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The Power of Emotions: Who’s in Charge?

A man sitting on a chair at home and looking straight ahead
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Are you in control of your emotions? Or do your emotions control you?

Sometimes it can seem as if our emotions are running the show, overwhelming us with feelings that we can’t control. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t effective ways to let us decide how to respond to these emotions.

Emotions are a crucial part of our well-being. Knowing something about how and why our brain produces them can help us do constructive things to respond.

Psychologist and neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett of Northeastern University is known for her groundbreaking research on emotions in the brain. “If you understand how emotions are made, then you can also understand how to gain more control of your emotions,” she says.

While some people are born with a brain that easily keeps emotions in balance, creating a tranquil life, others have a more turbulent existence, requiring their brain to work harder to keep their emotions from getting wildly out of control, Barrett explains.

Struggling with difficult emotions can have an effect thinking clearly and functioning effectively. The Staying Sharp Power of Emotions Challenge explores responding to situations that trigger certain emotions, getting through tough times and learning what to do when you still need help.

This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.

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