Defense Against the Dark Thoughts – Defending Your Emotional System

thumbnail.simpleremindersOne of the greatest blessings of being human is our ability to share the emotions of others. Everyone has known someone who has an infectious personality, who fills a room and whose joyful emotions lift those of everyone in the room. Or perhaps you have experienced watching a touching movie with others, and cried in sympathy with the characters. Maybe you have had the privilege to work for a charismatic leader, or witness a motivational speaker, whose presence and words filled you with fire. These are all pleasant, moving, sometimes life-changing experiences for which we have our open human emotional, or limbic, system to thank.

The human emotional system, or limbic system, is an open system, which means that our emotions are picked up on by others, and vice-versa. If our emotional system were closed, then we would only be susceptible to our own internal triggers. This would truly eliminate society as we know it. Imagine a world without love, without empathy, without feeling inter-connected to others. This would be the world of a closed limbic system.

However, it is not only the positive and pleasant emotions that can affect others. Dark emotions, too, anger, fear, sadness and depression are, in a way, contagious. Have you ever been in a great mood, and a co-worker walks into the office and without saying a word, brings down the energy of the room? Perhaps you share your life with someone who suffers from chronic depression, or anger issues.

One of the most frustrating things about this type of life is how your emotions can be significantly and severely affected, for the worse, by the very presence of a person when they are at the low point on their cycle. A good day can change immediately and abruptly, simply by the demeanor of the depressed person who seems to pull all of the positive energy out of you, leaving you feeling confused, alone, perhaps scared and sad. How do you defend yourself against this? Meeting the depressed or angry person in their emotional state does not put you in a good position to help them, yourself, or the situation. In fact, very much the opposite: if you share the depressive’s mood, you temporarily relinquish your own faculties of logic, reason and judgment. This leaves you unable to help yourself or the depressed person.

Emotional reactions come quickly, which means that any defense against negative emotions needs to be second nature, so that it works instantly, without thought. This is because emotions kick in much faster than your awareness of the dynamics at work does. And in order for your defenses to be second nature, they must be practiced regularly and often. The best method for doing this is through self hypnosis or visualization. I suggest a process of visualizing a protective shield, which negative thoughts, emotions or actions of others bounce off of. Visualize this daily, preferably through self-hypnosis so that you are in a creative alpha brain wave state. Give yourself the message that the shield is always there, and that in order to strengthen and activate it, all you need to do is remind yourself. You can do this by giving yourself a simple key word, such as “shield.” Visualize yourself with the shield in place, and mentally walk yourself through situations that, in the past, would have negatively affected your emotions. Picture those negative outside influences hitting your shield, being neutralized, and bouncing safely off into space. With daily practice, you can reduce and eliminate your chance of being emotionally hijacked by the negativity of others.

While we are most likely to be sensitive to the fact that our own emotions are affected by those around us, it is important for us to also realize that we are affecting others in turn. With that realization comes a certain feeling of responsibility toward others, for what we are projecting. Not only is it much better for you to think positive thoughts, for innumerable reasons, but your negative thoughts, attitudes, emotions or behaviors are not just your own. You, too, are affecting those around you. Practice feeling gratitude for the good things in your life, focus on the positives, and prevent yourself being a negative influence on those around you. This will also help protect you from the negative influences of others.

Cindy Locher, C.Ht, is a Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing in the areas of mind improvement, creativity and emotional control. Visit her on the web at

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