Kids, Language & Brains

13Mar/17Off

Understanding the Emotional Style of Your Brain

Emotion works with cognition in an integrated and seamless way to enable us to navigate the world of relationships, work and spiritual growth.  So says neuroscientist Richard Davidson in the book he wrote along with former Wall Street Journal science writer, Sharon Begley, The Emotional Life of Your Brain.  Thanks to the new understanding of how the brain can change in form and function over time due to its neuroplasticity, we now know it's not only life experiences that can cause the brain to change.  Changes also come about as a result of our own mental activity. Davidson makes the case we can reprogram our brains to help shed negativity and lead better and more productive lives.  He contends this new kind of research holds significant implications for the treatment of mental illness, attention deficit disorders and autism.  Dr. Davidson believes individuals can make changes on their own, outgrowing an emotional style used into adulthood to opt for one that describes them more accurately.  He identifies the six dimensions of our emotional style as resilience, outlook, social intuition, self-awareness, sensitivity to context and attention. Because we score so differently when measured by these six dimensions, even falling on different parts of each scale, it becomes easier to understand our varied reactions to what life throws at us. Meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction are the secular forms of behavioral therapy he values because they allow the observer to look at thoughts and feelings from the perspective of a nonjudgmental third party.  Laura Landro, Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2012.

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