Harvard Psychologist Shows You How to Make Your Negative Thoughts Serve You | Susan David

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We live in a culture that tells us that some emotions are bad. Unfortunately, these same “bad” emotions are unavoidable for anyone aiming to live a meaningful life. As a result, many of us spend much of our lives in conflict with our own emotions, stuck in self-narratives that no longer serve us. Thankfully, on this episode of Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu, Harvard Psychologist Susan David shows us a way out of this self-destructive internal conflict. She explains how to use your “negative” emotions to connect with your core values (which you can learn more about by taking this quiz here: ). She also discusses the dangers of focusing on being right, the power of self-compassion and importance of emotional agility.


Emotions are data but they are not directives [1:33]
How we approach our thoughts, emotions and stories determines our quality of life [3:48]
What do you do when you realize the stories you tell yourself no longer serve you? [6:26]
Our culture tells us some emotions are bad, so we get in conflict with our emotions [11:50]
Only dead people never feel stress, anger, agitation or fear [14:15]
How do you uncover what your emotions are really trying to tell you? [17:35]
Technology has outstripped our ability to thrive [20:32]
Susan explains how to understand your emotions in a more specific way [22:53]
Our minds can convince us that we are right, even if it destroys our relationships [28:04]
Susan describes the process of recognizing our emotions and stories for what they are [31:39]
Even if the gods tell you that you’re right, you still have to decide who you want to be [33:46]
Being seen and belonging are core human needs [36:35]
Tom and Susan discuss the “tyranny of positivity” [38:30]
Success is living a life concordant with your values [41:43]
Susan shares the impact she wants to have on the world [47:08]


“Some of our stories were written on mental chalkboards at age 3.” [5:53]

“Our thoughts, our emotions and our stories aren’t good or bad. They just are.” [10:53]

“Discomfort is the price of ambition to a meaningful life.” [14:43]



#Harvard #Psychologist #Shows #Negative #Thoughts #Serve #SusanDavid

Some Toughts (21)

  1. Avatar
    added on 17 Aug, 2020

    Thank you so much for your priceless knowledge.

  2. Avatar
    added on 19 Aug, 2020

    Feelings (Emotion) are data is truly profound, ma'am , how about what we feel on hearing music , what is that data signalling?

  3. Avatar
    added on 19 Aug, 2020

    Ths should have million views. But people are to busy with social media and complaining about depression.

  4. Avatar
    added on 20 Aug, 2020

    Brilliant 👏

  5. Avatar
    added on 21 Aug, 2020

    I love women psychologists, all my favorite psychologists are women.

  6. Avatar
    added on 22 Aug, 2020

    Susan has a beguiling affect. Beauty is one the three virtues right? Great video

  7. Avatar
    added on 23 Aug, 2020

    One day, while analyzing my feelings, I came to the conclusion that my emotions where like indicator or bleeper lights. Whenever they come on, that's a signal that a core value has been triggered or satisfied.

    Wow! Wow! Wow. This is so encouraging to me, she explains things I started learning and realizing on my own about handling my emotions. I never realized that these things were the actual steps of what we need to do, I just realized that I have become more content, more happy, and I work better with myself.

    Ps: That south African accent 😍 proud moment.

  8. Avatar
    added on 26 Aug, 2020

    this is so good !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Avatar
    added on 27 Aug, 2020

    this all is even better explained and practiced with marshall rosenberg's non-violent communication.

  10. Avatar
    added on 28 Aug, 2020

    All people need the emotional skills that they are discussing in this video.

  11. Avatar
    added on 29 Aug, 2020

    So enlightening and empowering. I like that she sounds like a Cape Townian, flying the SA flag high 👏🏾

  12. Avatar
    added on 29 Aug, 2020

    favorite one so far

  13. Avatar
    added on 30 Aug, 2020

    Am I only one who is seeing parallels between what Professor David is saying and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ? Get hooked by our stories , noticing our emotions etc…

  14. Avatar
    added on 5 Sep, 2020

    Alot of what she says reminds me of what Allan watts talks about in line with Buddhism and life ect.

    Anyone else notice that?

  15. Avatar
    added on 7 Sep, 2020

    You should interview Sally Fallon.

  16. Avatar
    added on 10 Sep, 2020

    " Per the WHO depression is the LEADING cause of disability GLOBALLY" – 21 minute mark… This is deep stuff. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BRINGING THIS TO LIGHT!

  17. Avatar
    added on 10 Sep, 2020

    Susan David is wonderful! thank you!

  18. Avatar
    added on 14 Sep, 2020

    I think living your own values is antithetic to a capitalistic culture. Because I believe that people's values would naturally tend towards compassion, contentment, love, collaboration and so on. However, we are taught a set of values that go against our nature because they help keep the capitalistic machine running: work as much as you can, in order to make as much money as you can, excel at competition, in order to buy the most expensive ______, to show status and have power, and then achieve more, want more, because if not, you're not worth much. Even if recently corporations have started to sugar coat it with more humane values. So it's understandable that connecting to and living your own values is not encouraged in our current society, because it doesn't serve corporations we work for and all those companies trying to sell us things, unnecessary services, unnecessarily big houses, etc. So the big question for me is: is fully living your own values -moral values- in a capitalistic society possible? Probably not, and that's why we are bound to live in conflict, morally torn between our nature and what is expected of us/taught to us. Capitalism does not satisfy certain core needs we have as humans.

  19. Avatar
    added on 14 Sep, 2020

    Amazing conversation. Thank you both!!!!

  20. Avatar
    added on 17 Sep, 2020

    This is simply and egregiously normalizing negative thoughts and emotions that in fact are generated by stored negative memories that can now be totally/completely erased/deleted thereby not only boosting confidence, self esteem, energy and zest for life but creating an immense sense of resilience and empowerment. So, in my view, negative thoughts never serve you in any useful positive way, they only, if you check your own experience, when you have them, drain your energy, dampen motivation, create self doubt, paralysis of action, low self worth, despair, depression, and a tendency to give up just to name a few.

  21. Avatar
    added on 17 Sep, 2020

    "There's nothing inherently bad about any emotion the issue is only 'is it serving me now'" : That is a total contradiction! If it isn't serving you 'now' then it's restricting your personal growth/authentic expression of self and hence by definition it is 'bad'! The key is what does one do about it? Well, the first thing to do is to recognize one's personal experience of any given thought/emotion and gauge exactly/honestly what it is doing to one's motivation, energy, self esteem, self worth, sense of empowered freedom of expression, and one's life energy to name a few. Anything that undermines/depletes any of these 'in the moment/present' is inherently NOT useful! So what does one do about it? Psychotherapy or any reframing of such thoughts/emotions only keeps them in place and most importantly misses what is actually generating them i.e. the unconsciously stored negative/traumatic memories from earlier life that, even when you are not actively thinking about them spew out, like smoke from factory chimney stacks, this negativity. These unwelcomed thoughts/emotions are usually triggered by events in the present and flood one's conscious mind often paralyzing one's full sense of empowerment and self expression. The only way to diffuse/eliminate these negative thoughts/emotions is to completely/permanently delete the storehouse of stored unconscious negative memories (that I have called 'emotional landmines') from the mind/body. When this happens, one's essence, life force, authentic self, etc. is able to spontaneously re-inhabit that mind body (which was previously hijacked by that unwelcomed subconscious programming) and assume full control over the direction of one's life.

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