How do I make difficult emotional decisions?

What you will get from this article:

  • Understand the relationship between emotions and decision-making
  • Discover the heart’s role in emotional regulation
  • Learn how to process your emotions before making an important decision


Is there something in your life that needs to be dealt with, but because it involves emotions and decision-making, you’ve been putting it off? Maybe a current problem or ongoing situation, something frustrating, hurtful or sad? You need to take action, but you’re not sure how to do it without letting your emotions drive the train.

You’ll always have emotional decisions to make in your life. But that doesn’t mean you need to let your emotions run out of control. By learning to process what you’re feeling, you can better understand what you’re feeling and avoid the sort of emotional decision-making that has gotten so many in trouble.

You’ll also learn about heart breathing, a technique that helps you find focus and clarity. We’ll cover the scientific findings about the relationship between your brain and your heart, then explain the technique for you to try out yourself. As people attending Tony’s Date with Destiny and other seminars have learned, you’ll be able to change your emotional state and find the solutions you need, even for the most emotional decisions.

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The physiological relationship between your heart and brain

Research shows that you have 60 times the energy coming out of the heart as you do the brain. No wonder your heart’s state dramatically impacts how your brain works. You can see the connection here looking at these brain and heart monitor readings of someone under stress:

Both the EEG (measuring brain waves) and the EKG (measuring heart activity) are jagged. Suffering makes both sets of waves go sharply up and down; they’re also not at all aligned.

Now look at these readings for someone whose heart and brain are aligned:

Here the cycles of electricity in the brain and heart match. This happens when you breathe with your heart for two minutes. Everything synchronizes; the mind and heart are no longer separate.

What does this mean? That if you can channel the power of your heart, you can take back control of the mind and end your frustration and suffering. When your heart and mind are aligned, you aren’t mired in emotional decision-making anymore. Every part of you knows what to do.

Emotional decisions: Get out of your head and harness your heart

As Tony says, “Get in your head, you’re dead.” Lingering in your own mind lets you dwell on everything dark in your world – and all the bad things that could happen. 

Getting out of your head is the first step to making better emotional decisions. Leaving your mind allows you to look at a situation from all angles rather than just the one. When you see the entire picture – its negative and positive elements – it’s far more difficult to be stressed out by one tiny detail. 

Think about the way you feel when you’re grateful. When you’re in a state of gratitude, you can’t be angry or afraid. It’s impossible. 

But what if you’re not grateful?

You can fix that by changing your physiology, which changes your state of mind.

As we can clearly see, when you focus on the heart instead of the mind, everything becomes calm and regular. That’s the reason heart breathing uses gratitude as a focal point; it interrupts that negative state and harnesses your heart’s energy.

Tony talks about the heart as the central intelligence of the human spirit. Where better to find the answers you’re seeking? Think about it: When we go to therapy or talk with others trying to solve our problems, their outside perspective helps us see possible solutions. Because the heart is also autonomous from the other systems at work in your body, it can perform a similar function when you slow down and take the time to listen. By practicing heart breathing,  you can bring your emotional intelligence and decision-making into harmony.

Another benefit to harnessing your heart is its literal power. Remember, it’s got 60 times the energy of your brain. Instead of trying to process your problems with your brain alone, pair it up with the heart. It’s like swapping a bicycle for a rocket. Those emotional decisions you’ve been debating for weeks? That problem at work that’s making everything challenging? By breathing in your heart for two minutes you’ll find the answer you need. It’s already there. And with some practice, emotional decision-making will become less and less daunting.

Emotional intelligence and decision-making: Limiting beliefs

When managing your emotions and decision-making becomes challenging, it’s easy to view your feelings as a problem instead of a source of valuable information. If you engage this belief, you will shut down your emotions, fortify a limiting belief and deny your innate knowledge. 

Learning to synchronize your emotions and your rational decision-making processes is key to achieving true balance bringing your feelings, physiology, strengths and weaknesses into harmony. This way, emotions and decision-making can actually complement each other. Through this process of self-discovery and emotional mastery, you will be able to deeply connect with your purpose

When you are clear on your purpose in life, your feelings stop being a source of confusion and become a source of wisdom and guidance. Learn to tell yourself a new story and transform your life.

The power of heart breathing

Many people think that to control and process their emotions, they need to turn them off entirely. That’s not true – humans are emotional creatures, designed to factor feelings into everything they do. The key to pairing your rational mind with your emotions is through heart breathing.

Heart breathing draws your awareness to your heart and the power it generates. Practicing it will center you in your emotions without letting them run rampant.

A way to find answers in two minutes

1. Focus on the problem you’ve resolved to solve.

2. Take both hands and rub them from the lower part of your navel up your chest toward your head 10 times, feeling the energy. Then place your hands back on your heart. Breathe in your heart; feel its beauty, its strength.

3. Think of three things or moments you’re grateful for. One by one, feel that moment; breathe it, experience it and truly own it. Repeat with the other two. Remember: you can’t be angry and grateful simultaneously.

4. Ask yourself, “All I really need to do/focus on in that situation is what?” Breathe into your heart and you’ll find the answer there, bringing your emotions and decision-making processes into balance.

5. Remember this: “All I need is within me now.” Still not sure of your answer? Breathe a little deeper and just pick one of the possibilities you’ve found. Sometimes there isn’t a single right answer; the right one is to do something.

6. Give thanks to your heart for its gift to you. Touch your heart and say “I love you, thank you” at least three times with strength and certainty.

Heart Breathing Demonstration

How to process your emotions

Once you’ve mastered heart breathing, you’re well on your way to understanding what you feel in the heat of an emotional moment. These four tips will help you further stay in command of your senses the next time you’re faced with emotional decisions.

Figure out the facts

Your initial response is driven by feeling, and what you feel may not be reflective of the situation at hand. Looking at the facts helps you separate the emotion from your present situation.

Find out why you feel this way

You’re reacting to this situation for a reason. Has something like this happened to you before? Has it happened to a friend? Sorting out why you feel the way you do separates you from your immediate feelings and allows you to make a calm, rational decision.

Stay present

It’s too easy to dwell on everything terrible that could happen. Don’t get stuck in your head – that’s a quick way to visions of a bleak future and everything going wrong. Stay grounded and remember that you control your life. What you do here and now is what matters. 

Don’t rush

We often react emotionally because we feel put on the spot. Next time you’re faced with an emotional decision, take a moment or two to practice heart breathing and the steps above. Don’t say anything and don’t do anything until that process is complete. You’re allowing yourself time to deliberate and understand your feelings, and your response will come from a place of balance.

Take complete control of every decision you make

Discover ways to be sure of every emotional decision you make with Tony Robbins’ free audio on the 4 Rules of Decision Making.