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Emotion Management.

Why is it difficult?

"Passions, emotions, and desires, when properly channeled, possess their own wisdom: They guide our thoughts, actions, the choice of our values, ensure our survival (...) but they can also mislead us and often do." Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics.


The problem, therefore, does not lie with the emotions themselves - joy, anger, fear, sadness, sensitivity, etc. - but with their appropriateness and expression!


And Aristotle continues: "Anyone can become angry. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not easy!" 


And we have all experienced this...

An emotional coup d'état!


Neuroscience sheds new light on brain function and psyche as presented by Daniel Goleman in his book "Emotional Intelligence," published by J'ai Lu in 1997. It is widely accepted that the emotional repertoire is inscribed in our "heart" in the form of innate and automatic tendencies, with the "heart" having precedence over the "mind". Why? Because it's a matter of survival! In perilous situations, action must precede reflection!


In situations of danger - whether real or perceived - the pathway taken by sensory signals from the eye or ear travels to the thalamus, then, via a single synapse, to the limbic brain - particularly the amygdala - for an immediate reaction. A second signal is then sent from the thalamus to the cortex and neocortex for a more comprehensive and adapted but slower reaction.


Responsible for learning and affective memory, the hippocampus provides a precise memory of the events' context. The amygdala manages the reflex reaction. This latter serves as the brain's psychological sentinel.


The amygdala sifts through all experiences of the individual to detect potential problems: "Is this something I hate, fear, or find harmful?" If yes, the amygdala reacts instantly like a trigger and alerts all parts of the brain. If the emotional reference is outdated, the reactions are irrational!


Thus, the limbic brain determines our actions even before the neocortex has made a decision. Canadian researcher Joseph Ledoux confirms: "Anatomically, the system governing emotions can act independently of the neocortex. Some emotional reactions and memories can form without any involvement of consciousness and cognition."


Subsequently, the cortex and neocortex, responsible for assembling and understanding sensory perceptions by adding to sensations what we think of them, ideas, symbols, analyze, rationalize, and temper impulsive feelings of fear or anger triggered by the amygdala for a thoughtful and more adaptive reaction. This is the role of the prefrontal cortical lobes, where short-term memory resides, containing essential data for task completion or problem resolution.


Difficulties in managing emotions stem from the fact that strong emotions overwhelm, or even paralyze, thought. The cortex is literally short-circuited, preventing any attempt at rationalization. Emotional overflow manifests as an inability to concentrate in the face of strong upsets, the impairment of intellectual faculties in children in the event of lasting emotional disturbances, the devastating effect of anxiety on mental clarity, worries without apparent cause becoming uncontrollable and insensitive to reason, the inability to break free from self-pity, despair, the sense of powerlessness despite the desire to smile at life.

"The will - a narrow margin of maneuver!"

"While the heart - or emotional brain - may prevail over reason, the thinking brain, each person has a certain margin of maneuver to avoid being overwhelmed by emotions.


The thinking brain, conditioned by will, temperament, beliefs, and education, can indeed take precedence over the limbic brain consciously or unconsciously: 'We avoid... We compromise with... We compel ourselves to...'


This is possible provided that one has the necessary vitality!"

That's why it's easier to maintain control at the beginning rather than at the end of the day or week, in favorable situations rather than in situations of chronic stress, especially after psychotherapy or biotherapeutic support.


But at what cost? Sooner or later, exhaustion sets in! And everything spirals out of control again!

"The accuracy of emotional reactions relies on two key elements."

(1) - Emotional Frame of Reference


As previously mentioned, the emotional frame of reference is the database that allows for comparison of present events with past events. However, this frame of reference is primarily established during early childhood when the nervous system is still immature. Significant events during the early years of life, in particular, have the potential to skew this frame of reference!


What are the consequences? Strong reactions, often imprecise and inadequate.


(2) - Reflexive Programming


It constitutes the very structure of cerebral functioning. The management of emotions is primarily a reflexive, unconscious, and involuntary mechanism, upon which willpower exerts little influence - contrary to popular belief!


However, this neural foundation has been considerably weakened by shocks and accumulated traumas over several generations. The disorganization of reflex arcs inevitably leads to irrational reactions: insecurity, anxiety, depression, violence, compensation, anger followed by regret, rage, panic, withdrawal... sometimes from childhood onwards, despite the absence of personally experienced traumatic events.


We could thus compare the management of emotions to the melody produced by a musician who has developed bad habits during their learning process (1) and whose instrument is out of tune (2)....

Learning to manage one's emotions

Personal development techniques - coaching, psychotherapy, hypnosis, sophrology, EMDR, NLP, etc. - effectively act on the emotional frame of reference (1), in other words, on the lived experiences, circumstances, and specific events encountered in life.


The uniqueness of Neuro&Co® lies in its action not on the contextual level but on the structural level: on the brain's regulatory centers and the dysregulation of the reflexive base (2) inherited from our ancestors. The objective is to restore the perfect organization of reflex arcs as our ancestors had them, to obtain emotional and behavioral responses adapted to daily demands. By normalizing what has ceased to be normal, Neuro&Co® tunes the musical instrument once again!


Neuro&Co® thus bridges the gap between neurophysiology and psychotherapy and serves as a remarkable catalyst for common personal development techniques.

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