Empaths on the Autism Spectrum, part 2

Continued from part 1 After spending just two weeks as an academic liaison for twenty-two people on the Autism Spectrum (and getting a sense for their inner lives), I started to observe my own behavior more closely. I’m very sensitive to sounds, colors, movement, and social cues — I love patterns, numbers, and being alone, and I have intense (often excruciating) empathy. I wondered: Am I … Read More

Empaths on the Autism Spectrum, part 1

Can I do this job? In early 2006, I got a job working as an academic liaison for a group of 22 college-aged students on the Autism Spectrum. My job was to help the students with all of their academic needs: scheduling, counseling, learning accommodations, tutoring, social services, transportation … I was hired to create a total support system under and around the students so that … Read More

The Language of Emotions wins! Now with more bling!

Wow! Silver and Gold! In May, we found out that The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings are Trying to Tell You (Sounds True, June 2010) won two national book awards: 2010 Gold Medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards (in Self Help) The Independent Publisher Book Awards recognizes the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and rewards those who exhibit … Read More

We can only talk if you can be emotional!

So I’m leaving the YMCA after my swim yesterday morning, and I overhear an older couple having an argument. I don’t know what preceded this statement, but the man snapped at his wife, “We can’t talk if you’re going to be emotional about it!” “Hah!” I said in my head as I walked past them, “Hah! And you think you’re not being emotional, old man? I … Read More

Surviving the apocalypse, chapter 743

Okay, we’ve survived the most recent prophecy about the end of the world, but (spoiler!) we always will. Prophecies are richly fascinating, and they tell us so much — sociologically, anthropologically, and historically — about what their believers feel, sense, think, and hope about the world, but they’re never right. This weekend, yet another group of believers found that out for themselves. My hope is that … Read More

Why did you believe in the end of the world?

I’ve been thinking — or more honestly, feeling — a great deal about this weekend’s purported Judgment Day, when there will supposedly be huge, planet-wide earthquakes, a rapture into heaven for 200 million true believers, and the beginning of the end of the world. The Apocalypse, Armageddon, Judgment Day. Of course, none of that will happen. It never happens. Hundreds and thousands of Judgment Days, Armageddons, … Read More

Protecting yourself from emotional abuse

Whew! The earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the seemingly endless turmoil in the Middle East and Africa, the financial crisis and the economic downturn it caused, and over the weekend, the Supermoon? That’s a lot to take in. Even without any media jacking you up, it’s a lot to take in. So here’s my suggestion: Be very mindful about what else you take in. In Buddhism, … Read More

Befriending anxiety in 2011. Huzzah!

Happy New Year! In these first days of 2011, I wish you health, strong relationships, emotional awareness, peace, empathy, compassion, humor, meaningful work, and excellent rest! So many of us went through upheavals in 2010 that I think we could all use a rest and a break. Here’s a strange idea: Let’s befriend anxiety! I’ve been thinking a lot about fear and anxiety this month, and … Read More

Are you positive about emotions?

As tan bear clearly shows us, if there’s one thing many people know about emotions, it’s the idea that there are positive ones and negative ones. But it’s not just silly cartoon animals that share this idea: In emotion research, the categorization of emotions into the two simple categories of positivity and negativity is called valencing. Valencing theory tells us that there are two kinds of … Read More

Are you a skilled emotionologist?

As psychology, neuroscience, and primatology leap forward in understanding, we’re finally remembering that empathy and emotions are essential to our intelligence. The old, tired idea that emotions are the opposite of rationality has been superseded by this: emotions and rationality are partners in cognition. You can’t think clearly without your emotions, and you can’t emote skillfully without your verbal, rational intelligence. One aspect of your cognition … Read More

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