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Littler Books cover of Master Your Emotions Summary

Master Your Emotions Book Summary, Notes, and Quotes

Thibaut Meurisse

3.1 minutes to read
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What it's about in a one sentence summary:

“A Practical Guide to Overcome Negativity and Better Manage Your Feelings”

Bullet Point Summary, Notes, and Quotes

  1. Your emotions exist for a reason, even the negative ones. In the hunter-gatherer days, emotions like fear and anxiety were crucial to help us survive in a dangerous world full of wild predators. The world is much safer now, but our emotions still exist and we all should learn to manage them.
  2. Your brain has evolved to keep you alive, not happy.
  3. Caring for emotions means caring for your body too.
  4. Studies show lack of sleep is connected to anxiety, depression, and higher mortality risk.
  5. Improve your sleep by following a schedule, using blackout curtains, and avoiding electronic devices before bed.
  6. Research shows that regular exercise improves mood and longevity. Even easy exercises like walking can have an outsized impact on your health and emotions.
  7. Practice slow and deep breathing to achieve calmness and reduce anxiety.
  8. Meditation is highly beneficial. It makes you aware of your endless thoughts and separates you from them, diminishing their power.
  9. Your ego refers to the way you see yourself and the stories you tell yourself about who you are.
  10. The ego creates a self-centered narrative that pushes you to feel important and superior, and makes you vulnerable to threats to your self-image. The ego is never satisfied and is always seeking to bolster itself.
  11. To break free from your ego, realize it isn't real. It's an arbitrary product of your beliefs. It is a narrative in your head, not the truth. The more you understand this, the less power it wields.
    1. For one person their ego might be tied to having many friends, for another it might be built on having expensive cars.
  12. You are not your emotions. They are temporary states that come and go, not your essence.
  13. Realizing that emotions are not part of your core will allow you to gain power over them and evaluate them objectively to understand where they came from.
  14. Negative emotions offer clues about inner issues to address.
    1. Anger may hint at unresolved issues like trauma or resentment.
    2. Fear indicates moving beyond your comfort zone, which can be a good signal since it means you're on your way to avoid stagnancy.
    3. Procrastination can stem from fear of failure.
    4. "Resentment often builds up when you fail to communicate effectively with the people you resent."
    5. "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies."
  15. When you're faced with a problem (the weather is bad, work is overwhelming, you're out of coffee, etc.), realize it's a neutral event given meaning only by your expectations. Events have no inherent meaning, they just exist -- you interpret them as good or bad.
  16. Problems become powerless when you stop imposing meaning upon them and have no expectations (e.g., "In order to be happy, I need XYZ.")
    1. If you're sad because it's raining and you wanted to go out, it's because you expected it to be sunny. This sadness will subside if you accept that weather events like rain are neutral and are not inherently sad (farmers are probably ecstatic about the rain).
  17. Happiness is a choice you make every day, it is not shaped by external events.
    1. "Your attitude towards life influences your happiness, not what happens to you."
  18. One method to think about your emotions more clearly is by writing them down. For each negative emotion:
    1. Ask if you'd feel differently if you had a different opinion or outlook.
    2. Ask if there's something you can do to limit the negative emotion (e.g., reading less news or social media).
  19. Write down your accomplishments, no matter how small (e.g., chores and errands), and collect them all together. This will boost your positivity.
  20. Take action on what you can change, accept what you can't.
  21. Visualization can alter your subconscious and emotions. Vividly picture success or peaceful scenes to create positive emotions.
  22. What you verbalize can affect your emotions. Eliminate negative language (e.g., "I can't"). Repeat positive affirmations (e.g. "I will!") for five minutes daily -- they will sink in over time and impact your mindset and happiness.
  23. To be truly happy, prioritize yourself as the most important person.
    1. "You are the most important person in the world… The same goes for every other human on the planet… You incorrectly assume, often unconsciously, people think about you significantly more often than they actually do. In fact, for the most part, people do not care about you. While it may sound depressing, it's actually liberating. It means you don't have to worry so much [about] what people think of you."
  24. Your opinion of yourself matters more than anyone else's.
    1. "You're not responsible for people's thoughts. In fact, what people think of you is none of your business. Your job is to express your personality the best way you can while having the purest intent possible. In short, your responsibility is to do your best to be your true self. Then, people may or may not like you, and either way is fine. Remember, the most influential people such as presidents and statesmen and women are often hated by millions."
  25. Cultivate self-awareness, responsibility, honesty, and integrity to gain self-respect, which also earns others' respect.
  26. Harness the power of your emotions by viewing them as tools to navigate life's challenges and reach your goals.
  27. Lack of motivation often stems from lacking a compelling vision. To stay motivated, deeply reevaluate your vision, surround yourself with motivated people, and consume inspiring media.
  28. To get unstuck, write down in a list all the tasks that need to be completed, and just pick one to do.
  29. Some issues can't be fixed by yourself. Never hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

Master Your Emotions: Resources