Toxic Emotions: What they are and how they affect you

As the founder of Life Choice Psychology™, I have counseled thousands of individuals over the course of thirty years. I have helped them master the toxic emotions that get in the way of making life choices that lead to goal achievement, fulfillment, and living the life they desire.

But what exactly do I mean by toxic emotions? Like a toxic chemical or poison that would physically affect your health, toxic emotions are those that damage you mentally. They can be very evident in their expression or they can lie buried in the deep recesses of your mind, making you unaware of the damaging affect they are having on you.

Among the toxic emotions that are prevalent and damaging are these:

This toxic emotion can impact your confidence and self-esteem. Also, studies have shown that rejection can actually cause physical responses that increase a person’s risk for asthma, depression, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.

Suffering from disappointment can lead some people to wallow in blame or frustration or even become depressed. There is a debated theory called the disappointment affect that links immune system compromise to the experience of disappointment in optimists.

Anger and/or Rage
A person who experiences anger or bouts of rage lives with a nearly constant heightened stress level. The physical damage stress can cause to the human body is well known. From an emotional aspect, anger and rage stands in the way of having healthy, meaningful relationships and can affect a person’s ability to maintain a job and therefore take care of him- or herself.

Whether you have been betrayed or you have betrayed another, the psychological affects can be debilitating. Loss of trust extends beyond the parties involved and can make it more difficult to establish trust with others. Experiencing betrayal causes great distress on both sides, which certainly impacts life choices during that time and, potentially, long after.

People who have shame erroneously feel that they are bad people. They also tend to avoid social interactions and can become isolated. It is easy to see how this type of perspective and behavior can cause harm in a person’s life.

This list is not exhaustive but will give you a sense of the types of emotions that can be labeled toxic. My 7 Steps to Emotion Mastery system presented in Your Killer Emotions teaches you how to tackle these toxic emotions and make them your allies rather than your enemies.

Foundations of The 7 Steps to Emotion Mastery: Crunch Time!

Over the past few weeks, we have begun laying our foundation for understanding the key components of The 7 Steps to Emotion Mastery. We’ve covered Energy Charges, Your Gold and Your Truth, and PETS. In this final installment of our foundations series, we will discuss the point at which all of your work will culminate and you will be put to the ultimate test: Crunch Time!

Put simply, Crunch Time is the point of time at which you will be faced with a life choice. You will either make a decision that is in line with Your Gold and Your Truth or you will make a self-sabotaging choice.

If your goal is to lose weight and make healthy meal choices, then you will be faced with Crunch Time at each meal and snack time throughout the day. If your goal is to never drive while under the influence of alcohol, which puts everyone around you at risk, you will be faced with Crunch Time anytime you are at a social function where alcohol is being served. If you are working toward a financial goal by saving as much of your income as you can, you will be faced with Crunch Time anytime you feel the desire to shop for things that you don’t absolutely need.

If you learn, study, and implement The 7 Steps to Emotion Mastery presented in will confidently access Your Gold and Your Truth and make the best life choices for yourself at Crunch Time.

But even the most seasoned emotion master must remember some guidelines in order to be in the best position to succeed.

Below are some general pitfalls you should avoid when faced with a life choice. These pitfalls will make it more difficult for you to make your best decision at Crunch Time.

  1. DO NOT make life choices when you are enveloped by potentially toxic emotions and urges.
  2. Do not opt for a quick fix or fail to use appropriate discipline and delayed gratification when they are called for.
  3. Do not make important life choices when you are tired or under the influence of intellect-dulling influences such as alcohol, caffeine, or stress.
  4. Always be Consequences Cognizant, by considering your consequences of your acts BEFORE you act.
  5. Do not increase the risk of failing by being in a position that correspondingly increases the energy charges from sabotaging emotions that will potentially overpower your best judgment.

You will be faced with Crunch Time over and over throughout the course of your life. Some decisions will be big and some will be small. If you want to be sure you are ready to face those decisions and not sabotage yourself due to your emotions, pick up a copy of Your Killer Emotions and learn how to master your emotions beginning now.

Foundations of The 7 Steps to Emotion Mastery: Energy Charges

Today we continue to go through some of the foundational aspects of my 7 Steps system with a discussion of energy charges.

When we talk about emotions, we generally discuss them from an intellectual standpoint. We rarely look at our emotions from a physiological standpoint. That is, looking at our emotions as a catalyzing physiological force that can be strategically used or channeled to our advantage.

In my book, Your Killer Emotions, I focus on the physiological side of emotions. The focus is not on the emotion itself, but rather on the highly potent energy charges triggered by the emotion.

In order to strategically use these energy charges to your advantage, you must first understand what they are.

When you fall in love, you have a feeling of utter elation and motivation. When you experience anger or rage, you are filled with a huge rush of adrenaline. When you finally accomplish something you’ve been working hard and dreaming about achieving, you are bolstered by it and feel like you are on top of the world. You are charged up!

What you are feeling in those instances are energy charges generated by your exceedingly strong emotions.

Energy Charge: The energy that is generated by an emotion, impulse, urge, or compulsion that motivates and fuels you to make a certain life choice.

What my book will help you learn is how to control those super-strong emotion-triggered energy charges to your tremendous benefit. You can achieve the goals you have set before yourself and live the life you have dreamed of. It’s all about harnessing the power of those energy charges and practicing skills that will empower you to think clearly and consistently when faced with a life choice, even when potentially toxic emotions and urges are competing for your attention.

Mastering your potentially sabotaging emotions and their energy charges is what I call your Emotional Imperative.

Foundations of The 7 Steps to Emotion Mastery: Your PETS

Previously, we discussed the meaning and significance of Your Gold and Your Truth. We learned that we could mine our most precious Gold and Truth by pondering and answering some questions that require us to look deep within ourselves.

After you have carefully considered those questions, try making two lists:

  • The first list should include the top five things that you most dearly want in and for your life. Write down what will make your heart sing!
  • The second list should contain five of the things that you absolutely detest and abhor, that is, what you absolutely do not want for yourself or in your life.

These two lists will be your initial PET lists. But what are your PETS? Simply put,

Your Gold + Your Truth = Your PETS

PETS stands for your Personal Emotional Triggers. They are those certain people, events, things, experiences, information, and aspirations that trigger the strongest emotion-generated energy reactions within you.

For me, personally, one of my most powerful PETS is that I absolutely HATE the thought of being in a hospital, waiting to be operated on for a life-threatening illness or injury. That scenario is one of my biggest fears. Therefore, staying healthy and out of hospitals . They are those certain people, events, things, experiences, information, and aspirations that trigger the strongest emotion-generated energy reactions within you.

For me, personally, one of my most powerful PETS is that I absolutely HATE the thought of being in a hospital, waiting to be operated on for a life-threatening illness or injury. That scenario is one of my biggest fears. Therefore, staying healthy and out of hospitals is also one of my most cherished PETS. This PET has motivated me to stop eating fried foods for the past twenty-five years.

Here’s another example. My mom was notorious for being late to everything, even her own wedding!  On one occasion, she was supposed to meet my father for dinner and a play. She was more than two hours late, and all the while my father was left standing outside the restaurant, freezing and worrying about her.

When my dad asked her how she could be so mean to him, so uncaring, that was enough for my mom to break years of habitual lateness.

She identified that her PET was that she abhorred being called and perceived as mean and uncaring, like she perceived her mother to be; and she NEVER wanted to be anything like her mother. As a result, she was able to tap into that supercharged energy to motivate her to never be late again!

If you take the necessary time to mine Your Gold and Your Truth and make the appropriate PET lists, you will be well on your way to making the most desired and beneficial life choices when you’re faced with a decision.


Stop Feeding Your Feelings!: How to Stop Emotion-Triggered Eating

I was an obese child! So heavy, that kids counted the rolls of fat around my stomach when we were on the beach and derisively called me “Tire Boy.” What led to my obesity, was that I mistakenly thought that my dad didn’t love or care about me. As a result of this profoundly painful misperception, every time that I felt rejected by my dad, and feelings of hurt, pain, rage, rejection, and unlovability filled my brain, heart, and psyche, I’d binge-eat.

This was my highly toxic, emotion-triggered script, until I discovered The 7 Steps of Emotion Mastery, which appear in my new book, Your Killer Emotions: The 7 Steps to Mastering the Toxic Emotions That Sabotage You.

One highly positive Step, was for me to identify my relevant Personal Emotional Triggers™ or PETS™, which are the things you love, want, hate, fear, etc. the very most. So, I identified that I wanted my dad’s love and approval more than anything else, and the way for me to secure them was for me to lose (a lot of) weight, so that I could be a good athlete and bond with my dad through playing paddleball and tennis with him. I also had a crush on a girl at school named Dale. I desperately wanted her to view me romantically, and not as the fat class clown; so this, once again, necessitated that I lose weight. Additionally, I very much wanted to fit into the cool, tapered jeans that other slim kids at school were wearing.

Thereafter, whenever I hit an emotional pothole and was about to eat everything fattening and unhealthy in sight, I framed the issue before me as follows:

“Do I want to eat the piece of cake, cookies, and/or macaroni-and-cheese, and remain a fat pig/fat slob, who’s impotent to positively change his life;


Do I want to forego eating the goodies and:

  1. Feel my dad’s love, respect, and approval (which I crave more than anything!);
  2. Get Dale’s romantic attention;
  3. Fit into the cool, tapered white jeans that I long to wear; and
  4. Feel good or even GREAT! about the way that I look and my ability to effect positive change in my life?!”

When I asked the question in this agenda-driven way, I almost always opted to decline eating the food. I then would visualize all of the positives that I could secure by making a healthy dietary choice:

  1. Playing ball with my dad and experiencing  his love;
  2. Dating Dale;
  3. Wearing those jeans; and
  4. Looking in the mirror at the new, slim, fit me!

Since I discovered The 7 Steps of Emotion Mastery fifty years ago, I have been thin and fit; I’ve won national titles in two sports; and I’ve lived an active, athletic, and vital life. I have enjoyed all of these blessings, because I broke-up the toxic script of emotion-triggered eating!

Your Killer Emotions is available on and!

Foundations of The 7 Steps to Emotion Mastery: Your Gold and Your Truth

As we continue laying the groundwork for understanding and implementing my 7 Steps system, today we will discuss another fundamental component, Your Gold and Your Truth.

First let’s take a look at what I refer to as Your Gold. Your Gold will encompass your most highly valued dreams and goals. It is what motivates you the very most to do your very best. Your Gold is most easily understood as the tangible things, positions, or goals that you want to attain.

Next, let’s take a look at what I refer to as Your Truth. Your Truth is your vision of both the life you want most deeply for yourself and the person you most truly want to be. Your Truth is an idealized, or best, self.

By identifying Your Gold and Your Truth, you will have identified what truly motivates, moves and excites you. You will then be able to harness and tap into the strongest energy charges available to you for a greater chance of success in making the best life choices for yourself.

So, how do you go about finding your purest Gold and Truth? You have to go on a quest to mine them.

To begin, you need to take some quiet, focused time to dig down, heart-and-soul deep, to identify the people, things, and events that will make your heart sing!  Conversely, you have to go through the same exercise to identify those things you most fear, are ashamed of, or are repulsed by. During this time, which may be significant, you can ask yourself such questions as:

  1. What do I want deeply in life?
  2. What kinds of people do I want in my life?
  3. What makes me the angriest?
  4. What would my ideal life be like?
  5. What do I fear above all else?

This suggested list of questions just barely scrapes the surface. In order to mine your purest Gold and Truth, you may need to consider many more. (A more complete list of questions can be found in Your Killer Emotions.)

Once you have taken a deep, careful look within yourself and considered your hopes, dreams, fears, and shames, you will move on to creating some lists that will be your PETS™ (your Personal Emotional Triggers™). PETS are the topic of discussion in our next installment, so stay tuned!