A Simple Way to Calm Yourself: Describe Your EmotionOver the weekend, I read David Rock’s very interesting book, Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long.

One strategy particularly struck me. He suggested that if you’re feeling a negative emotion, you can work to reduce it simply by labeling it in one or two words.

Note, however, that thinking or talking at length about the emotional state tends to intensify it, while simply observing and labeling it helps to quell it.

I do this myself, instinctively. I find myself thinking, “I’m overwhelmed” or “I’m frazzled” or “I’m feeling defensive” — and it’s odd how calming it is. Just putting a label on a feeling helps me to master it.

For those who enjoy reading about what’s happening in their right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and elsewhere, Rock explains how brain function accounts for this phenomenon.

?How about you?
Have you ever tried a strategy like this — and did it work?

 

Lots of great material on Positive Prescription — I especially enjoy the category Visual Prozac — “because looking at beautiful things increases happiness.” Indeed.

I got a big kick from seeing The Happiness Project make an appearance in Dan Zevin’s hilarious piece in the New York Times Sunday Review, on The Dow Jones Emotional Average.  “The Dow feels better about itself today after it stayed up all night reading ‘The Happiness Project.'”

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 3 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.


    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Mar 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Rubin, G. (2013). A Simple Way to Calm Yourself: Describe Your Emotion. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/03/21/a-simple-way-to-calm-yourself-describe-your-emotion/

 

Recent Comments
  • Seducelove: Women and men communicate in entirely different ways, especially these days that women have become more...
  • Mike: This was such a good read that I took time out to leave a comment (on an unknown website with an unknown...
  • Amanda: 2 days ago I started having flu like symptoms col hot headache nausea sore body extreme lack of energy the...
  • anonymous: Are you kidding me? A victim of this would actually choose this life? And that’s what I’m...
  • 707: So basically, if you can’t afford it, you’re screwed.
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 8769
Join Us Now!