The Myth of Positive Emotions

posted in: Emotions | 25

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 gifts of happiness!

posted in: Emotions | 3

We arrive at happiness! Happiness arises to help 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 … Read More

Four ideas that lead directly to emotional confusion

posted in: Emotions | 8

The Wonderful World of Emotions! As we study emotions empathically, we’ll look at each emotion in terms of what it does, what gifts it brings you, and how you can work with it — but before we look at emotions individually, I’d like to focus on four ideas that are widely shared, completely accepted — and absolutely problematic. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s ground-breaking reframing of emotions as … Read More

The Happiness Myth

posted in: Emotions | 2

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

Critical thinking skills for your emotions

posted in: Emotions | 34

When I go out to speak about The Language of Emotions, I often have the audience call out the things they’ve learned about emotions. I start off by saying “Big girls don’t cry, There’s nothing to be afraid of, You should be ashamed of yourself …” and then the audience adds their own versions of the messages we all get as other people attempt to manage … Read More

The emotion lists!

posted in: Emotions | 18

Hey!  Thanks for all your help!  We’ve got some excellent and articulated emotion lists to help us become fluent in the language of emotions. Let’s take a look at our updated emotion lists now that we’ve discussed them and organized the categories. In this post, I’ll give you the vocabulary lists without any of the explanations or caveats we had in the original posts (post 1, … Read More

Creating our emotional vocabulary

posted in: Emotions | 39

The more I talk to people about emotions, the more I realize how paltry our emotional vocabulary tends to be.  This is a problem, because descriptive words help us understand ourselves and the world around us. If we don’t have enough names for our emotions, it’s hard to get a handle on what we’re feeling when an emotion arises. I’ve been looking at the work of … Read More

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

posted in: Emotions | 42

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

The Gifts of Contentment

posted in: Emotions | 6

It’s clear that many of us avoid the so-called “difficult” emotions, such as sadness or anger, and that in so doing, we also inadvertently avoid the gifts and strengths they bring. Though it is very unfortunate, it makes sense that we avoid these emotions, because they’ve gotten such terrible press. However, I’ve been interested to see that many of us also avoid the so-called “positive” emotions … Read More