Emotional Roulette

Letting the dice decide your emotions

Troy Erstling
May 14 · 4 min read

Today I want to share with you a game that I recently learned from the book, “ The Diceman” by Luke Reinhart, called “Emotional Roulette”.

To set some context, The Diceman is the story of a Psychiatrist who decides to make all of his decisions by a roll of the dice.

For every decision he lists out 6 options. Whichever option it lies on, he has to do, no excuses.

Over time he applies this technique across a variety of situations, and eventually starts to use it on his clients in what he begins to call “Dice Therapy.”

Although controversial, a lot of great techniques have come out as a result of dice therapy…like this one called “Emotional Roulette” -

“The student lists six possible emotions, lets a die choose one and then expresses that emotion as dramatically as he can for at least two minutes.It’s probably the most useful of the dice exercises, letting the student express all kinds of long-suppressed emotions which he usually doesn’t even know he has.”

Ex)

  1. = Anger
  2. = Sadness
  3. = Excitement
  4. = Love
  5. = Happiness/Joy
  6. = Anxiety

Roll the dice, and wherever it lands, you must act.

But don’t just act — try to legitimately FEEL that emotion. Get in touch with it. Search within for the emotions and try to express it and let it out of you. Be authentic.

Why would someone want to do this?

For one, it’s a great way to learn emotional control.

The point of this game is to be able to get in touch with your emotions at the snap of a finger.

In the same way that an actor has to try and pretend to be a certain emotion when playing a role, you must attempt to get yourself into the emotional mindset that is called upon you.

When we practice an emotion, we familiarize ourselves with how it feels. Then, when that emotion arises in our day to day lives, if it’s more familiar we recognize it, we’re aware of it.

With awareness it loses the power and control it has over us. Instead of blindly reacting to the emotion out of habit, we can allow ourselves to feel it and decide the proper action.

For example you might normally have a short temper, and by noticing the feelings associated with anger be able to spot it sooner and calm yourself down before it gets out of control.

Or maybe you have social anxiety and freeze up. By practicing the emotion you feel when that happens, you can desensitize yourself to it in the future.

We can also use this game to discover and then express emotions we didn’t even know were there!

Emotional roulette teaches us familiarity which gives us awareness which then allows us to take control.

I’ll never forget, during my 2nd 10-Day Vipassana meditation retreat I started crying for no apparent reason. Completely disconnected from thought, I could feel sadness welling up inside of me and then pouring out of me.

Although I didn’t know it, there was sadness inside of me that needed to be expressed.

Or there have been other times when I’ve asked myself to journal on anger and frustration I’ll often write PAGES but in my day to day life I’m not a very angry person.

When we play emotional roulette, we give ourselves the chance to feel emotions we normally don’t give ourselves the chance to feel. We give ourselves the opportunity to dive into our emotions and explore what’s there.

It has also taught me how much my mood is a choice.

If I can “flip the happiness/sadness/negativity switch” so to speak on command, then I realistically could do this any day I want to.

When I’m in a bad mood, I’m CHOOSING to be in a bad mood. There’s an external factor outside of my control that is giving me a reason, a justification, a rationalization, to be in a bad mood, but I don’t have to take the bait.

I have a CHOICE! I can choose to be grateful instead. I can imagine that the dice told me to see the bright side, and intentionally choose to see the bright side and learn.

This is life. While external things can happen to us, we can choose how we respond to them. The dice and emotional roulette have taught me that I am in control.

Lastly, Joe Rogan recently said “find the struggle or the struggle will find you”.

I think this applies to emotions as well — find your emotions or they will find you.

Search for your hidden anxieties. Search for your hidden stress. Let out the anger you didn’t know you had. Or maybe you do know you have all of this inside and you’re not letting it out — give the dice a roll and let it all pour out of you!

May this exercise help you in your journey to better understand yourself and build a better relationship with yourself. May this help you to release emotions you didn’t know were there. May it help you to become a happier, healthier person 🙂

Other articles you will enjoy from me:

Originally published at https://troyerstling.com on May 14, 2019.

Communicate with me: Facebook / Instagram / Youtube

Troy Erstling

Written by

Thoughts on how to live a happy life and perform at your best https://upscri.be/8c6085/