...are great to have when you feel in control but can be hard to handle when we aren’t managing them as well as we would have liked. The thing is, emotions let us know what is important to us and triggers our behaviours.

As we grow up we build a huge bank of emotions that are linked to our roles and responsibilities in life and our memories. These can be useful in a variety of ways, consciously and subconsciously. It’s frightening to know that 95% of our behaviours and decisions are driven by our subconscious.

• How many times have you experienced a hot flush of embarrassment that you have no control over?
• How many times have you felt nervous or anxious without an obvious reason?
• We have all experienced a smell or taste that triggers a memory from the past.

This is because our mind is tapping into our memory bank and selecting past experiences and building stronger connections with them, whether positive or negative. Our minds and bodies then use this memory bank as we step into a similar situation to either reinforce the situation as a positive or negative experience. We will begin to feel the effects of this memory to strengthen it further and thus affecting our behaviour in the current situation.

We can, however, use our memory bank to our advantage by the good use of memory management. Look at the great actors we see on TV, in films and at the theatre. These actors not only learn about the characters they are going to play but also use memory management to help them connect with the feelings they want to portray. The most recent example on our TV is James Norton who played the sullen Prince Andrei in War and Peace and now the emotionally charged Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley. As we get to know Tommy Lee Royce there are a lot of close up scenes of his face, especially the scene when the prison Chaplin is breaking the news to Tommy of his Mother’s death. As you hear the Chaplin speak and before you see the tears well up I his eyes and roll down his cheeks you see the subtle twitching of his facial muscles but also the Orbicularis Oculi which is really difficult to control. His lips darken and the skin on his nose reddens. A totally believable piece of acting. To achieve this James will have:

1. Totally connected with the character
2. Used past memories of a loved one’s death
3. And connected this by imagining it to be about his real mother

The mind is a very clever organ. In fact it is so clever you might almost believe that it is a fantastic piece of engineering to bring back such strong emotions. On the other side we can also trick the brain into believing an untruth, if we believe it enough, just as James Norton did as Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley.

Life can throw masses of ups and downs at us as we travel though life. Some will be sprung on us and our bodies are thrown into original habits. At other times we will anticipate a situation and we can build up to a great crescendo of emotion. As we travel along the roller coaster of emotions, it is important to remember we have to experience the bad, the uncomfortable and frightening emotions to be able to appreciate the good, exciting and outrageous. If it was all great we would become complacent and loose the thrill of life, relationships and achievements.

To make the good, the exciting and outrageous emotions and memories even more memorable we need to able to recognise them accurately so that they forge strong bonds with the whole of our senses. It is only then that we can use memories to our advantage, then having more control over our senses and behaviours.

To help you do this I am setting you a challenge.

My twenty six day Facebook, A – Z challenge of positive emotions.

Here how it is going to work.

1. Connect with me on Facebook - www.facebook.com/cath.lloyd.334
2. On Monday 29th February will be letter A
3. List 3 emotions beginning with A, the more positive the better
4. Tuesday 1st March will be B
5. And so on until we get to Z

As we go through the alphabet we might have to be creative with some of the letters.

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