Over the weekend, I read David Rock’s very interesting book, Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long.

One strategy particularly struck me: if you’re feeling a negative emotion, you can work to reduce it by labeling it in one or two words. Note, however, that thinking or talking at length about the emotional state tends to intensify it — while simply observing and labeling it helps to quell it.

I do this myself, instinctively. I find myself thinking, “I’m overwhelmed” or “I’m frazzled” or “I’m feeling defensive” — and it’s odd how calming it is. Just putting a label on a feeling helps me to master it.

For those who enjoy reading about what’s happening in their right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and elsewhere, Rock explains how brain function accounts for this phenomenon.

How about you? Have you ever tried a strategy like this — and did it work?

Also ...

Recent Posts in The Happiness Project

Secret of Adulthood: Lose Yourself to Find Yourself.

From Further Secrets of Adulthood.

How Does a Rebel Change Habits?

One Rebel's Clever Solution.

Something Becomes Important Because We’re Paying Attention

This kind of epiphany happened to me recently, when I was in London

Are Souls Like Athletes...

That must be pushed to their full capacity to develop?

Want to Change a Habit?

These tips may help

I Had a Very Odd Experience at the Gym

It was like a dial turned inside me.