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Master Your Emotions
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Listen in 26 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Thibaut Meurisse

Master Your Emotions

Understanding how our emotions work and overcoming negativity

Master Your Emotions is the ultimate practical manual for the management of emotions that everyone should be handed at birth, to understand how to juggle the complexities of being human. Thibaut Meurisse teaches us to see that our emotions are in fact transitory, and as such, destined to disappear. He also invites us to pay attention to the power they have to either enrich or inhibit our lives. By understanding how our emotions work, we can use them to our advantage, like a sort of compass which can show us whether we are moving in the right direction, or if we need to correct our course. 

Master Your Emotions
Read in 20 min.
Listen in 26 min.

The survival mechanism in human beings naturally tends to look for and remove all risks and threats

To fully understand what emotions are, we need to take a step back, and understand that if we have made it this far in the history of human evolution, it is because an innate survival mechanism has enabled us to continue to populate this planet we call earth.

The men and women who came before us had to face daily challenges that put their lives at risk. Despite the fact that our current situation differs greatly from the way things were, the way our brain works has not changed: it is still programmed to be on the look-out for possible danger, always ready to detect anything that can go wrong, and to ignore everything that is positive.

Way back when, being rejected by one’s own tribe could have proven to be a threat to a person’s survival; today our fear of being rejected causes us pain and suffering, even though the consequences of that happening are in no way comparable to what would have happened to someone ousted from their tribe years ago.

All this is to say that we have a natural bias towards negative events and our brain does not know how to distinguish imaginary threats from real ones. The truth is that our brains were not programmed to make us happy, but to ensure our survival.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that activates our pleasure centre; everything that gives us pleasure increases its levels, and this increase gives us a sense of fulfilment. The primary function of a dopamine release is again, survival, because it pushes us to do things such as satisfy our hunger and find a mate, it helps keep us alive and ensures the survival of the human race.

Our society sells us a version of dopamine which, in the long term, leaves us feeling unhappy, because we become addicted to it. Marketers have perfectly understood how this pay-off and pleasure mechanism works, and they use it to get us hooked on social networks, our digital devices and food or other material objects. In addition, our mind gets used to new conditions easily, and that is the mechanism behind our belief that “when I have *insert object here*, I will be happy”. Once we obtain that thing that we had dreamt would make us forever happy, it should, in theory, leave us eternally satisfied, but what actually happens after a short while, is that we find ourselves down in the dumps again, and dreaming of the next object or experience that is going to make our lives better. In the long term, it is not external events that determine our level of happiness, but our attitude to life itself that influences our ability to be happy.


The key ideas of "Master Your Emotions"

The survival mechanism in human beings naturally tends to look for and remove all risks and threats
The ego is our history and our identity; it is neither good nor bad, it is the result of our lack of self awareness
Emotions come and go and they work like a magnet for thoughts and situations vibrating on the same frequency
Negative emotions are not the problem, the problem is the mental suffering we cause with our own thoughts
Our emotions are not only influenced by our thoughts and beliefs, but also by our body, our voice, the food we eat, by how we sleep, the words we speak and our environment
Emotions can be strengthened by interpretation, identification, and repetition; if we remove at least one of these three factors, they lose their hold over us
We can condition our minds to feel more positive emotions that help us to create a reality in which we feel good
Negative emotions help us understand ourselves and can let us know when we need to make some changes: we can use them to grow
We are responsible for our stress levels and worries and depression could be seen as an invitation to establish greater contact with our reality
Take-home message
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