m 19 years old. I’m a camp counselor
to northern Minnesota summer camp, and I’m on a hayride. It’s a beautiful night, and I’m listening in
to the conversation next to me, trying to figure out how to break in, just keeping kind of to myself, not sure where it was going,
how I could break in. And just as we’re about to turn
into the girls camp to the boys camp, which is where we were headed, one of the counselors
turns to me, looks at me and elbows me in the ribs and says, “Hey, Joan, you know what? You’re boring.” (Laughter) “Whoa! Boring? What?” It felt like she took a fork,
stabbed it in my gut and just spun it around. Now, most of us have our own versions
of those gut-punch moments. I’m not sure what it is for you,
but that was a big moment for me. And that moment and a few other
key life experiences really sparked my interest
to become a psychologist and to understand what it was that really helps someone develop
self-esteem and self-confidence. Across 35 years of research, tens of thousands of hours
of counseling other individuals and teaching and supervising, there was one element
that I remained captivated by and still am to this day, and it’s unpleasant feelings. Unpleasant feelings. More than anything else, what I found is what holds people back is their inability or their challenges
with dealing with unpleasant feelings. Yet, nobody really teaches us what to do
or how to handle them. It seems so silly, so silly: I’m excited about unpleasant feelings. (Laughter) Who the heck gets excited
about unpleasant feelings? If you can experience and move
through eight unpleasant feelings, you can pursue anything you want in life. How? One choice, 8 feelings, 90 seconds. It’s a simple formula, and it’s one my colleagues and clients
affectionately call the Rosenberg reset. Now, most of us believe that our happiness in life comes
from the big choices that we make. And it’s actually not the big choices. There’s a real misconception there. It’s the moment-to-moment choices. Those big choices
we think help us determine the degree of our happiness
from a day-to-day basis, or our well-being from a day-to-day basis. Not true. It’s actually the little choices,
the moment-to-moment ones. Ponder the moments
that you have denied your feelings as opposed to pay attention to them. It’s those that matter. That’s what’s going to free you up. So, let’s unpack the formula. One choice: Make the choice
to stay present, fully present. Be aware of and in touch with
your moment-to-moment experience. It’s about awareness, not avoidance. Think of a time that you’ve had
a conversation with somebody. Perhaps you’ve been disappointed
in a conversation with your friend, or with your partner, or your spouse. And check in with yourself here. Be gentle. Did you do what most of us do? Did you run? Did you hide? Did you shut down? Did you distract in really obvious ways, like, I don’t know, food? Alcohol or drugs? Sex? Pornography? Shopping? Social media? Did you distract or escape
in less obvious ways, like tightening up,
tightening those muscles, or holding your breath, or swallowing hard, just to try to keep those feelings at bay? Or did you stay fully present, aware of and in touch with
your moment-to-moment experience? That’s the best choice, except it’s your choice. You make that one. My prescription: stay present, stay fully present. You can do this. In fact, we can all do this. It just takes a willingness, it takes a formula and it takes a decision. Let’s go to the second step. The second step has to do with dealing
with eight unpleasant feelings. They’re the unpleasant
feelings of sadness, shame, helplessness, anger, vulnerability, embarrassment, disappointment and frustration. Now, most of us like to see
those feelings as bad or negative. They’re not bad or negative. They’re simply unpleasant
and uncomfortable. So, going forward, can we make an agreement
that you’re going to shift your language and it’s no longer going to be
bad or negative feelings? They’re simply going to be
unpleasant and uncomfortable. It’s an important shift. Why then do we want to avoid
all those feelings? Well, we’re afraid that,
if they start, they’ll never stop, or they’ll be too intense
and they will overwhelm us, or we will lose control
or we’ll go out of control. Except the key here
is why they’re also so important. Why does it matter so much? And it matters because our experience
of feeling capable in the world, of experiencing emotional strength, is directly tied to our capacity to both experience and move through
those unpleasant feelings. It it all eight at once? No, it’s not. It’s one or a few at a time. Like, we can feel disappointment
and anger at the same time. So, again, if you can experience and move
through those eight unpleasant feelings of sadness, shame, helplessness, anger, vulnerability, embarrassment,
disappointment and frustration, then you will experience
growing confidence and emotional strength. And what do I mean by this “move through”? Well, neuroscientists suggest that, when an emotional
feeling gets triggered, chemicals are released by our brain
that flush through our blood stream and they activate bodily sensations. It’s sort of a biochemical rush, and then flush. Let me translate. And this is super important. What we feel emotionally is felt in the body first,
as a bodily or physical sensation. It doesn’t feel good. Let me repeat that. What we feel emotionally is experienced in the body first, as a bodily or physical sensation. That’s what we want to distract from! That’s what we want to get away from. It’s not that we don’t want to feel
something emotionally. We absolutely do want to feel emotionally! We want the whole range of feelings. We just don’t want the bodily sensations
that let us know what we’re feeling. What unpleasant feelings might you be moving away from? What might be holding you back? Stop and notice where you might
experience it in your body. And – And if there’s a time
where you ever said to yourself, “I never want to experience that again,” it’s probably some of those – Those feelings are ones to move towards, to start to embrace. For me, it was involved
with that gut-punch. Embarrassment was really difficult. So was disappointment, and so was vulnerability. But let’s get to the solution. The solution has to do
with riding the wave. Remember that biochemical rush
I mentioned a few moments ago? That biochemical rush
we can think of as a wave, and, when that wave
gets fired off in the body, it lasts roughly 60 to 90 seconds, which means feelings are temporary. So, from the time
it gets fired off in the brain and it goes through our blood stream
and then dissipates: 60 to 90 seconds. You can handle 60 to 90 seconds, right? Heck! That’s less than half a song! (Laughter) All of us can do that. And if you think of a beach – Let me draw a parallel:
If you think of a beach, then, as you walk along that shoreline, what you’ll notice is that the waves
can come up to tumultuously, they can come up moderately,
they can come up mildly. And, if we’re walking
along that shoreline, we’ll notice that the waves seem
to just hang and linger for a moment, before they subside. And you know what?
That’s also true for our feelings. They can come up tumultuously,
moderately, mildly, and they seem to linger
or hang for a moment, and then, they always subside. That’s the beauty of it. “Always subside.” Is it one wave? No, it’s not. It’s more than one wave. Any time we think about the same memory, it’s going to fire off
that same approximate wave. And grief? Grief is waves of waves, the feelings of anger,
and sadness, and disappointment kind of all mixed together. Anybody who’s experienced
a significant loss knows this. Those waves can come up so tumultuously
and unexpectedly or spontaneously, and it’s like we’re just
kind of left with them, and they will always subside. So, the thing again here for you to do is to stay present to the experience, surf those ninety-second waves,
surf them any way you want, and just let them ride out their course. In the moment, you’ll feel centered,
you’ll feel calm and you’ll feel relief. Insights will follow. And, with consistent practice, you may even be able to unhook
from old-life stories. I have been the joyful recipient
of countless stories of individuals who have
mended relationships, who have engaged
in courageous conversations, who have pursued goals
that they wanted to pursue. And the most important one I think
is when people come back and tell me that they feel so much more
comfortable in their own skin. That’s the benefit. I thought when I was called boring
was a low moment in my life. It turns out that moment shifted me, and it’s enabled me
to shift countless thousands of lives. So, the next time you experience
unpleasant feelings, embrace them, join me in the excitement, know that they are the path back
to you being more fully you. Stay present. Stay fully present. Experience them. Surf those waves. It won’t take years. It won’t even take a day. In fact, it will take just a moment. Start right now. Thank you. (Applause)

100 Replies to “Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings | Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara”

  1. What about teaching respect and dignity. Everyone Matters. Dr Joan Rosenberg, I would prefer your profession had less to do with fixing what may never have become broken. The DSM definitions focused on how to help nurture the nature of a child. Each persons ability to share their individual talents without bias.

  2. I needed this. I'm not at mastery. It's still a challenge. But understanding the 90 second wave helped me in my present unpleasantnessness.

  3. I prayed very hard for the Almighty AbbA Father to share love to my family, and to please help me love again… Minutes later I found your two wonderful YouTubes. I am going to "Live again." Thank you so much dear Joan.

  4. I hope this does work for some people, but my negative emotions do not dissipate in 90 seconds. If something hurts me emotionally the pain never goes away.

  5. Extremely interesting! Regarding how our emotions are insights into things that we "feel" we know deep inside, but can't really identify of articulate.
    Seems similar to some of JBP's stuff.

  6. This lovely lady and her very nice wave analogy has never heard of tsunamis? THESE do not last for 60 – 90 seconds I assure you!

  7. Really helpful and insightful video. I am wondering though, how come stress was not one of the unpleasant feelings

  8. Love this video! Thank you so much. I would just like further clarification. On a day to day practical level, how does one actually ride the wave of emotions?

  9. I have the opposite problem: the unpleasant feelings dont last 60-90 seconds for me. I get stuck in them and they last for days, weeks and even months. They lead to depression and hopelessness. I don't know how to move through them quickly.

  10. In my life, I've been fortunate enough to befriend people from all over the world. It would be safe to say that in my experience, 80% of the time, Americans are afraid of being vulnerable and expressive with their feelings. If you want to get along with everybody, you can't be too "real." 🙄 😕 Being authentic takes courage and self-esteem (not ego). This talk makes a lot of sense but sadly, common sense is not common practice.

  11. Good talk! Thank you. Meditation and Yoga taught me to "lean in" feel it. You can feel, watch and then think about your reaction. It sounds like BS. But it actually works. She is right. And You Aren't Boring!! Thank you! ♡ Tauney

  12. S. Shaved F.
    What ?
    S.adness, s.hame, h.elplessness, a.nger, v.ulnerability, e.mbarrassment, d.isappointment, f.rustration.
    – – –
    I like the idea of exploring each and processing each after the emotion's wave passes through your body. But I'm unclear how to do that in the heat of the moment, say during an argument an issue at work.
    Oh well, guess you have to buy the book :
    90 Seconds to a Life You Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting Confidence, Resilience, and Authenticity
    — Rosenberg

  13. Rush and flush 60-90 seconds of…

    I choose to feel it and let it go.

  14. We feel the emotions First, in the body because mind is in dna Not in the Brain.
    The Brain does not create any chemical then send it rushing through the body.
    Physical science is very behind in the area &a its teaching a Lie.
    Dna is in every cell, Emotion is in every cell ing, feeling an emotion in the body is Litterally feeling within every cell of the body.

  15. What does she mean present moment? What are the details? Is it staying with the punch that she received, being punched in the guts, I guess she means, stay with the unpleasant moments is what she means.

  16. This topic is very similar to that of the Buddha’s teachings.
    “Be at the present moment”
    It all makes sense when you talk about our physiologic change involving the working of the mind.
    It really enlightens my heart.
    Thank you so much.

  17. I was suffering from high level anxiety about 6 months and it was very,very unpleasant experience. At one point, I could not take it anymore so I decided to work on myself as much as I can.. I cannot explain to you guys how much staying in the moment, excepting yourself and believing that everything will pass is essential for your mental health. Experiencing emotions and letting them go was key to freeing myself from anxiety. Now, I am trying to say to everybody that emotions are just EMOTIONS, you feel them and let them go, over some period of time, they'll notice how much less power they have over you so they are gonna to disappear and you'll stay in wonder..Where the heck they are ??? Same goes for bad thoughts.. Take care of yourself people, wish you all peace !!!

  18. This is my #1 most helpful Tedx vids I've ever seen. I began that very day to ride the waves of feelings & the transformation to my inner self was almost immediate, thank you!

  19. One of the best Ted talks I have ever listened to with good advice on controlling your emotions rather than letting your emotions control you.

  20. Ye, thank you Dr Rosenberg, that was one of the best Ted Talks or any talks I have heard in a very long while, very useful and very [practical! Loved it and thank you for being here on my journey to guide the way forward. I started practising straight away and I can already feel the power lurching behind so called unfcomfortable feelings; they are a power house! I am now looking at the opposites of these feeling, cos I now understand it is just aflip coin, head or tails = cannot be separated and its only by accepting both sides, do you get the balance necessary. can intellectualize it but the proof of the pudding is in the eating! thank you!

  21. it's only 1 unpleasant feeling called discomfort
    learn to embrace it and it'll no longer exist
    fear of distress and distress intolerance holds u back
    good luck everyone!
    edit: I almost didn't post this comment due to anxiety 🙂
    what are you stopping yourself from doing?

  22. I've experienced five of the eight unpleasant feelings in the last few hours. But, luckily I was aware enough to get out of a possible "scam" before being scammed. This too has passed. TY, Dr. Joan for your talk.

  23. I'm not sure if she's mentioned SHAME…? That's one of my most difficult emotions I sometimes deal with. I'm listening, admittedly while scribbling and colouring my art, deciding what dissonant colour can sit next to the other, after all nature does it!!! Just waiting for her to say 'shame'… So we'll see then.

  24. What about if they are not 90 second waves and the feelings are persistent through the day… And it makes you anxious and sick in your stomach, the feeling of not being enough, or being abandoned.

  25. I am a couple minutes into the video, but find it mind blowing that someone would "study" self-esteem for thirty plus years!
    I may not finish this video, but just wanted to comment that. It's early!

  26. This talk is focused on pretty strange area what we feel, and we can control our sadness fear by denying negative feelings. important

  27. As far as we know, we are the only beings that have 8 unpleasant feelings. That and language is what makes us unique. Feeling is our highest achievement.

  28. I think I must have a mental "timeline" for grief, but I can see now that denying the emotions that come up because I should be "ok" by now just makes tidal waves. This is amazing..thank you so much!

  29. Dear Dr Joan, I was quite surprised fear wasn't on the list.
    To me fear is the hardest emotion to deal with… should it be approached differently than the 8 you mentioned?

  30. That felt incomplete to me.. she didn't say the reason they are.. they mean something.. we have to contemplate on them.. there is strong reason you get these feelings.. an unresolved overlooked issue.. your being more intelligent is helping you understand and nudge you towards stuff you have been ignoring.. if she could have spoken about this.. would be great

  31. I dont know how you can get your emotion go away in just 90s. I feel annoyed and uncomfortable the whole time someone I detest presents. And tbh I'm lost the whole time she's talking.. just doesn't speak.. seems like whenever she's about to say the important word she gets carried away, and that takes too long for my patience to follow and see what the word is. With all due respect, I think she's still boring, at least in this presentation, not that I'm any better.

  32. I guess I was raised in a society that emphasizes more on intellectual and material development. As a result I never learn how to handle my own emotion and actually tend to avoid people's emotions, it's certainly as scary as ocean waves can be but I will never be a human unless I can live with my emotions

  33. Understanding the biology of emotions/feelings helps… now i will practice noticing and being present. Thank you very much.

  34. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. Your insightful talk is exactly what I needed to hear on this very day. I am most grateful!

  35. No, not for me. The sensation was like being socked its the stomach. It felt as if the wind was knocked out of me and I had issues for several wks which made me lose my appetite and I lost about 13 lbs in 3 wks as a result. I was dumped with no warning with not even having had a first fight. Now I am just starting to be able to get my appetite back. I do not want to go through this ever again.

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