The Myth of Second-Hand Emotions

It’s normal for emotions to work together One big misunderstanding happens regularly with anger – which many people misidentify as a “second-hand emotion.” People have a lot of mistaken ideas about anger, but this is one of the most unfortunate. This second-hand mistake is a very easy one to make if you don’t understand how anger will arise to protect you and your other emotions (and … Read More

The Rejuvenation practice

Accessing happiness and joy in grounded and healthy ways Sadly, many of us were taught that happiness and joy are the only worthwhile emotions. Happiness and joy are very important emotions, but they’re just 2 emotions in the marvelous family of 17 emotions, and they can’t possibly work by themselves! Many of us run after these two emotions and try to imprison them, but that’s a … Read More

What’s new in the Happiness Family?

New questions for an entire family! In the newly revised and updated Language of Emotions, the Happiness Family has been upgraded: now, all of these emotions have questions instead of just statements! The emotions in this family are connected to your capacity for hope, amusement, confidence, and inspiration. They are: Happiness, Contentment, and Joy. In this video, I explore the changes I made to this important … Read More

A troubling facet of joy: Exhilaration

When joy gets stuck: Exhilaration We’ve looked at the three happiness-family emotions: contentment, which is like a deep and healing breath that follows a sense of inner achievement; the giddier state of happiness, which bubbles up, takes your hand, and skips with you into the bright future; and joy, which arises when you’ve worked to arrive at a place of beauty and full-bodied communion. However, there’s … Read More

The gifts of happiness!

Happiness helps you look outward (or forward to the future) with hope and delight! As I’ve been posting about the emotions one by one, you may have noticed that when I talk about emotions, I almost never start with the happiness-based emotions. It’s not that I don’t like happiness; I do! It’s that the three different types of happiness I identify in my work — happiness, … Read More

The Myth of Positive Emotions

The Myth of Positive Emotions is of course related to The Myth of Negative Emotions In my work with emotions, I don’t treat any emotion as better or worse than any other. Instead, I focus on why each emotion arises, what job it does, and how you can work with each and every emotion you have. When you can see your emotions as important parts of … Read More

The Myth of Negative Emotions

The Myth of Negative Emotions is of course related to The Myth of Positive Emotions In my work with emotions, I focus on the intelligence, gifts, and skills that every emotion brings to you. I don’t leave any emotions out, and I don’t treat any emotion as better or worse than any other. This unified approach to emotions treats all emotions as vital, irreplaceable aspects of … Read More

The Happiness Myth

Right now, I’m re-reading an amazing book by the historian, philosopher, poet, and funny kook Jennifer Michael Hecht. The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think is Right is Wrong. If you’re feeling troubled about the current state of the world, and confused by what seems like weekly changes to scientific theories about happiness, this book is just what the doctor ordered. There is so much to … Read More

What’s so funny ’bout “negative” emotions?

Last week, I spoke at two bookstores here in California. During one Q&A, someone asked me about the ideas a current spiritual teacher has about emotions. This teacher says that emotions are the body’s responses to thoughts. I blurted out “Oh, he’s full of sh!t.” Out loud. I experienced a complete failure of my internal monologue system. Oh shiiiite! You could hear a pin drop, and … Read More