Be Aware

To be aware is to watch your bodily activity, the way you walk, the way you sit, the movements of your hands; it is to hear the words you use, to observe all your thoughts, all your emotions, all your reactions. It includes awareness of the unconscious, with its traditions, its instinctual knowledge, and the immense sorrow it has accumulated—not only personal sorrow, but the sorrow of man. You have to be aware of all that; and you cannot be aware of it if you are merely judging, evaluating, saying, “This is good and that is bad, this I will keep and that I will reject,” all of which only makes the mind dull, insensitive. Krishnamurti


Mind Exercises to Overcome Toxic Emotions

The Tyranny of Emotions

It is natural for you to feel happy, angry, or sad at different times and often for no reason whatsoever. No amount of positive thinking will keep you from these occasional feelings. Fortunately, these feelings do not last for long. Something might remind you of a childhood sweetheart lovingly, or the school bully fearfully. These emotions are reasoned and make sense with the situation to which they pertain. But instinctual emotions are different. Instinctual emotions are toxic and can have detrimental effects to your health, your ability to think, and your creativity.

How to Tell if it is a Toxic Emotion

When you become upset during an argument and remain so long after the exchange is over, it’s a sure sign that you’re experiencing an instinctual emotion. When overcome with this kind of emotion, you walk around angry without knowing why; you’re rude to those around you; someone stops you to ask you a question, and you nearly bit off their head for no reason at all.

Instinctual emotions are produced by ancient survival instincts – often coupled with old memories of trauma – that are wired into our brain. Toxic emotions of fear, sorrow, envy, and anger, which are often passionate, sometimes violent, and always draining are never experiences of the present moment only. These emotions dredge up stories from your childhood that are superimposed onto the current moment. These toxic neural networks may not only cause you to waste precious years to an unfulfilling and frustrating job but they are very destructive to your brain health and can have long term profound physical and emotional consequences.

Create New Neural Pathways for Your Brain

Each time a situation reminds you of an actual fearful or dangerous experience from your past, and those instinctual emotions are brought up, that specific neural network is reinforced. These networks also give rise to emotions, then beliefs, that keep you favoring past pain, as well as behaviors that continually reinforce the trauma. You can have a terrific opportunity that collapses because deep down you believe you are not worthy. These toxic networks react exactly the same with just the perception of a threat because the story is stored in your mind.

Overcoming Toxic Emotions

You can allow yourself to see the world, quite literally, in a new light. With focused attention, you can change your thoughts to make a positive improvement in your life. Your job is to stop feeding the old circuitry that reinforces your fears and anger and, instead, direct your attention toward new, positive neural connections. When you do this brain will stop using the old emotional suffering networks and they will fall by the wayside. And it gets better! Research now demonstrates that if you merely imagine yourself engaging in an activity, you can create the neural connections associated with learning it – without actually performing it. Focus attention on the positive emotions to create functional networks for well-being, happiness, trust, and compassion.

Take Action Now: 

1. Create New Neural Pathways for Your Brain

Direct your attention toward new, positive neural connections of emotions you want to create. Your brain will stop using the old emotional suffering networks and they will fall by the wayside. Research now demonstrates that if you merely imagine yourself engaging in an activity, you can create the neural connections associated with learning it – without actually performing it. So, being clear, focus attention on the positive emotions such as well-being, happiness, trust, and compassion that will allow you to build the relationships you want in the world.

2. Create a Still Mind

Research shows meditation practices not only change the structure of your brain, but will help you create and express emotions in a more positive manner. Practice stillness each day. From this place of stillness you will be able to focus attention on positive emotions and heal the toxic emotions and discover inner peace.

3. Heal the Light Body – Writing a New Story

When we forgive ourselves and others, we can reprogram the toxic neural networks of our brain. It works by re-imprinting the image of a loved one over the image of someone who has wronged you. Although it will override the programming of the old story it is not an easy practice, because the mind will resist holding the image of a loved one together with that of an enemy. In your mind, or on a piece of paper, write a new story you want.

4. Be Curious about the Neuroscience

Learn the qualities attributed to enlightened beings; inner peace, wisdom, compassion, joy, creativity, and new vision of the future.

Physical exercise, calorie reduction, and cutting edge neuroscience research and therapies all affect how you relate to others, yourself and the world. By taking action now, and learning to shift those toxic emotions, you are ready to engage your life in a new and enlightened way. Learn more at:

–Power Up Your Brain by Alberto Villoldo, PhD and David Perlmutter, MD is now available at Amazon

Toxic emotions