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.

3 Comments to
A Simple Way to Calm Yourself: Describe Your Emotion

Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. The comments below begin with the oldest comments first. Click on the last comments page to jump to the most recent comments.

  1. As a social worker working with children every day, I think this sounds like a great strategy – especially with school-age children!

  2. This seems really good especially for people who get easily anxious or mad. Labeling the emotion means that you are actually addressing that you are feeling something but you don’t over think to avoid anxiety. I agree, this might be a good strategy.

  3. Personally, I find labeling the feeling/emotion does bring awareness, and I find it’s more effective to simply “allow” myself to feel what I feel. Without agenda, without labels, without resistance. Labeling the emotion sort of brings the implication along that I’m trying to gt rid of it. “What we resist, persists.” ;)

Join the Conversation!

Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines.

Post a Comment:


(Required, will be published)

(Required, but will not be published)

(Optional)

Recent Comments
  • Blufusion: For me that opportunity came in Sept of 2001. After working in TV Broadcasting for 20 at that time. I was...
  • mike: Thank you
  • lisa: The original post says at the end to call the police. As if I want to be forced into a crazy bin. I already...
  • nowiknow: My Lord, it has taken me YEARS to finally figure out who I am married to–an extreme narcissist. My...
  • Jeanne Melanson: I love this article. I have suffered from chronic depression for most of my 58 years. I’ve...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12224
Join Us Now!