Name That Emotion

This week in groups we will be discussing emotion. What it is, how it works in the body and how and when to control it (and when not to). This stems from an interesting discussion we had in the high school group around an article we explored describing a study about emotional responses in the brain. When people look at a picture of an angry face, it activates the amygdala, the portion of the brain responsible for the "fight or flight" reaction. BUT. When the researchers attached a word to the image "fear" "anger", it instead activated the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, the portion of the brain that processes emotions. By adding words, a story, to the picture, it made it possible to process rather than react. 

This points to another important concept which is secondary emotional reaction. This refers to the emotional response we have about our initial emotional response. Often we label a fearful reaction to a situation as negative, and beat ourselves up about it, beginning a cascade of negative feedback and self criticism. the way this comes together is that by recognizing, naming, and accepting our initial response to a situation it improves our chances to interrupt a downward spiral of self doubt and criticism.