Emotions

General Resources

Depression and anxiety

Working with difficult emotions

Grief

I am not an expert on grief, in personal or professional experience. I have found these resources, and I hope they might help.

  • To Those Who Weren’t As Lucky” – a video by Teafaerie, and here’s the text
    • A tribute to alternate selves, written after her partner’s death
  • “Grappling with the Deepest Mystery,” ch. 16 in I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter
    • An exploration of how the academic ideas in his book became deeply personal, after his wife’s sudden death
  • The Obliterated Place” – Dear Sugar
    • Her response to a letter writer, on the death of his son

Two comics on a theme

Getting in touch with a larger sense of self can help hold compassionate space for emotions, relating to them as the object of our experience (and as valuable indicators of needs), rather than as something we’re subject to. 

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

 

— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

Happiness, awe, and ecstatic wonder

“That the natural state of the human spirit is ecstatic wonder! That we should not settle for less!”

NCSA constitution, New College of Florida (my alma mater!)

“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!” But how do you know if you’re happy? Do you only know what it’s like to feel happy in contrast to feeling unhappy, the same way in which you only know sound in contrast to silence, or light in contrast to dark? If suffering is suboptimal, but some contrast is required for a conscious experience of bliss, what is the optimal amount, magnitude, and distribution of non-bliss experiences? (If there’s happiness but no contrast, clap one hand!)

There’s also research on the differences between:

  • “Experienced well-being” (hedonic well-being, positive vs. negative emotions)
  • “Evaluative well-being” (life satisfaction), and
  • “Eudaimonic well-being” (sense of purpose and meaning, human flourishing)

More links:

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