by Dr. Manijeh Motaghy, Founder and Program Director

It is important to understand emotions and feel them in the body and check what is happening at the moment to verify if the emotion felt would create is appropriate response for the situation. Through self-awareness and the development of Mindfulness, we can reduce reactivity and change unhelpful patterns and habits.

Lisa Feldman Barrett, neuroscientist, in her book, “How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain,” explains how emotions are not inherent in us at birth – that we are not born with particular emotions. Only pleasant and unpleasant. Our brains produce emotions to alert us about balancing our body budget needs such as sleep, hydration, nutrition, etc.

We learn to feel and express emotions from our family of origin and those who influence us. If we like how they act, we act like them. If we don’t we may rebel and try and do the opposite. But for the most part, we may not have control over them as our brains learn how to be emotional and then put us on autopilot and react on our behalf.

Other things to know about emotions in order to control them include:

    1. Emotions are energies in motion, they change with our thoughts, attention, and circumstances.
    2. They arise and pass. Though, we can learn about a message or a situation we have to pay attention to. They are not a reliable source to make our thoughts facts.
    3. When felt in the body, emotions become feelings.
    4. Emotions influence our perspectives and perceptions of situations in the same way our perspectives create emotions