The Power of Emotions: 3 Ways to Get on the Path to HappinessBy Homaira Kabir
Elliot was a married man with an important job. When he had a small tumor cut from the cortex of his brain, his I.Q. remained the same, but he lost all emotions. As a result, he couldn't hang onto his job, nor decide what to have for lunch.
In Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio describes the part of the brain that Elliot lost as crucial for integrating emotions into decision-making. Without it, patients can deliberate about the pros and cons of a red pen over a blue pen for hours without coming to a decision. Or they may act with the cold and calculated indifference of psychopaths.
This stands in stark contrast to Plato’s veneration of humans as rational creatures. Research now shows that even the decisions that we believe to have been made by conscious thought were actually initiated in our subconscious minds where emotions reside. In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the split-second decisions of the “primitive” brain that guide our behaviors, even when we think we have rationally thought the situation through.
So, it's essential to pay close attention to our emotions. By staying clear of the negative and extreme emotions that make us act in ways we may regret, and developing the positive emotions that allow us to connect with others in kindness and empathy, we can build our pathways to happiness.
Listen to Your Thoughts
Our thoughts are the window to our beliefs—and beliefs are the connective link between our experiences and the emotions that emerge. Mindfulne