As Alexander Green has discussed in detail before, investors often react emotionally to their investments, which can lead to irrational decisions.
In today’s article, author, therapist and life coach Dr. Joel F. Wade reminds readers of the connection between emotions and wealth. Joel discusses how you can become an even better investor and control your emotions by first understanding them.
Don’t let your emotions get in the way of a more profitable tomorrow.
Last week, I talked about how to master our emotions. I equated mastering our emotions to mastering surfing and going with the flow.
Our mood system has its own liquid form.
If we try to ignore it or persevere too rigidly in opposition of it, we can get into trouble, and depression can result.
One of the functions of our mood system is to let us know when it seems that a goal we’re working toward is actually not possible to achieve.
Jonathan Rottenberg describes this in detail in his brilliant book The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic.
In experiments with mice where they are unable to escape, they struggle for a time, but once it’s clear to them they can’t escape, they relax, giving up the fight. It’s called learned helplessness.
This may look like a bad thing. In fact, these experiments are used by drug companies to find new candidates for antidepressant medication.
If a chemical makes these little critters persevere longer before giving up, that’s seen as countering depression.
But this giving up isn’t really depression – not initially, anyway.
What’s actually happening is an effective survival process. If the mice can’t really escape, continuing to struggle puts more stress on their systems, and that stress over time can be enough to kill them.
Better to relax, let go of the fight and hope for something to change for the better – which happens enough in life to make this an effective strategy. In these experiments, the mice are released after a few minutes and can get on with other things.
So what happens when we continue to struggle in an impossible situation?
Heroic and inspirational stories of perseverance encourage us to keep at it.
The grit that allows us to endure difficult times in pursuit of long-term goals is one of the strengths that can lead to a deeply satisfying and successful life.
That applies if the goal is difficult, even tremendously difficult – not if it’s impossible.
If the goal is not actually possible to achieve, our mood system tries to get us to stop.
We’ll feel tired, maybe helpless, and after a reasonable time of struggling, if we take the cue of our mood system and relax, thinking of other possibilities – including letting this particular goal go – then our mood system has done its job.
We can aim ourselves in a direction that’s more likely to be successful. We’ll feel reenergized for the next thing and get on with it.
But if we ignore our fatigued mood for too long and continue to push against the wave that reality is facing us with, then our mood system will hit us harder: “You’re not listening to me. You need to stop it, now!”… and we can feel depressed.
Continue longer and the depression can deepen.
Sometimes dangerously so…
In the Rhythm Lies the Answer
If we think of ourselves as machines, computers or steam engines, we make the mistake of thinking we need to keep pushing.
If only we could find a different program for the computer or better parts for the machine or fuel for the steam engine.
But that kind of thinking can blind us to the obvious solution.
If we think of ourselves as organic… Take a break, breathe, allow the ebb, the contraction, a bit of dormancy. If we open ourselves to a bit of daydreaming, let our thoughts extend outside the narrow focus of the specific problem, we can trust that after the contraction there will be an expansion – just as after an exhale there will be an inhale.
Just as it’s important to honor our circadian rhythms, follow our natural need for sleep and respect our basic rest-activity rhythms to allow for breaks during the day, paying attention to the rhythms of our emotions and moods can help us live healthier as well.
Not that we should let our emotions rule us – that can be disastrous in its own way – but getting to know our emotions and moods will allow us to ride them with mastery.
This rhythmic, organic quality can be a huge resource, but we each need to learn to ride our own unique waves.
When do you naturally feel more creative: in the morning, the afternoon, the evening? What time?
Chances are there’s a rhythm to it.
When do you feel most sociable?
Chances are there’s a rhythm to it.
If you’re pushing yourself to be equally focused and productive throughout the day, you may be missing the power and effectiveness of your best flow in trying to push through a natural resting ebb.
If you’re trying to function well without allowing yourself a regular sleep pattern throughout the week, you’ll be depriving yourself of your full mental and emotional resources.
If you’re trying to treat yourself like a machine, a steam engine or a computer, you’ll be missing the true power and beauty of who you are.
As wonderful as engines, machines and computers are, we aren’t any of these things.
We’re much more magnificent and complex than that.
Appreciating and mastering the beauty and rhythm of our organic, growing, learning, changing, living selves can make the difference between being pummeled by reality and feeling the exhilaration and beauty of skillfully riding the waves of life.
All my best,
P.S. My new course, Mastering Emotions, Moods and Reactions, goes into all of this in much more detail, with deep understanding and practical skills for mastering these systems and living well.
I’ve been offering it at a lower price for the holidays – take advantage of these savings while you still can!
You can also still give the gift of Mastering Emotions, Moods and Reactions to a loved one or friend, simply by using their email when you place your order. (The link will be sent to them immediately, so time your purchase accordingly.)