To do this -- (same way as with our alcohol-ism) -- the trick is in "understanding the nature" of the problem. ie: "What is: Alcohol-ism".
So, w/ Emotional problems, and directing our emotions -- we first have to learn "what is an emotion"?
An Emotion -- is nothing more than a "feeling". That's why we call "feelings" -- "emotions" -- because emotions are something that we feel. If you can't feel it -- it isn't an emotion.
Where do emotions come from? Emotions are "expressed thoughts."
We are "expressing a thought" when we are "feeling an emotion."
Therefore, Emotions -- are the result of a "thought." And, by "changing the thought" -- we will automatically change "the feeling" -- the emotion.
So, we have to also ask: "What is a thought?"
What does the physical brain do -- to manufacture a thought?
I'll try to keep this simple!
A thought in the brain can be measured -- by hooking up an instrument to the brain -- to observe the changes in a brain -- when a thought takes place. Scientist have observed a measurable and observable "bio-chemical change" in the brain when a thought takes place. Also, another instrument can be hooked up to the brain to measure and monitor "electrical activity" in a brain -- when a thought takes place.
The brain -- biologically -- takes nutrients and chemicals that are already in the brain -- and mixes them -- to produce a unique mix (a compound) of other of chemicals and elements -- and this compound chemical that it creates -- creates an electrical charge in the brain -- that fires off electrical charges to different nerves and parts of the brain.
When this takes place -- the central nervous system of the body -- reacts to the chemicals produced in the brain -- and our body "feels it." Much the same way as what happens to an alcoholic -- when the alcoholic takes a drink. The drink is a chemical -- that mixes in the brain -- with other biological chemicals and nutrients in the brain -- and when a "thought takes place" in an intoxicated brain -- the "toxification" of chemicals results in biological and physiological changes in our body -- we sense an "ease of comfort" ... not as a result of the alcohol alone -- but because of the mix of alcohol and the chemicals produced in the physical brain.
With that out of the way -- now we can get to the simple stuff.
"A feeling" is the result of a "thinking". That's what's simple.
Change the thinking -- and you'll automatically change the feeling.
So, how do we accomplish this -- in relationship to our recovery from alcoholism? Simple: We change the actions -- and the actions changes the thinking -- and this change in thinking that was produced by the change in actions -- changes the feelings.
Taking an action - will change a thought. Changing the thought -- changes the emotion.
So, by "taking a prescribed course of actions" (following a to-do list, for example)... or a list of "12 Steps"... "a program of action"... we can create any feeling that we desire -- good or bad. Fear into faith. Calamity with serenity.
Lab lesson #1: Take a sheet of paper and a pen -- make a list of things that you've done -- that you felt good while doing it. Write it down (these are prescribed 'actions')... As you think about the thing that you did that made you feel good -- it will automatically make you feel better.
In AA -- how do we 'change our thinking?' -- we do it by changing the direction of our feet.
This is the same "magic" that takes place when we write a "gratitude list." Writing the gratitude list -- is actions -- that we are taking -- and these actions (writing the gratitude list) changes the way we feel.