The ABCs of Emotional Distress

Emotional distress tends to get in the way of common sense. Worried, angry, depressed, guilty people dont handle situations particularly well. It is pretty hard for anyone to effectively manage a problem when they or others around them are emotional.

In most situations, emotional distress creates speed bumps for effective action.

Minimizing emotional distress requires an understanding of its origins and its modifiers - what makes it worse or better. This is where the ABCs come in. If you want to modify or change something, you need to know how it works.

If you dont, you could easily put effort into fixing things that dont actually matter.


When it comes to our emotional distress, what really matters?

Lets think about this using happiness as an example.

When it comes to happiness, what actually matters?

It can't be money. Money doesn't guarantee happiness, and poor people can be happy.

It can't be health. Health doesn't guarantee happiness, and sick people can be happy.

It can't be education. Education doesn't guarantee happiness, and there are plenty of people without formal education who are happy.

It can't be family. Having a family doesn't guarantee happiness, and people without a family can be happy.

It can't be skill or mastery. Skill doesn't guarantee happiness and unskilled people can be happy.


Happiness ABCs

So what's the point?

Getting, winning, earning, having things wont guarantee happiness.

If things or events = A

If happiness = C

If what you think unconsciously (instinct) and consciously (reflection) = B

then C can occur in response to A. But the nature of C is not determined by A alone, it is also modified by B

The emotion of happiness does not come automatically from getting things.

The emotion of happiness also requires happy thoughts - B modifies C

Sad ABCs

What is B again?

B is the thought you have about A. When instinct is at work, B will be unconscious.

If B was a sad thought, then B would be causing a different C in exactly the same situation.

The situations we find ourselves in do not solely determine our emotions.


Our thoughts define the emotions of our experience.

The thoughts, or Bs that are caused by instinct and that pop into our head can be triggered by things that happen to us - things that happen outside of our bodies.

Also thoughts that pop into our head can be triggered by things that are happening inside of our bodies.

If you are hungry or tired or sick or fed-up by past problems, your inside self will be tense, wornout, aching, irritated.

The amount of frustration you are carrying around with you will have a significant impact on your emotional distress.

Emotional Myth

We have been taught that the way to be happy and satisfied with life is to successfully achieve, get and win.

But it doesn't matter what you have, it's what you think that counts. And it's what you do that matters!

Even though your emotions are influenced by what you have (or what you don't have), your emotions are modified by what you think.

You could be enjoying the rush of water around your ankles, the warmth of the sand on your feet and the cool breeze in your face. In that moment, in that place you could be happy.

And then .... all it takes is a thought to change it all.

"We should do this more often, why don't we make the time for this? What's wrong with us?"

Now you are unhappy.

Emotional intensity both positive and negative is generated by instinct  creating thoughts, not by what you have or don't have.

Clearing away the fog of instinct can help.



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