Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Don't Lie to Yourself...

The 2015 U.S. presidential election triggered a variety of emotions in me, my friends, and my clients. Whether positive or negative, the reactions have been strong. And most of us know it's healthier to explore emotions with some depth rather than tamp them down. 

But how do we recognize what we're feeling? Of course, we're aware something's going on, but it may be little more than "I'm feeling off today" or "I'm so tired," or "I can't quite focus..."

You may have seen the TV show "Lie to Me," where Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and his associates helped determine if someone was telling the truth because of their ability to read micro facial expressions. The show was inspired by the work of psychologist Paul Ekman, who's served as advisor to police departments and anti-terrorism groups and whose many books include Telling Lies and Emotions Revealed.

Ekman's pioneering research determined six core emotions: JOY (top left), SURPRISE (bottom left), SADNESS (top middle), ANGER (bottom middle), DISGUST (top right), and FEAR (bottom right). (Note: Ekman later added to these six.) 

For a quick assessment of one's feelings however, I find it easier to remember these simple homonyms (with a few examples... feel free to add your own):

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