Emotions Are Just Guesses

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/collage-of-portraits-of-cheerful-woman-3807758/

This is what author and “one of the most cited top scientists” in psychology and neuroscience, Lisa Feldman Barrett, says in this incredible TEDx talk video that I watched earlier today. I look forward to reading her books about emotions. How emotions are “predictions” that are primal, simply using past experiences “to make predictions to make sense of the world.”

For example, the emotions you think you detect in other people “are partly inside your own head…it’s true in the courtroom, the classroom, the bedroom or the boardroom. Emotions aren’t in your face and body…Science says emotions are built, not built in.”

She asks you to consider…

The next time you feel incredible distress, ask yourself:

  • Could this have a purely physical cause?
  • Is it possible you can transform emotional suffering into just mere physical discomfort?

It recalls to mind the book I’m currently reading by Dr Chris Palmer, that mental health IS metabolic health. It brings for me hope, that there is some agency and empowerment, in questioning your emotions, your emotional state, and not necessarily identifying with your depression, your anxiety, your panic, your fears, your shame.

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