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

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  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.” ;)

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