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The power of emotion. Thursday September 11, 2014

Building on Mary's blog on Wednesday - I hope the following serves you further.

An emotion can be viewed as energy in motion; a neutral energy that adds power to our thoughts. For example, add emotional energy to a frustrating thought and we can quickly feel anger. On the other hand, add emotional energy to a kind thought of someone and we can experience a feeling of compassion.

It's often difficult to get a grip on our emotions because they happen so fast. Scientists have repeatedly confirmed that our emotional reactions show up in brain activity before we even have time to think. We evaluate everything emotionally as we perceive it. We think about it afterward.

What Mary showed on Wednesday, was that in depression our mind has really shut down to almost all emotions and yet they still register and we can actually almost belatedly release them as our mind begins to clear. A bit like opening the sluice on a dam - so keep giving to those who at present can't 'receive' - it may shorten their darkness.

Scientists used to believe that emotions are produced only in the brain. However, sophisticated instruments now show that emotions are the product of an ongoing dialogue between the brain and the body; a combination of feeling sensations, associated mental thoughts and biochemical reactions that shape our emotional experience, in gradations from very pleasant to very painful.

Crucially, emotions trigger many changes in our bodies. For instance every time we shift an emotion, approximately 1400 biochemical changes take place.

Psychologists categorize some emotions like love, compassion, appreciation, care and joy as "positive" and others like anger, anxiety, hate, jealousy and sadness as "negative". We can easily tell the difference between positive and negative emotions in our body. Worry may cause muscle tension; anxiety may agitate the stomach. By contrast, love, appreciation, compassion and kindness may calm us, allowing the body’s communication systems to flow with greater harmony and efficiency.

This is not to say that some emotions are bad. And we are not suggesting we should repress our emotions and not ever feel sad or frustrated. All of our emotions play an important part in how we experience life. They are like the colours on an artist’s palette that we use to paint our picture of life. And, while emotions are often reactions to life’s events, it is important to understand that they are mostly choices as well.

When we become more aware of which emotions diminish the quality of our lives and which ones enhance our lives we can take greater control and effectively utilise their amazing power.

Self awareness - leading to self control, is often the true key to the door to happiness.

A Moodscope member.

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Di Murphey Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 1:23am

Dearest Les ~
"A bit like opening a sluice on a dam ~ so keep giving to those who at present cannot 'receive' ~ it may shorten their darkness." Your phrasing deeply impacted me and brought to my visual brain a community of individuals who buck each other up while acknowledging the messiness of our life's journey. It is the passion and beauty of Moodscope's caring members who make me appreciate being human.
Di Murphey

Anonymous Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 7:37am

I apologise if I sound discordant: my feelings about the description of depression in yesterday's blog (and by association, today's) is that one size fits all. This is not the case and my indicators and symptoms are dissimilar to those described. Depression is not black and white and please don't assume that we all experience the same emotions and/or physical symptoms. It's not helpful. Thanks.

Anonymous Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 8:22am

Hi anonymous, I don't think either Mary or Les are suggesting that one size fits all. Mary was describing how she feels when her depression hits. How does it effect you?

Lex McKee Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 8:27am

Hi Les, reading this fascinating post conjured up an image that I linked to a comic from my childhood. There were all these little people living inside a brain - as if the body was a colony of people. I think all emotions have value and have something to bring if listened to. I imagine that "I" had some kind of executive control over a group of other people with differing perspectives. I'm going to mix metaphors now... so, I also imagined an attentive teacher with a class of children - all with very different needs, all with different perspectives, and all who needed to be listened to.

The really interesting one for me is the strange little character, "Jealousy". My role has been changing and other people have been taking over responsibilities that I alone covered. I was amazed to catch myself feeling "Jealous" - and it was good to be able to examine this with some detatchment to listen for the message.

Thank you for a profound blog.

Anonymous Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 8:40am

Very informative and generous sharing, Les. Many thanks for thought provoking words, some very visual, some factual. It all adds grist to the mill! That and the replies have set me thinking...

Anonymous Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 9:05am

Les, I feel like my head has been delicately picked through and explained. What a brilliant post! Self awareness is the holy grail and you have placed another bag of nuts out on my trail. I thank you!

Lex...The Numskulls! A favourite of mine and my two youngest children now read their adventures weekly in The Beano. I still think of my body that way :-D

Anon 7.37, one size does indeed not fit all. Current posts may not fit your symptoms but they are very helpful to many. I like to see the daily posts like a tree where we hang our thoughts, problems and wisdom...we can take or add whatever we have energy for. There is likely an unlimited number of branches and it could be helpful if you share with us your indicators and symptoms. I'm always interested. Love from the room above the garage.

Julia Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 9:38am

I always feel that my symptoms and depression are unique to me. I have yet to find anyone who in my view is exactly the same as me with regard to how, why and when I experience my low moods. For example I do not have "bouts" of depression and then recover and a year or so later fall into another bout. I see myself as permanently depressed with one or two days every now and again (once in a blue moon!) always after a good night's sleep, when I feel truly great, where the world is my oyster. However I take from every blog what I see as relevant and helpful to me and I almost always find something which resonates. I think you have raised an interesting issue though and one day it might be helpful if we were each given the opportunity to describe our own depression/ view of life on this blog page..

Mary Blackhurst Hill Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 10:30am

Lovely images, Les. Like Di I loved the idea of a sluice, and also the emotions being a palette of colours. (Can I paint a rainbow, please?). You are always so eurudite!

Julia Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 1:04pm

This is one of your sentences Les I really liked reading today" depression our mind has really shut down to almost all emotions and yet they still register and we can actually almost belatedly release them as our mind begins to clear..." So true. I find that when I get a good day, I don't know where to start! I found your words encouraging as they made me realise that actually even though I don't have the confidence to express emotions when down, these emotions are no different when I'm feeling good so that I am "me" throughout, there is consistency in my perceptions and emotions. I like that; it means I can trust my judgement and how I feel even when low. The next conundrum for me personally to solve is how to feel and express the same level of self confidence I feel on my rare good days, on the many bad. It's so frustrating. I've tried faking it and it just does not work.

Anonymous Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 3:21pm

Less,on behalf of my wife Lisa that always "discover" your blogs after a few sentences,I thank you for guiding the tormented people toward a more peaceful path."which emotions enhance our lives"...Lo bueno,si breve,dos veces bueno.
Please keep up the excellent work

Anonymous Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 5:33pm

I think when it comes to depression.....there are similiarities among people struggling, but also vast differences....I even recognize this in myself,comparing prior episodes to the current episode....sharing amongst all of us though helps us to obtain knowledge and comfort in knowing we are not alone... dave

Anonymous Thu, Sep 11th 2014 @ 11:09pm

I agree Dave.

Les Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:41am

Thanks Di

Les Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:44am

We are all as unique as our fingerprints in all areas of our life and each of us finds there own path through depression.
Not even the bouts or dark periods are the same to me.

Les Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:45am


les Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:47am

All change begins with a shift in self on

Les Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:47am

Cool word (s)

Les Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:49am

be your best version of you, that you can every day.

Les Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:50am

Thank you

Les Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:51am


Di Murphey Fri, Sep 12th 2014 @ 12:18pm

Yup, yup.............

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