Are You In Despair That's Good Analysis

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The article “Are You in Despair? That’s Good” written by Lisa Feldman Barrett for the New York Times argues for the teaching and importance of being able to describe specific feelings. The term she uses is “emotional granularity”, which describes those who are in touch with their emotions and able to describe them in specific terms rather than in general, nondescript language such as happy, sad, or angry. This concept she is advocating for allows one to take the reigns and be in active control of their own emotions, rather than being a bystander and simply experiencing the many feelings that they might encounter from day to day. Barrett explains how the brain functions, mentions how emotional granularity can benefit people of all ages, and…show more content…
To truly understand how one perceives and reacts to the world one must have knowledge of how the brain works. The human brain is conditioned; it learns from others and from what you think, rather than creating its own unique feelings. Barrett explains how “neuroscience has shown that human brains are not ‘reactive’ organs that merely respond in some predetermined way...rather your brain regulates your body’s need proactively...based on past experience” (Barrett, 2016, p. 2-3). This shows that feelings are not innate reactions, but rather ones that are taught and become habit. Therefore, initially it may appear as if emotional granularity is some inherent ability that a handful of lucky individuals have which helps them name emotions, but the fact that the brain “constructs your emotional states” (Barrett, 2016, p. 2) means that one can teach themselves to fine tune what they feel. By teaching oneself what each specific emotion means, he or she can be active participants in their feelings and can respond and act while being in control of the situation. Thus, according to Barrett, by understanding how a person comes to feel certain emotions, he or she acquires some of the tools to pinpoint what is wrong by discovering how their own brain functions and reacts to certain

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