Today’s topic was weirdly and almost synergistically created. As I was researching emotional expression, two quite different sources led me to the work of Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett. I’ll share her and Dr. Tim Lomas’ work with you today, as we discover an entirely new way of thinking about how emotions are created. And maybe just why someone who’s learned to “suck it up” struggles to even feel painful emotion at all.
The listener email today was created due to my sticking my foot in my mouth and saying something that was incorrect and potentially hurtful. A listener. who’s also a therapist and has shared this podcast with several of her clients, was very disappointed in me for something I said in the most recent podcast. And she was absolutely right. So I want to set the record straight. I’ve already apologized to her privately, but I wanted to correct and publicly address my overly hasty words.
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And a quote from him: “In our stream of consciousness – that wash of different sensations feelings and emotions – there’s so much to process that a lot passes us by,” Lomas says. “The feelings we have learned to recognise and label are the ones we notice – but there’s a lot more that we may not be aware of. And so I think if we are given these new words, they can help us articulate whole areas of experience we’ve only dimly noticed.”
And a quote from her: “If you think about it from a brain’s standpoint, it’s trapped in a dark, silent box called your skull, and has no access to the causes of the sensations it receives. It only has the effects, and it has to figure out what caused them. So how does it do this? There’s one other thing it can use, and that’s past experience. The idea is that your brain is constantly predicting what sensory inputs to expect and what action to take, based on past experience. Then it uses the incoming input to either confirm its prediction, or change it. It works this way for vision, hearing, taste—for every sense. I think the way emotions are made is not special: your brain makes an emotion by using prior experiences of emotion to predict and explain incoming sensory inputs, and guide action.”
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My new book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression has been published and you can order here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life. And it’s available in paperback, eBook or as an audiobook!
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