The Emotional Life Of Your Brain


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What Is Emotional Intelligence

Richie Davidson – The Emotional Life of Your Brain (Complete)

Emotional intelligence is often confused with personality, but personality has very little to do with it, surprisingly. Emotional intelligence differs from IQ and shows no correlation to it in studies. IQ, your ability to learn, is highly genetic and stays fairly constant over your life. EI is a skill you can learn and develop. Generally, EI includes three skills:

1. The capacity to identify your own emotions and those of others

2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks, like thinking and problems solving

3. Being able to manage emotions, including regulating your own emotions and influencing the emotions of another person, for example, cheer them up or calm them down.

Research suggests that EI is a strong predictor of happinessand professional success.

How To Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

Learn how to reduce stress

The ability to stay calm and level-headed is a positive attribute in all facets of life. You can become familiar with your stress triggers and reflexive responses. You can then choose healthier ways to handle and relieve stress.

Embrace your emotions

Get in the habit of checking in with yourself throughout the day and become aware of and accept your thoughts and emotions without judgment. This is a practice known as mindfulness.

Practice connecting thoughts with emotions

When you become aware of an emotion, analyze the thoughts behind it. Decide whether you presently believe the line of thinking or if it is a learned belief left over from your past and if it helps you or hurts you in the present. If it does not support you, re-evaluate and reframe the thought to consciously direct your decisions and behavior.

Become aware of your non-verbal communication

From your body language to the tone of your voice, your non-verbal communication sends loud messages, whether youre aware of it or not. You can enhance your non-verbal communication by becoming aware of your body language, focusing on others, making eye contact, and listening before rushing to judgment or offering opinions. Find more tips on improving non-verbal communication here.

Think before you act

Learn to respond, not react. Responding engages your thinking brain as explained earlier. Reacting is instinctual. Pause and consciously think before acting.

Take responsibility

Praise For The Emotional Life Of Your Brain

A mind-opening journey guided by one of the worlds great pioneers in the study of emotion. Richard Davidson addresses the questions about how we become who we are with a scientific rigor and impassioned curiosity that enable us to understand others and ourselves, as well as to directly influence how we approach life with a sense of resilience and vitality. He also crucially reveals the science-proven steps we can take to improve the function and even the structure of our brain. Soak in the wisdom of these pages and enjoy.

This superb book is many things a crystal clear tour of the neuroscience of emotion a primer about how the scientific process works a personal story by a really likeable guy and the promise of a better world. This is a wonderful book.

The best book I know on how to use the exciting discoveries of neuroscience to change your life. A fabulous read a scientific adventure story like Sherlock Holmes meeting Watson and Crick with the Dalai Lama as their advisor.

The Emotional Life of Your Brain is an eye-opener, replete with breakthrough research that will change the way you see yourself and everyone you know. Richard Davidson and Sharon Begley make a star team: cutting-edge findings formulated in a delightful, cant-put-it-down read. I loved this book.

What a gift from the worlds leading neuroscientist who works on what makes life worth living. This is a must read for everyone who is interested in positive psychology.

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The Emotional Life Of Your Brain By Richard J Davidson

University of WisconsinMadison psychology professor Richard Davidsons recent book, The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Liveand How You Can Change Them , is a wide-ranging summary of nearly forty years of research on the neural basis for emotion.

Equal parts research synthesis, self-help guide, and autobiographical tome, Davidsons book makes a persuasive argument for the existence of Emotional Style, which he describes as constellations of emotional reactions and coping responses that differ in kind, intensity and duration. Composed of six primary characteristics resilience, outlook, social intuition, self-awareness, sensitivity to context, and attentionEmotional Style ultimately governs the context and duration of our emotions, says Davidson, providing the underpinnings for that elusive element we know as personality.

Indeed, The Emotional Life of Your Brain is in many ways a profile of the emerging field of affective neuroscience. Davidson begins by examining the tyranny of averages, that one-size-fits-all product of much health and psychology research and the take-away message it often seems to promote. The lingua franca of social science methodology, averages emphasize the vast majority of observations at the expense of the few observations found in the tails of a distribution known as outliers.

A New Book From Richard Davidson And Sharon Begley Reveals How To Train Our Brains For Health And Happiness

The Emotional Life of Your Brain : How Its Unique Patterns Affect the ...

We keep hearing about this new science of the brain and everything it can reveal about how our minds work, from how we make decisions to who we choose to love. But according to Richie Davidson, the distinguished neuroscientist and founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, when it comes to our emotions, the brain is a two-way street: While our brain shapes our emotional lives, we can also influence our emotional makeup through concentrated effort.

In his new book with journalist Sharon Begley, The Emotional Life of Your Brain, Davidson distills decades of research on the neurological bases of emotions. He claims that there are six dimensions of emotional styleresilience, general outlook , social intuition, self-awareness, sensitivity to context, and attention style each reflecting activity in specific brain circuits and structures. All of us, he writes, fall somewhere along a continuum between high and low on each of these dimensions, and much of this depends on how our brains are wired.

Davidsons scientific stories can be quite entertaining. But for those of us who just want the practical stuff, there are two chapters of interest, one devoted to self-assessment and another devoted to techniques for shifting your emotional style.

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External Locus Of Control

A person with an outer locus of control views their emotional states and actions as being driven by events outside of their influence. If you define yourself with an external locus of control, you believe other people, your environment, or a higher power controls what happens. This attitude renders you powerless to affect your own life and makes it easy to blame others and not learn from experience and take constructive action.

For sure, sometimes events really are random and out of your control, but not all the time. Knowing the difference is important. Locus of control is a fluid continuum which is ideally responsive to the situation, Consistently having an external locus of control is linked to anxiety and depression.

The Emotional Life Of Your Brain

Richard Davidsons 2012 New York Times best seller offers a new model for understanding our emotions their origins, their power and their malleability. He has discovered that personality is composed of six basic emotional styles, including resilience, self-awareness, and attention. Our emotional fingerprint results from where on the continuum of each style we fall. He explains the brain circuits that underlie each style in order to give us a new model of the emotional brain, one that will even go so far as to affect the way we treat conditions like autism and depression. And, finally, he provides strategies we can use to change our own brains and emotions-if that is what we want to do.

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Internal Locus Of Control

Someone with an inner locus of control believes that the events in their life, good and bad, are caused by factors over which they have some control, such as attitude, preparation, and effort. People with an internal locus of control look for ways in which they contributed to events, learn from them, and adjust their future behavior accordingly.

People with an inner locus of control exert conscious influence over their emotional states, decisions, and reactions to external events. They believe that theyre responsible for their lives and dont see themselves as victims. Research has determined that people with an internal locus of control:

  • Are less vulnerable to depression
  • Do better in work or in school
  • Deal better with stress
  • More Actively find solutions to problems
  • Are more satisfied with their jobs
  • Are more oriented toward achieving their goals

The Emotional Life Of The Brain

Emotional Life of Your Brain, Richard J. Davidson and Sharon Begley – 9781594630897

Ever wondered why some people are constantly cheery and others shadowed by gloom? Why some have trouble focusing, are good with people or have strong emotional reactions to seemingly minor occurrences?

Pioneering neuroscientist and psychology professor Richard Davidson, Ph.D., says theres a reason we are who we are. Our emotions and thoughts do not happen to us, he argues. Rather, they are routine, predictable and rooted in the structure of our brains.

Other schemes of personality were invented without any knowledge of the brain, says Davidson, who compiled his 30 years of research findings into new book The Emotional Life of Your Brain. This is the first neuroscientific conception of the emotional and social variations among people, based on a modern diagnosis of the brain.

Unlike emotional states, fleeting reactions triggered by an experience and lasting only seconds, and emotional moods, feelings that persist for a few hours or even days, Davidson says it is our emotional styles that shape our lives and how we respond to the world around us. Emotional style, traced to specific brain signatures, is comprised of six dimensions. Where you fall on the spectrum of each, he says, determines how you will feel, think and react.

Resilience: How slowly or quickly you recover from adversity, determined by signals between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.

Attention: How sharp and clear your focus is, regulated by the prefrontal cortex.

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What People Are Saying About This

Deepak Chopra

Richard Davidson and Sharon Begley have created a pioneering look at the brain chemistry of our emotions. By looking at Davidson’s scientific proof that meditation and other cognitive practices actually change the brain, the authors enable all of us to genuinely modify our most difficult emotional habits and create new and more fruitful ones. Look forward to cultivating keener attention, having more attunement to others, and being more connected to your own intuition. It’s all possibleand this book shows you how.

Jerome Groopman

Richard Davidson, a visionary neuropsychologist, joins with Sharon Begley, one of the most astute science writers, to illuminate the dimensions of our emotional make up and offer cogent and compelling ways for us to grow into more effective and fulfilled selves.

Antonio Damasio

Richard Davidson’s distinguished scientific career has been dedicated to making sense of human emotion and deepening its significance. Now, with the help of writer Sharon Begley, he turns a trove of accumulated facts into wisdom accessible to lay readers and directly applicable to their lives.

Daniel Gilbert

Whether he is measuring neural activity in the laboratory or climbing the Himalayas to meet the Dalai Lama, Davidson is an inveterate explorer who has spent a lifetime probing the deep mystery of human feeling. Don’t miss this smart and lively book by the world’s foremost expert on emotion and the brain.

From the PublisherDaniel GolemanJack Kornfield

How Emotional Intelligence Improves Your Brain

Developing your emotional intelligence requires changing the pathways between the rational and emotional centers of your brain. Information from your senses enters your spinal cord and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about it. Before the signals hit your frontal lobe, they go through the limbic system, where emotions are generated. Because of this, you instinctually have an emotional reaction to something before your rational mind can engage.

To develop EI, you want to learn to pause, insert rational thinking, and respond not react emotionally. Because of neuroplasticity, the brains ability to alter physical form and function based on experience, when you change the way you respond, your brain changes physically and functionally over time. Once you train your brain by repeatedly using new emotional intelligence strategies, these new behaviors become the default pathways in your brain.

The Forbes article, Emotional Intelligence EQ, explains it this way:

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The Brain Basis For Emotion

Every persons Emotional Style is unique, like fingerprints or snowflakes. Your style determines how you react to what life throws at you.

Developing areas of expertise by repetition such as playing the piano or navigating city streets as a taxi driver increases activity and patterns in corresponding areas of the brain. A similar increase occurs when you practice skills virtually, because the brain responds to input from the external and internal world. You can think your way to virtuosity and change your emotional style through intentional effort.

Scientists now recognize that emotions form an important aspect of the mind. Six basic emotions happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise each generate the same corresponding facial expressions worldwide. Negative emotions correlate to increased activity in the right frontal area of the brain while positive emotions correlate to activity in the left frontal area.

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