Are You Emotionally Free? by Dr. Judith Orloff

     Our society is in the midst of an emotional meltdown. People are restless, volatile, our tempers about to blow. In the past year, Prozac was prescribed for over thirty million people. Domestic violence occurs in one out of six of households. Half of our marriages end in divorce.

     None of this is how we want life to be. Our pressure cooker society pushes us to our emotional limits. We deserve relief from getting crucified by daily stresses. Emotional Freedom empowers you to attain this high quality of life and to handle stress artfully. I'm excited to present practical new tools for mastering your emotions in our hyper-tense world. It's lunacy to put up with being chronically anxious, fatigued, or depressed as so many of us have. I rebel against that cheerless status quo, and hope you will too.

     Emotional Freedom offers the answer to reclaiming your happiness and heart. What is emotional freedom? It means increasing your ability to love by cultivating positive emotions and compassionately witnessing and transforming negative ones. It means keeping your center without absorbing the negativity of others. These fundamental living skills liberate you from fear and let you navigate adversity without attacking, losing your cool, or being derailed by it.

I wrote this book because, as an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA, I work in a mainstream medical system where the spiritual/intuitive aspects of emotions aren't understood. During my UCLA psychiatric training, we treated depression and anxiety, as biochemical imbalances requiring medication. I'd meet with patients for fifteen minutes every few weeks, write a prescription, then send them home. Though I never saw medications as the whole solution, I saw many patients experience at least partial "symptom relief," an undeniable relief of suffering. However, in the next two decades of medical practice, I've learned that emotional freedom involves much, much more.

     The intellect, stunning as it may be, has restricted vision when it comes to emotions. This is why bringing intuition to the feeling-realm is so liberating. Intuition is a potent wisdom not mediated by the linear mind, a practical, smart, decision-making aid. Intuition can be a hunch, a dream, a "knowing," specific guidance, a gut feeling, or a warning of danger."

     Emotions also have an intuitive language that begs to be decoded in our bodies, "subtle energies" that move through us that can be sensed. These are what Chinese medicine calls "chi," our vital life force. We feel emotions internally, while their energy expands beyond our bodies. Similarly, other people's emotional energy impacts us.

     Today, I am a woman who travels many worlds. My approach to emotional freedom blends traditional and nontraditional realms. It's impossible to grasp how we tick emotionally without a cosmic perspective; everything about us, including our biology, is an expression of the divine. Seeing emotions as a training ground for the soul, a path to spiritual awakening, frames every victory over fear, anxiety, and resentment as a way to develop your spiritual muscles and love more.

     A first step towards achieving emotional freedom is to know where you currently stand. Here is a sample from "The Emotional Freedom Test" in my new book.  It's a self-assessment tool covering a range of positive and negative emotions that will help you identify ways you typically respond to a variety of emotionally charged situations in your daily life. Give Yourself the following points and add them up at the end.

Not True (0) Sometimes True (1) Mostly True (2)

1. If I'm angry with someone, I'll breathe and center myself before I react.      

2. When I'm filled with self-doubt or fear I treat myself lovingly.          

3. When stuck in traffic or if something doesn't happen on my timetable, I have patience.          

4. After a hard day, I focus on what I'm grateful for rather than beating myself up for what has gone wrong.     

5. I have empathy for others but I don't become their therapist or absorb their emotional pain.    

     How to Interpret the Test: A score of 10 suggests you are experiencing a considerable degree of emotional freedom in your life; a score of 5-9 suggests a moderate level; a score of 4 or below suggests a beginning level; a zero score (and it takes courage to admit that) indicates that emotional freedom has been elusive in your life but you can start finding it now!

     To be emotionally free, you must go inside. A defining moment of emotional freedom is when you begin to become more conscious of who you are and your motivations. You're awakening; that's what counts. It sends a message to all things negative within that their days of usurping your serenity are numbered.

     Judith Orloff MD is author of the new book "Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life" (Harmony Books, March, 2009; $24.95; www.crownpublishing.com)" Her other bestsellers are "Positive Energy," "Intuitive Healing," and "Second Sight." Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. For more information about Dr. Orloff's national book tour schedule and inspiration visit www.drjudithorloff.com.