Have you ever observed how, when a colleague or loved one unexpectedly spews out noxious remarks, you can be instantly flooded with emotions that cause you to instinctively respond, either with an equally poisonous rebuttal or to wilt in defeat and mumble a few nonsensical slurs?
But what if you knew that you are not at the behest of the sensations that rise up within you, but that they are a result of ideas that you hold dear at this moment in time?
According to neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett, emotions are made in the brain by concepts that are constructed over time by our culture, parents, friends and our greater environment.
If you can change the concept cemented in your brain, you can change the instinctive response.
When I became aware of Barrett’s research, I felt empowered, perhaps not to change my instinctive responses in this moment, but to consciously seek out more constructive ideas which I can assimilate and nurture over time to help precipitate a more constructive (although instinctive) response in the future.
Model and actress, Agné Ka.
Styled by Robyn Hill.
For an inspirational story about a truck driver who discovered how to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and to learn more about the theory of constructed emotion listen below to the inspirational podcast with Lisa Feldman Barrett.