Emotional Alchemy: Turning Polarized Emotions into Growth Opportunities

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 1 year ago

Dr Demartini’s approach to thinking may surprise you because he believes positive and negative thinking both have their place when it comes to mindfulness and life mastery.


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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 1 year ago

What I'm about to share might come as a surprise to you if you are used to hearing about “positive thinking” as the primary common way to deal with negative emotions. However, I am going to introduce a different perspective that may transform your perspective and assist you to become more mindful, masterful and empowered.

It all begins with finding a balance, and your brain is wired to help you find that balance.

Your brain functions as a homeostatic system.

When I say that your brain acts as a homeostatic system, I mean that it constantly strives to maintain balance just like a thermostat in a room.

For instance, when you overeat, and you add weight, your fat cells signal the releasing of leptin back to your brainstem and hypothalamus as a feedback to help you calm down your overeating over time. When you undereat, and you lose weight, your stomach cells signal the releasing of ghrelin back to your brainstem and hypothalamus as a feedback to help stimulate your eating over time.

Similarly, when you are cold, you start shivering to generate heat and when you are hot you start sweating to cool down.

These are all homeostatic mechanisms that help to restore balance.

Your entire body, particularly your brain, is filled with feedback systems.

Almost every aspect of your body, from blood pressure to blood sugar, temperature, hormone and transmitter levels, and eating habits, is regulated by feedback systems.

There are two types of feedback systems - positive and negative. Both affect your physiology and psychology.

  1. Positive feedback systems tend to result in a runaway effect that can lead to a vicious cycle of further imbalanced physiology and / or positive or negative emotions, or manic and depressive states at the extreme.

    You may have experienced this when you have negative thoughts that triggered more negative thoughts and made you feel quite depressed.

    Or when you’ve had positive thoughts that resulted in even more positive thoughts and made you feel quite manic. In fact, I believe that manic and depressive states are positive feedback systems gone wild.

  2. On the other hand, negative feedback systems tend to bring you back to homeostasis, to a state of balance.

Mental and emotional states also follow these feedback systems.

When you are overly excited or puffed up, social events likely occur that bring you back down. Conversely, when you are humble, people tend to lift you up.

So, your physiological symptoms, psychological intuition, and sociological criticisms and praises, and even tragedies and comedies all work together to try to bring homeostasis and balance in your life.

When you are perceiving yourself as having positive emotions, you are subjectively biasing your perceptions of reality and you are conscious of the positives and unconscious of the negatives.

For example, when you’re infatuated with someone, you tend to ignore their flaws and only perceive their positive qualities. This is often referred to as a form of “ignorance” because you’re ignoring the downsides.

However, over time, you likely discover both the so-called positive and negative aspects of that individual.

The brain does everything it can to help you recognize both positive and negative traits simultaneously, even though you might be initially blinded by your biases and perceive only one at a time.

Similarly, when you perceive yourself as having negative emotions, you are subconsciously biased and more conscious of the negatives and unconscious of the positives. For example, when you resent someone, you tend to be conscious of their flaws but blind to their positive qualities.

Both of these perspectives are subjective and can lead to skewed perceptions and seeking or avoiding responses, and can prevent you from seeing the world objectively.

Both these responses can result in the external world running you instead of you masterfully running your life from within.

Your brain’s homeostatic functions provide you with intuitive feedback to make you aware of both the positive and negative aspects of any situation simultaneously.

By being mindful and fully conscious of both sides simultaneously, you can breakthrough the split between your conscious and unconscious thinking.

For example, when you are infatuated with someone, it is wise to become conscious of their downsides to bring you back into balance. In this way, you can avoid sacrificing important aspects of your life for them, which disempowers you.

If you are always positive and optimistic, on the other hand, you will likely be blind and gullible instead of fully conscious and balanced. See the difference?

Negative thinking is also an essential component in mitigating risk.

For instance, imagine going to Mars without thinking of every possible thing that could go wrong. You would likely have to learn by trial and error, which can be fatal.

Negative thinking is essential to break down projects and prepare for any possible risks.

Similarly, positive thinking has its place when you have negative thoughts, while negative thinking has its place when you're overly optimistic and seeing only the positives.

Your intuition tries to point out the negative drawbacks when you're infatuated and the positive benefits when you're resentful to try and help get you back into homeostasis and balance. This is also the state where you tend to have the most wisdom.

You won’t have a balanced physiology without a balanced mind.

Any time you have an imbalanced ratio of perceptions about reality, you are likely to create symptoms and signs in the body to let you know. These illnesses are partly expressions of all those imbalanced perspectives that have accumulated in your subconscious mind.

Every time we perceive only one side of a situation, whether positive or negative, you store such imbalanced perceptions in your subconscious mind. Your amygdala assigns a positive or negative valency to your perceptions which then become stored in your hippocampus - sometimes referred to as your subconscious mind .

These can result in prey and predator-like responses of impulses to seek – rest and digest and instincts to avoid - fight or flight responses that involve reacting without forethought, planning, risk mitigation, objectivity and mindfulness.

The majority of people tend to live their life this way polarized by imbalanced emotions.

However, if you are mindful and deliberate in using pessimistic and negative thinking when you're gullible and optimistic and positive thinking when you're negative, you can bring yourself back into a negative feedback system and back into homeostasis.

This will then guide you to have wellness, a sound mind, and the ability to see both sides simultaneously.

In my signature seminar program the Breakthrough Experience, which I teach almost every week, I train people how to achieve and maximize a balanced and mindful state.

Buddhists refer to this balanced state as mindfulness – a state that is more powerful than being one-sided or imbalanced.

In all likelihood, you have been caught off guard initially by an infatuation or resentment and later found out that it was a curse or a blessing in disguise.

Instead of waiting for the wisdom of the ages to come with aging, it is wise to learn to attain it by being present and intuitively prompting yourself to see both sides of a situation.

Claude Shannon described entropy as a tendency to go from order to disorder and disorder as missing information. I call this missing information the unconscious.

When you have missing information or disorder, you create symptoms in your body, as I have described above. However, by asking quality questions and allowing yourself to see both sides of a situation, you are able to turn disorder into order, which brings wellness.

In the Breakthrough Experience, I show people how to for look for upsides to any perceived downsides, and downsides to any perceived upsides so they can more quickly perceive both sides simultaneously. 

In this way, you can balance the equation and see the hidden order in the apparent chaos.

This helps bring about wellness instead of illness, eustress instead of distress, and gratitude, inspiration and certainty instead of volatility, uncertainty and depression.

The quality of your life is based on the quality of questions you ask. So, during the Breakthrough Experience, I spend hours teaching and helping people work through the Demartini Method – a scientific method to help you become conscious of any unconscious information to help you become fully conscious.

By becoming aware of what you've been unconscious of and balancing the equation, you can liberate yourself from emotional vicissitudes that occur when you have an imbalanced perspective.

When you see both sides, you reach what some call an enlightened or superconscious state.

It’s for this reason that I believe the Demartini Method to be one of the most powerful tools you can use to help you dissolve highly polarized positive or negative emotions and distractions so you can be fully mindful and fully present.

When you’re infatuated or resentful, you tend to be blind to both sides of a situation.

Infatuation and resentment occupy space and time in our minds and distract us from the presence of love.

By helping you see both sides of a situation and dissolve polarized emotional distractions, the Demartini Method can help you transform your imbalanced thinking and set you free from noise and lopsided perceptions.

Another key element in turning polarized positive and negative emotions into meaningful growth opportunities is to live congruently with your highest values.

In the Breakthrough Experience, I spend quite a bit of time helping people identify their unique set of highest values, and aligning their lives so they live congruently with those highest values.

In my case, my highest values are teaching, researching, writing and travelling, so I spend the majority of my day prioritizing and fulfilling those actions. In your case, it may be raising a family, building a business, connecting with friends, seeking health and wellness, or following a spiritual pursuit.

Every individual has a unique set of highest values, and living congruently with those values impacts how your brain functions.

  1. Living congruently with your highest values directs blood, glucose, and oxygen to the forebrain, where objectivity is at its highest. This leads to increased resilience, adaptability, self-worth, leadership ability, empowerment, and enlightenment.
  2. On the other hand, attempting to live by your lower values directs blood, glucose, and oxygen to the amygdala, where perspectives tend to become skewed.

People who react before they think tend to be emotional and learn by trial and error.

In contrast, people who think before they react tend to be centered, poised, present, purposeful, and patient.

They have a long-term vision and the patience to take persistent actions until they create unstoppable momentum and achieve their goals.

It is essential to understand that trying to be positive all the time is a delusion.

Many people suggest eliminating negativity from your life, but in reality, both positive and negative thinking are essential for functioning.

For instance, when someone presents a delusional idea like a "get rich quick" scheme, skepticism is crucial.

Without healthy skepticism and negative thinking, you might end up being gullible and paying the price later.

My approach is different. I am inspired to teach people to have a balanced mind – to see both sides synchronously instead of advocating for one-sided thinking, and to see the wisdom in learning to see both sides simultaneously.

If you would love to experience more moments of being poised, present, purposeful, objective, neutral, balanced, strategic, empowered, centered and authentic, then I would love to help you do that.

Join the Breakthrough Experience, where you can learn the tools to help you transform your life from the inside out. Your journey to self-mastery begins here (and it’s easier than you may think).

To sum up:

  1. Your brain functions as a homeostatic system and is filled with feedback systems that help maintain balance.
  2. Almost every aspect of your body and mental and emotional states is regulated by feedback systems.
  3. Infatuation and resentment are subjective perspectives that can lead to skewed perceptions and prevent you from seeing the world objectively.
  4. By being mindful and fully conscious of both sides, you can avoid being split between conscious and unconscious thinking.
  5. As opposed to the promoters of the “positive thinking” movement who believe you “should” get rid of negative thinking, I believe that negative thinking is essential to prepare for any possible risks, while positive thinking has its place when starting out with negative thoughts. It is wise to use both.
  6. A balanced mind is crucial for a balanced physiology, and imbalanced perceptions of reality can create symptoms and illnesses.
  7. The Demartini Method that I teach in the Breakthrough Experience can help you bring yourself back into balance and achieve a mindful state, which is more powerful than being one-sided or imbalanced.
  8. Living congruently with your highest values, is crucial for increased resilience, adaptability, self-worth, and leadership ability.

    If you haven’t already, I would love you to visit my website to work through the FREE, confidential Demartini Value Determination Process.
  9. If you would love to master the skills of seeing both sides of a situation and achieve a mindful state on your journey to achieve mastery, wellness, increased resilience, adaptability, self-worth, and leadership ability, then click here to find out more about joining my next two-day online Breakthrough Experience Program.


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