Negative Emotions Make Us Stupid
– Literally! But Not If We Let Go of Them

Cartoon monsters showing the emotions of jealousy, shame, fear and stressAll strong negative emotions release stress chemicals to energize our muscles instead of our brains, preparing us to fight, flee or be paralyzed (hide or play dead).

So fear, guilt, anger, frustration, shame, hatred, jealousy (as well as stress itself) basically make us stupid!

If we continue feeling stress, fear, guilt, etc. over a protracted period of time the stress chemicals make the hippocampus part of our brain physically shrink.

Not only does such brain shrinkage sound bad, it IS bad, because it screws up our short term memory – as well as our ability to handle negative, stressful emotions. Result: our situation becomes worse, ever worse. And, of course, we become ever more stupid.

So as stressful periods turn into stressful days and weeks, we grow ever more dumb. The longer we allow ourselves to feel stress, fear, guilt, anger, frustration, shame, hatred, jealousy the more stupid we get!

All in all: Not a great idea.

Of course people who are scared stupid are easy to manipulate and control. Dictators, tyrants, would-be tyrants, ruthless businessmen and manipulators of all sorts know this. We see it in politics every day.

When you notice a politician (or anyone else) saying something that evokes fear or worry in you, well, you now know that this person is attempting to make you stupid and manipulate you.

All of which is why every self help guru worth her salt (and even quite a few who aren’t) will tell you to be very wary of everything related to fear.


Point of fact: Unless you’re facing something like a hungry predator here and now (not yesterday or tomorrow), you don’t actually need fear. More, you’re better off without it.

Exactly the same is true for guilt, anger, shame, hatred, jealousy, frustration and all other strong, negative emotions. And stress itself! They’re not just useless, they’re damaging.

What you need is … to let go.

So. Just slow down. All the way down. Sit down somewhere quiet. In nature, if you can.

Relax. Breathe and let relaxation take you over.

And then choose to let go of whatever negative thing is bugging you. Just ask the fear, frustration, jealousy, shame or whatever why it’s REALLY there, and once you know, thank it for its service and then imagine sending it on its way – far away from you. Keep doing that until you experience a feeling of relief. Once you get that feeling of relief, simply choose to hang on to it.

Then, if you’ve still got time, move on to the next negative thing you’re experiencing, and the next, and so on, until you’ve let go of everything negative, painful, stressful or fear related.

If the above doesn’t work for you in practice, or you’re unsure how to let things go, check out The Let Go Method by Soren Lauritzen.

Try it. You’ll be so glad you did.

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