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Brene Brown Gives Advice on Healthy Ways to Feel Our Emotions

Brene Brown has a PhD in social work. She conducts research on shame, vulnerability, and leadership, and she teaches at the University of Houston. Her latest book is Atlas of the Heart. I give this book four stars out of five. I really enjoyed it. The only reason that I'm not giving it five is there are some areas of the book where I think she could have gone into a little bit more detail about some of the emotions that she's talking about in this book.


Atlas of the Heart covers 87 human emotions. I am totally obsessed with emotions charts. There's one that's really famous called the “Feeling Wheel”. It's divided by seven core emotions. It has three tiers and it lists 136 emotions. I created my own emotional chart. I call it the “Emotional Clusters”.


Atlas of the Heart Brene Brown

The emotions in the Emotional Clusters are categorized by cause. One section includes emotions that are caused by our own thinking. Another section, emotions are caused by our fight or flight responses. Another section, includes emotions caused by trauma triggers. My Emotions chart includes 306 emotions and mental states.


Brene Brown has her own emotions chart. It includes the 87 human emotions and experiences that she references in the book. And her chart is divided into categories by situation, which I think is fascinating. I haven't seen this before. So, for example, when we compare ourselves to other people.


Another situation--when we fall apart, and another--when we are searching for connection Brene's research shows that the majority of us can only name three emotions while we are experiencing the emotion. Sadness, anger, and happiness. I’d say a fourth, if she went to a fourth, might have been fear. I think more and more of us are getting better at identifying when we're in fear.


Mindfulness is so important when it comes to emotions. For me and the work that I do with clients and when I'm teaching, mindfulness is so important because if we can lean into a certain set of emotions, we can heal our trauma. Abandonment and betrayal, for example, are emotions we don't want to stuff away. We don't want to suppress them. We want to create space for them and allow ourselves to heal through them.


Emotional language so important in a mindfulness practice. You can learn this emotional language by looking at these charts and looking at these different emotions and becoming familiar and comfortable with all these different words that name different emotions. When you learn this language you will better identify your emotions better when they come up.


Learn more about Atlas of the Heart by listening to The Aware Mind podcast.

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