Feeling bad? Become your own 'emotions detecive' with these 3 life-changing questions

Do you feel safe? One of our most important human needs is for security. If we don't feel safe, that sense of danger will grab our attention and send us some powerful, instinctive urges to take action.

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If there were bombs dropping outside your window right now, it's a fair bet he would not be calmly reading this article. Strong emotions would be pressing your adrenaline button and you would have a feeling you want to run away, strike out or even keep very still and quiet.

All of these are survival responses, fight, flight and freeze, and they are so powerful that they kick in before you have a chance to think.

And these instincts have served us so well that we have evolved over millions of years from ape-like creatures to high functioning human beings.

What’s wrong?

But often, it's not an immediate emergency or life-threatening situation which is pressing our anxiety button, but more subtle day-to-day situations which keep us edgy, down or depressed, robbing us of our inner peace.

Something in our world is not working and, subconsciously, our older, wiser self knows what it is. The anxious feelings are designed to prompt us to do something about this situation and make some changes. Often it’s about our safety.

Perhaps you don't feel safe work? You are being bullied by a micro-managing boss or undermined by a jealous workmate. Or perhaps you fear you might lose your job altogether, with all the scary implications for not having enough money to pay the mortgage or rent and keep a roof over your head.

There may be something actually dangerous about the work you do; you're a police person, a soldier or a nightclub bouncer.


If you had a traumatic experience in the past, you might be feeling unsafe in the here and now, because the brain is always pattern matching. Anything current that reminds you of that old incident may spark a fight, flight or freeze reaction all over again. It's your brain's way of trying to protect you, but sometimes it overdoes it and often it gets it wrong.

Perhaps there's a problem at home with noisy neighbours or kids throwing stones at the windows. Perhaps you have an over controlling partner, there might even be violence, whether physical or verbal.

Health worries can also make you feel unsafe; unsafe in your own body or mind. Sometimes, it's not the real-life situations that create worry and anxiety but the 4am imaginings, fortune-telling and catastrophising that we can all do in the small dark hours.

A horror film in your head

If you've been blessed with a powerful imagination, you can press those fight or flight buttons just by running a horror film in your head of all the things that could go wrong.

In that case, you might need to have a grown-up chat with your frightened inner child and learn the skills of emotional management. Winston Churchill reflected in his later years:

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened”

Dr Rick Hansen tells us in his book Buddha’s Brain, our jumpy, hyper vigilant chimpanzee brain kept us safe for millions of years in the jungle, but it’s an unnecessarily uncomfortable way to live in a modern world.

So, here's the rub, if you feel down, edgy or anxious and don't know why, it might be a good time to take a closer look at your life and ask yourself some serious questions.

Do I feel safe?

Should I be make some changes in my life?

When will I start?

Frances A Masters

Psychotherapist, Coach, Writer. Live your best life.

Do you want to be happier and more resilient? Some people seem to just 'bounce back' no matter what life throws at them. We can't choose many of life's events but we certainly do have a choice about how we respond. My passion for mental health began 25 years ago when I suffered postnatal depression and realised the help I needed simply wasn't there. The pills didn't work. In fact they made things worse. What I really needed was to understand how anxiety, depression and emotional ill health can develop. I needed to learn good 'mind management' skills which would act like a 'psychological inoculation' against future problems. When I recovered, I made a decision to find out how and why I had become so depressed and made a personal pledge to do something to provide the kind of help for others which I had needed. I wanted to prevent people suffering unnecessarily. So I embarked on a personal and professional journey and, along the way, developed a brand new approach to health and well-being. My journey began with four years of traditional counselling training, followed by a postgraduate diploma in psychotherapy. I studied cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), hypnotherapy, coaching and cognitive neuroscience. I built up 30,000 hours professional experience which I brought together into the new happiness and resilience programme l named 'Fusion.' I also wrote a book about how to resolve post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), founded a therapeutic coaching charity and trained volunteers to work in this new way. This training programme would later become the nationally accredited Fusion Therapeutic Coaching Diploma and Distance Learning Skills Certificate. Now... The journey continues. Now I want to reveal all my professional secrets about good mind management to as many people as possible through social media and by training Fusion Breakthrough trainers from all over the world. One of them could be you... Something new.. Something different.. Something which lasts.. What if you could experience one day which could actually change your life for good; giving you your own eureka moment; not only helping you create a vision of the life you want to live, but actually give you the real skills to get there and stay there? Fusion is a tried and tested system which combines the best of psychotherapy and coaching into a powerful new formula for lasting change. My aim is to help and empower as many people as possible to feel their best, be their best and live their best lives. Perhaps I could help you too....