Stress Awareness Month: Are Humans And Computers Similar When It Comes To Emotions?

by Doc Orman, M.D.

Stress Awarenss Month 2013 Part 2April is National Stress Awareness Month and it begins in just a few days. 

Are you ready?

There should be some great stress relief information being circulated, from both local and national sources.

This year, I’ll be supporting Stress Awareness Month by focusing on the problem of increasing anger and hostility in our society.  It’s been obvious to me, for more than 30 years now, that most people do not correctly understand how their emotions actually arise.

Mostly we believe it is the things that happen outside of us that directly cause our emotions to occur.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, when it comes to our emotions, we are much more like computers than we know.  What nonsense you say?  “Computers have nothing at all to do with human emotions” is the standard response.  Well, please read on and be ready to be surprised.

Triggers and Causes 

Human emotions have both triggers and causes: 

  • Triggers are events (usually external to us) that activate causes.
  • Causes (always within us) determine which specific emotion occurs. 

Causes are made up of the specific internal thoughts and actions within us.  For example, let’s say a friend steals money from you one day.  When you become aware of this you become very angry.  The fact that your friend stole from you was the external event that merely triggered your emotion. That you ended up feeling angry in response to this trigger means that certain anger-producing thoughts and actions patterns must have become activated within you.

Invisible, Internal Causes  

Imagine you’re sitting in front of your desktop computer.  You’ve just pressed the letter “A” on your keyboard, and the letter “A” immediately appeared on your monitor screen.   

What caused this outcome to occur?  Pressing the “A” key, right?

Not exactly.  Pressing the “A” key was just the triggering event

A software program also had to be running in the background of the computer.

Even though the software program wasn’t visible to you, it had to be there. Otherwise, the letter “A” would not have appeared on your monitor screen.

Human Emotions Have Invisible Causes Also   

When events trigger emotions within us, there is always a specific emotion-causing “program” running in the background (i.e. in our bodies).  Unfortunately, we have not been taught to understand our emotions this way.                                               

Even worse, we’ve been taught to believe external events themselves directly cause our emotions to occur.  This, in my opinion, is a gigantic failing of our education system.

Specific Emotions Always Have Specific Causes 

The interesting thing about the internal causes of human emotions is they are exactly the same for all human beings. 

For example, the specific thought patterns and action patterns that cause anger to occur for you make up the same invisible “program” that causes anger to occur for all other human beings

This means that if someone in China becomes angry, while another person in Africa becomes angry, both are thinking and perceiving (at a very basic level) in exactly the same ways. 

And if someone in America (like you) gets angry, regardless of the external triggering event, the same set of internal thoughts and action patterns must have been triggered within them(or you) as well. 

The beauty of understanding human emotions in this way is that once you learn to recognize the specific internal causes that produce anger in one human being, you will understand what causes anger to occur for all human beings.  

Even more important, every time you become angry, you’ll immediately know the specific ways you must be thinking, perceiving, and acting in order for you to be experiencing this emotion (and not other ones). 

So, I just have one simple question for you:  Do you know the specific thought patterns and action patterns that cause anger to occur in all human beings? 

Please record you answer in the comments section below.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Prof D. P. Apte April 5, 2013 at 10:47 AM

When one does not get the result of his / her action, frustration sets in. The feeling of helplessness to get what one wants results in anger. These thoughts lead to body reactions like rush of blood, raised voice, body tremble, aggressive posture, fast heart beat, shallow breathing etc starts. This may be our defense mechanism to cope with the stress. I use certain techniques and teach to my clients that work on the body to relax. Then we work for changing the patterns in response to the trigger. If we repeat this positive program in our mind several times it becomes our preferred response. I use EBT or EFT.

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