Wednesday, April 18, 2018

“I am sorry” vs “I regret”

A very different meaning or impression can be given to others depending on whether you use “I’m sorry” or “I regret” and it is important to understand their differing meanings and use them correctly. “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” indicates that you personally did something to trigger the accident or cause the mistake. “I regret” indicates that you acknowledge what happened but that you personally did not trigger the accident or cause the mistake. For example, I visit friends and their dog—in an apparently state of excitement to see me—leaps over the couch and knocks a glass lamp to the floor where it shatters into a million pieces. The appropriate response is, “I regret that happened.” This acknowledges what happened but also indicates that you are not accepting responsibility for the accident. More tomorrow

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Brain Goals

Live at joy and move up and down the Emotions Staircase for brief periods of time to get the information the specific emotion is trying to move from your subconscious to your conscious mind so you can become aware of something and take appropriate action. Sometimes the goal is to pay attention and learn but take no immediate action. Rather, you file away the information and when you next encounter a similar situation you have more than one option to consider selecting in terms of actions and behaviors.

According to Candace B. Pert, PhD, a specific neuropeptide may be associated with each emotion so you can only experience one core emotion at a time. Think of your brain as containing your own personal Broadway stage. You are “on stage” every moment of your life. Only one actor or personal assistant (core emotion) can be with you on the stage at any given time. You can experience each emotion and receive the information it provides without emoting (e.g., giving expression to it, or taking any action, or exhibiting any behavior related to the emotion). 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Brain Centers

You are not responsible for every emotion that surfaces. Some emotions may be triggered by your own thoughts and what you see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. But some emotions may be triggered by something in the external environment. Since your brain creates your “feelings” (your interpretation of what the emotion is trying to tell you) however, all things being equal you are responsible for the feelings you hang onto over time. Emotional signals appear to be interpreted into feelings in the frontal lobes of the neocortex or 3rd brain layer. The pre-frontal areas directly behind your forehead help to identify the emotions and the feelings and to moderate emotional expression related to them. Emotional impulses tend to arise in the mammalian or 2nd brain layer. Old habit patterns tend to hang around in the reptilian or 1st brain layer and can surface quickly if your brain downshifts into that layer due to anger or fear. “Emotional processes operate at a much higher speed than thoughts, and often bypass the mind’s linear reasoning process entirely” (Joseph LeDoux - The Emotional Brain)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Feelings 101, Part 3

Emotions arise in the mammalian or 2nd brain layer (middleand then quickly spread to every cell in the body changing your physiology. The body and brain tend to quickly become aware of these physiological changes,

The brain appears to interpret emotions into feelings in the frontal lobes of the neocortex or 3rd brain layer (top)

The pre-frontal cortex helps to moderate expression of both emotions and feelings and selects preferred actions and behaviors—otherwise previously loaded habits (often of the knee-jerk variety) in the reptilian or 1st brain layer (bottom) will take over automatically.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Feelings 101, Part 2

Feelings are explanations (short-hand labels) that your brain creates about the emotion to describe what it thinks the emotion means and its relative importance in your life. The explanations may be accurate or inaccurate because you know only what you know and your explanations are of necessity based on what you know.

The brain’s explanations, correct or incorrect, create your feelings. As soon as you recognize a feeling, it is empowering to know that you are capable of choosing whether or not you want to maintain that feeling over time or whether you want to feel a different feeling. Since feelings always follow your thoughts, if you want to change the way you feel you must change the way you think. Your behaviors tend to follow the feelings you choose to harbor and hang onto.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Feelings 101

There does not appear to be one distinct emotions center in the brain. When an emotion is triggered, it tends to arise simultaneously in cells throughout brain and body as a product of the brain and body acting in concert. When in the grip of a strong emotion, you are in a biochemically-altered state. Emotions and feelings represent differing but inter-related concepts that follow separate and different pathways in the brain. They are mediated by two distinct neuronal systems [The Lancet Neurology, March 2004]. In and of themselves, emotions and feelings are not Emotional Intelligence—but EQ involves applying your knowledge of emotions and feelings effectively and appropriately in order to increase your likelihood of success. It also involves selecting with care the behaviors you exhibit around those feelings. It means selecting with care the four or five people with whom you spend the most time as within about three years you are likely to begin picking up the characteristics they exhibit.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Emotion Cascade Summary

An internal or external stimulus triggers an emotion. Your brain tries to make sense of the physiological changes in your body resulting from the emotion. The brain’s interpretation creates thoughts and feelings. You become aware of a thought (I feel . . . I think) and either hang onto it and exhibit a behavior related to that feeling or thought or you change the thought and the subsequent feeling and behavior. When you understand that your feelings are connected to what you think about an event more than by the event itself, you can gain a measure of perspective and control. You may not be able to alter the event but you can change your thoughts, and a change in thoughts often can radically alter your feelings as well as your behaviors—because feelings follow thoughts and actions and behaviors follow feelings.

Hemispheres and Emotions

There are potentially 100 times more connections between the right hemisphere of the brain and the subconscious emotional mammalian or 2nd brain layer. This suggests that individuals whose innate brain bent is in the right hemisphere may be more aware of and in touch with emotion in themselves and in others. This does not necessarily mean that they manage their emotions effectively or that they have high levels of Emotional Intelligence; just that they may be more aware of emotions than those whose innate brain bent is in the left hemisphere. Having said that, any human being with a functional brain may choose to learn about emotions and feelings, know themselves, and build skills related to Emotional Intelligence--because EQ involves a set of “learned skills.”

Monday, April 9, 2018

EQ Behavior – 8

Individuals with high levels of EQ skills tend to exhibit the following behavior quite consistently.

They are able to handle relationships effectively, minimizing any tendency to exhibit JOT behaviors. They avoid jumping to conclusions, overreacting, and taking things personally. Reduce those "low EQ" behaviors and that in and of itself can tend to diminish the amount of potential hurt feelings and conflict in your life.

Emotions Staircase

According to Candace B Pert, PhD, emotions are measurable physical responses, neuropeptides that are triggered by internal thoughts or external events or situations—designed to connect the subconscious mind with the conscious. Each comes with specific physiological markers, facial expressions, and typical actions and behaviors. Think of them as your four most critically important assistants. The ideal is to live at joy and move up and down the staircase for brief periods of time as appropriate, based on the situation and what you need to learn about and take care of.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Emotional Motivators – Surprise & Disgust

Rather than being described as core emotions, surprise and disgust tend to be viewed as emotional motivators. They may surface in combination with any core emotion. They can increase the strength of any core emotion or a reaction/action/behavior related to the emotion.

Surprise can strengthen a core emotions with a sense that whatever happened was completely unexpected. Regardless of whether it was good or bad, happy or sad, or indifferent, you were not expecting what happened.

Disgust can strengthen a core emotion with a sense of revulsion, aversion, repugnance, or profound disapproval aroused by something you perceived to be extremely unpleasant or offensive or a breach of good manners; or something you hate or abhor, or consider to be an abomination.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Emotional Interrupters – Guilt

Healthy guilt, sometimes referred to as contrition, is an emotional interrupter designed to get your attention. Healthy guilt tells you that you made a mistake (e.g., violated a code of etiquette or conduct or expectations, were careless or unthinking). It reminds you that you’re human. All humans makes mistakes and you can learn a new way. It suggests you make restitution whenever and wherever possible. 

Unfortunately guilt is often completely misunderstood and turned into unhealthy guilt.

Unhealthy guilt is usually a learned response that often begins in early childhood. Unhealthy guilt says that you yourself are a mistake and nothing can remedy that. It’s hopeless. You may as well just go out to the garden and eat worms because that’s all you deserve.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Emotional Interrupters – Shame

Rather than being described as core emotions, many consider shame and guilt to be emotional interrupters. They interrupt whatever is happening in order to get your attention. Likely learned reactions, each may be helpful and healthy or false and unhealthy. Your sense of shame may develop very early in childhood. Unhealthy or false shame says you yourself are a bad person who deserves humiliation and disgust—even abusewhether or not you made a mistake. False shame’s response: What a complete putz! I am so inadequate and pathetic!

Healthy shame or contrition triggers a sense of embarrassment, distress, or dread from a recognition of your mistake. It can prompt you to apologize and to make attempts to remedy the consequences insofar as it is possible to do so. Healthy shame’s response: Oops, I made a mistake—I am choosing a more functional behavior!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Male-Female Differences

Researchers showed a group of participants pictures that were designed to elicit the emotion of anger. Females typically were unaware of their anger, identifying it as sadness. As mentioned earlier this may be a socialized response to avoid coming across as “angry and unfeminine.” Males recognized their anger, perhaps due to socialization that anger is masculine and acceptable.
When shown pictures designed to elicit the emotion of sadness, opposite findings emerged. Females were aware of their sadness. Males, however, did not recognize their sadness, identifying it as anger. Again perhaps due to socialization that sadness is not masculine.
Since these differences appear to be socialized beginning in early childhood, there are some frightening and potential negative outcomes that may occur in adulthood, especially for relationship harmony and satisfaction.

Monday, April 2, 2018



Much in the same way that euphoria is a real state, although not a core emotion in and of itself, apathy is not a core emotion, either. Apathy can be described as an energy-less state of seeming indifference or lack of interest in much of anything. It can be the result of a complete overwhelm of unmanaged emotions that gradually spirals down into a shutting down of feeling and caring sensations. Interestingly enough, people rarely commit suicide when in a state of apathy – they don’t have enough energy!

This may be perceived by others as a seeming lack of concern about mental, emotional, physical, social, relational, spiritual, and health issues; as a lack of personal self-care (and sometimes as a lack of care for and toward others, including spouse, partner, children, work associates, and close friends). Over time and if not resolved, this state may lead to illness, addictions, disease, and even death.