I think we can all agree that emotions are powerful and are capable of dictating how we go about our lives. More and more research has gone into understanding emotions and the effect that they have on human behavior. I love learning as much as I can about emotions as I have personally experienced the transformative power of embracing them, connecting with them, and allowing them to occupy space when needed. In all my research, looking for the brightest minds on the topic, I’ve found three Ted Talks that are worth watching.

The History of Human Emotions

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The words we use to describe our emotions affect how we feel, says historian Tiffany Watt Smith, and they’ve often changed (sometimes very dramatically) in response to new cultural expectations and ideas. Take nostalgia, for instance: first defined in 1688 as an illness and considered deadly, today it’s seen as a much less serious affliction. In this fascinating talk about the history of emotions, learn more about how the language we use to describe how we feel continues to evolve — and pick up some new words used in different cultures to capture those fleeting feelings in words. Watch now. 

 

The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage

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Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility. A talk to share. Watch now. 

You Aren’t at the Mercy of Your Emotions

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Can you look at someone’s face and know what they’re feeling? Does everyone experience happiness, sadness and anxiety the same way? What are emotions anyway? For the past 25 years, psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has mapped facial expressions, scanned brains and analyzed hundreds of physiology studies to understand what emotions really are. She shares the results of her exhaustive research — and explains how we may have more control over our emotions than we think. Watch now. 

 

Let me know if you watch any of these and what you think?

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