Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Brain - A User's Guide to Emotions and Emotional Styles

This is a cool graphic that Pamela Brooke (from who emailed the link to me because she thought those of you who read this blog might find it interesting - and it is pretty cool.

Below the graphic, I have included the text from the section on emotional styles and how to change (retrain) your brain.

The Brain: A User's Guide to Emotions

The Brain: A User's Guide to Emotions

Emotional Styles - How to Retrain Your Brain

Six emotional dimensions that shape our lives and determine how we respond to our environment and the people around us, based on activity in the brain.


- Definition: The ability to recover from adversity.
- Originates: Signals between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.
- How to retrain: Engage regularly in mindfulness meditation, focusing on your breathing and the sensations in your body.


- Definition: The ability to sustain a positive emotional viewpoint.
- Originates: Ventral straitum
- How to retrain: Fill your workstation and home with positive reminders of happy times, such as vacations or photos of friends and family; change those photos every few weeks. Express gratitude frequently by thanking people and keeping a gratitude journal.


- Definition: The ability to determine the physical signals that reflect emotions
- Originates: Signals between visceral organs and the insula
- How to retrain: For the overly self-aware and critical, practice non-judgmentally observing thoughts and feelings; for those who want to develop more self-awareness, tune in frequently to your body and determine how you feel and where those feelings originate.

Social interactions

- Definition: The ability to interpret social cues
- Originates: Interplay between the amygdala and fusiform
- How to retrain: Watch the body language of strangers and try to guess what emotions they are expressing. Work up to doing the same with family, friends and colleagues, monitoring how their body language matches with their tone of voice.

Sensitivity to context

- Definition: The ability to regulate responses based on the context of a situation
- Originates: Activity levels in the hippocampus
- How to retrain: List behaviors or events that trigger responses and consider why they did so. Think about your behaviors in those situations, meditating and breathing deeply until you feel more relaxed.


- Definition: The sharpness and clarity of focus
- Originates: Regulated by the prefrontal cortex
- How to retrain: Spend 10 minutes a day sitting in a quiet room and focusing on one object, refocusing when your attention wanders. 


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