Name It

A useful tip I found today was to name your emotions rather than suppressing them:

Gross found that people who tried to suppress a negative emotional experience failed to do so. While they thought they looked fine outwardly, inwardly their limbic system was just as aroused as without suppression, and in some cases, even more aroused.

But labeling, on the other hand, makes a big difference….

…. describe an emotion in just a word or two, and it helps reduce the emotion.

                     via this great post at Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

This probably explains in part why writing things down helps so much – it forces you to use other parts of your brain.

The post at BUTWT was based on an interview with Alex Korb, a neuroscience researcher, whose book The Upward Spiral, I just added to my ‘To Read’ list. 


The book apparently discusses the neuroscience behind going from a downward to an upward spiral via behaviour, such as:

• restful sleep

• sufficient exercise

• healthy diet

• getting adequate social support

• practicing mindfulness

• clarifying your values (new to me?!)

• meaningful goal setting and accomplishment

• changing maladaptive thinking habits

So, I’ve heard all this stuff a million times. I’m curious to understand how, why, if it works!