Negative Emotions Are Action Signals

Right up until he passed away, Dr John Hinwood was a prolific blogger (an award-winning blogger in fact!). John’s blog’s shared musing from a rich history of experience, learnings, travel and wisdom.

The Hinwood Institute is named in honour of Dr John and to continue his legacy, we’re republishing his blogs to keep his wisdom, wit and wise words alive for the world to enjoy.

You can learn more about the legacy of Dr John Hinwood HERE.

A couple of days ago I was talking with one of our former outstanding coaches and mentors Craig about how some people can become so stressed with their interaction with another person, they just ‘freeze’, and are unable to take any action at all.

Craig said, “John, remember the Tony Robbins adage of the two Ps.”

My mind immediately shifted to hearing Tony saying on stage, “In the end, it comes down to the two Ps, it is your choice between pain or pleasure.”

Craig said, “correct John, however, with stress, it’s the other two Ps Tony talks about…”

massage - pain or pleasure

When you are stressed, you can change the outcome by changing either your Perception or Procedure.

You can use how you feel to make your life better.  While negative emotions may be painful for some, they may also be our best friend.   We can use negative emotions to change the quality of our life immediately, or as Tony Robbins says, “in a heartbeat”.

There is a message in every emotion we experience. Appreciating the message is a key in how we handle stress in our lives. Negative emotions are usually a signal that change is needed.

We always have choice… you can either change your perception or change your approach.

At any moment when you feel any negative emotion, the first step is to identify what the stressor is. The next step after you have identified the stressor, is to act by either by changing your perception or changing your procedure.  You change your perception by changing how you look at it or what you focus on.  You change your procedure by changing your approach or how you are responding in the situation.

Tony Robbins says there are 10 areas of emotions and your stressor or stressors will be in one or more of these areas:

  1. Uncomfortable – Impatient, uneasy, distressed, mildly embarrassed.
  2. Fear – Concern, apprehension, scared, terrified.
  3. Hurt –  Sense of loss.
  4. Anger – mildly irritated, resentful, livid, rage.
  5. Frustration – held back or hindered in the pursuit of something.
  6. Disappointment – sad, defeated.
  7. Guilt – emotions or regret.
  8. Inadequacy – less than or unworthy.
  9. Overloaded – overwhelmed, hopeless, or depressed.
  10. Loneliness – apart or separate from.

Your de-stress response is to create a positive strategy and take a positive action step here instead of being controlled by the negative emotion(s). That action is to either change our perception or change our behaviour.

A great example here is a story my wife Judy shares with participants in the Build Emotional Resilience Training two-day event we run four times a year.

After 18 years of marriage and being childless we decided to have a chosen family and as we were too old to adopt in Australia at that time, being 39 and 40. We went to Chile and adopted three very special beautiful older children who were 7, 8 and 10.

Dr. Judy Hinwood

Judy went from being full time in practice as a chiropractor and many weekends on the road around the country lecturing practitioners, to a 100% home mum with children who had no English. It was a massive gradient and full of stressors for all of us.

My life was still full on in practice, weekends away lecturing and attending other seminars.

When I would arrive home on a Sunday evening Judy was usually very stressed and resentful of the wonderful time I had had with friends and the seminar attendees while she was at home.

She met a Three in One Concepts practitioner who introduced her to the Behavioral Barometer.

behavioral barometer

Judy then understood that by changing her attitude on my arrival home from being resentful to being interested, her life instantly changed. Her stressor changed ‘in a heartbeat’ to a positive life enhancing experience.

I’d arrive home, we would hug and then sit and have some ‘couch time’ sharing the special experiences of my weekend away. Her being was showered in eustress and she felt totally part of those two days I was sharing.

By changing your procedure, you change your perception and your emotions support your life and health, instead of harming them. Life is then a joy!

P.S. If you’re interested in more tips and tools to improve your resilience and productivity, you can take our Resilient Leader Scorecard below.

resilient leader scorecard
[activecampaign form=57 css=1]

How well do you roll with the punches?

Discover how you score against key resilience indicators and increase your ability to minimise stress, maximise time, live well and roll with the punches.


How it works:

  • Answer 25 simple questions
  • Generate results instantly
  • Receive feedback to enhance your score

Listen to the Podcast here

About the Author

Dr. John Hinwood
Dr. John Hinwood is a Global Leader in Stress Management. He is a very experienced and respected executive coach, mentor, consultant, sought after international speaker and author. He specialises in facilitation that leads clients out of the stress and into the calm. He has a reputation for innovative and transformational work in stress-life balance and mindset change for front line employees, to managers and business leaders.

Dr John Hinwood has shared the stage with Dr John Demartini, Dr Deepak Chopra, Dr Wayne Dyer, Dr Joe Dispenzia, Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul fame), Dr Bruce Lipton, Dr Masaru Emoto and others who are at the cutting edge of human behaviour and mindset change.

He has written 14 books with 4 being Amazon international best sellers. He has had papers published in academic journals and was once Captain/Coach of the Danish National Rugby Team. Dr. John’s experience as a health professional by training, successful businessman by effort and an inspiration by inclination has given him an awesome array of practical tools for success.