Hi, my name is Dr. John Schinnerer, award-winning author, UC Berkeley-trained emotion expert, speaker and founder of Guide To Self, Inc.
I teach men scientifically-proven tools to master their emotions, ways to turn down the volume on negative emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness, shyness AND ways to turn up the volume on positive emotions – contentment, pride, curiosity, happiness, love, awe, and surprise.
I have learned over the past few decades that emotions are at the root of why we do things – why we buy, love, hate, fear, why we hook up, take a job, disagree, vote and even invest money. Without a clear understanding of what our emotions are doing and why we are at their mercy.
So let me ask you a question…
Have you ever been told that you might have an issue with anger?
Have you ever been too shy to go out and meet new friends?
Have you ever been stuck in a ditch of depression?
Have you ever lost control of your temper and regretted what you did after the fact?
Do you have trouble letting people get close to you?
Does it feel like most of your intentions are misunderstood?
The best news is that there are now scientifically proven tools to help you in each of those areas. And I’m going to share some with you in these videos.
First, let me share my story of going from emotional idiot to emotional expert…
Emotional management has been an area of difficulty for me for much of my life. In fact, emotions were so painful and humiliating for that at the age of 12, I decided that I was going to shut them down completely. Don’t try that. It doesn’t work. However, it seems to be a strategy that many of us try.
So shutting off the emotions did NOT work. And I knew I was an emotionally sensitive guy, I feel things deeply. And this is NOT the way you want to grow up as a guy.
Guys are not supposed to feel things. We are socialized or taught from very early on that real men don’t cry, we’re not allowed to be anxious or fearful because then you’d be a wimp. So we are left with anger and …nothing, pretty much. And women ask us why we aren’t more emotionally sensitive – because it’s been beaten and screamed out of us, that’s why!
Anyway, I found myself at the age of 27 working as school psychologist. I was usually given the worst behaving students in any school of which I was in charge. ADHD, depressed, anxious, impulse control, angry kids. And that was actually the best part of my job. I enjoyed meeting with the students because I found that despite their diagnosis or problems with others at home or in school, I enjoyed the time I spent with them. They weren’t ‘bad’ people, just good people put in difficult situations. And often they were students who had a hard time managing their emotions. Hey join the crowd, we’ve got jackets!
So I’d meet with them individually or in groups and they’d wind up sharing their story of woe. And I’d try to help them out. Two problems with that. First, as a rookie psychologist, I didn’t have any solid tools to share with them. So it was often me simply listening to them and saying ‘Yes, I understand.’
Second, as I would talk to them, I would pick up their feelings. So if they were feeling angry about what was going on in their life, I would pick up some of their anger. If they were feeling sad, I would take on some of their sadness. If they were anxious and jumpy, I would become a little jittery. And these were heavy issues that these kids were dealing with – rape, abusive parents, drug and alcohol abuse, gangs, absent parents, violence and so on. Over time, as I unknowingly took on more and more of their emotions, I became really depressed. My back spasmed and went out.
And I remember lying on the floor of my office, I’m depressed as hell, the tunnel feels like it’s closing in, I’m without hope, and I thought ‘this is flipping ridiculous’. Here I am, a psychologist trained at UC Berkeley, and I can’t manage my own emotions. If I can’t manage my emotions, how can I teach others to manage theirs?!
And I had this enormous realization – that I had never been taught how to manage my emotions at home or at Cal.
And I made a conscious decision right then to learn everything I could about the best ways to manage my emotions – my anger, my fear, my sadness. I began to learn everything I could about negative, destructive emotions. I learned how to go from negative 5 (-5) to 0. And that was back in 1997.
Later, in early 2004, I was approached about creating a coaching company which would help people create thriving, productive, meaningful lives. I thought, ‘Hmm that sounds really interesting.’ So I went through thousands of research studies and checked out what works and what doesn’t in terms of helping myself and others go from 0 to plus 5 (+5). I learned about proven techniques to encourage and cultivate positive emotions. And I had another huge realization – it’s not enough to simply turn down the volume on negative emotions. You must learn to turn UP the volume on positive emotions. It’s almost as if you have to substitute, to an extent, the positive for the negative. If you only address the negative feelings, you leave an emotional vacuum. And we know nature abhors a vacuum. When things get stressful, you fall back to old ways. So it’s critical that you learn ways to sub in the positive emotions for the old negative ones. You have to replace your anger, your sadness, your fear with gratitude, relaxation, contentment.
I’ve spent the past 5 years refining this method and proving its value with myself and my clients. And it works! I’ve had dozens of clients who have seen numerous therapists, psychologists, been to inpatient programs and outpatient programs, and they come to me as a last desperate attempt. 90% of my clients have experienced dramatically less anger, sadness, stress and fear. And they have found purpose in life, they are happier, and their relationships drastically light up.
After years of searching, after reading thousands of research studies and writing 600 pages (216 of which ended up in a real book), I have found a series of tools and practices which vastly improve my ability to manage my emotions, turn down the volume on destructive emotions and turn up the volume on positive emotions. And I want to share those tools with men – men that have never been taught any tools to deal with emotion…men who have been socialized NOT to feel things…men who feel things deeply yet cannot express it…men who want to lead a meaningful, thriving, productive life.
Oh, by the way, the book I published won an award for best self-help book of the year (2007) and is entitled ‘Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought’. You can find it at Amazon.com or Target.com. Also, I was fortunate enough to host a daily radio show during prime time for KDIA from 2006 – 2007.
What a ride – all based on emotions! Who would have thought!
All the best,
John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Author, coach, shrink, speaker, emotional guy
Guide To Self, Inc.