Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Interesting Research Study about Emotions

This is an interesting article: researchers identified “bodily sensations associated with different emotions.” Here's the link:  http://www.pnas.org/content/111/2/646.full.pdf 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Naturally Sad?

On Facebook, one reader said that he doesn't believe in controlling emotions, because humans are sad by nature. I suppose considering that we’re all doomed to die, we have good reasons to be sad, if you think about it. Thinking about it, however, doesn't need to involve an emotional response. And the fact that our lives end is a fact, an emotionally neutral fact. Interpreting this fact through sadness, I believe is a cultural phenomenon. But I don’t like abstract philosophical concepts, and practically speaking, none of our emotions is perfect. These imperfections are implemented in each emotion by design, and their purpose is to create a pathway through which you can change your mind. For example, imagine that you wish to buy a car. Let's suppose you really want one particular model, and thinking about it excites you, makes you happy. But then you discover something about that car’s flaws, and you no longer want it. You no longer feel joy when you’re thinking about it. Note that there’s nothing about the car that would suggest an emotional response. The emotion that you’d experience is entirely internally generated in your mind. In order for such a shift in emotions to take place, your mind turns off the joy that it had attached to the idea of the car and replaced it with a new one. Your mind can turn off an emotion because any emotion always contains defects, which your mind uses to turn your emotions off. These defects also allow you to turn off any emotion that bothers you, either temporarily or, with many repetitions, permanently.  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Is It Controversial?

I had an interesting conversation with one reader. On one hand, this young lady who read Secret Techniques for Controlling Sadness, Anger, Fear, Anxiety, and Other Emotions asked me why nowhere it says that the book is controversial? I didn't understand why it is controversial, so she explained that all the books that she had read on the topic of emotions tell you to think positively, or to change your attitude, or change environment, or try finding what caused you to feel that way. But Secret Techniques teaches that your body plays a crucial role in emotional formation and that we can use our bodies to change our emotions—that’s controversial.

But on the other hand, she was really upset that the examples used in my book never end. “For example, that girl who wanted to buy a penthouse, did she buy it or didn't she? Every example stops abruptly in the middle of the most interesting part, and you never tell what happens next! That’s terrible!” the reader said. 

I never thought about it this way. The most challenging aspect of Secret Techniques for Controlling Sadness, Anger, Fear, Anxiety, and Other Emotions was to have readers experience each emotion and then guide them through turning that emotion down and off. The best way to achieve it, I thought, would be to tell the readers a story that should trigger a specific emotional response and then guide them step by step through the techniques of controlling those emotions. I hope not too many readers were upset about the stories ending at the most interesting place. (In case somebody else wonders, no, she did not buy the penthouse.)