Why Do You Feel The Way You Do?
Neuroscientists Explain Exactly Why You Feel The Way You Do
Day in and day out, neuroscientists are studying the brain. More specifically, many are studying what creates emotions, and what controls such things. Most people today tend to think that a happiness quote online or an article describing things to change in your life to actually make you happier. While some of those articles and quotes may give you a little insight on how to make you a better person, they don’t quite tell you the specifics of why you are feeling a certain way, and in turn why you may be acting a certain way.
To break it down into the simplest form I can, neuroscientists explain that pride, shame, and guilt all activate certain things in the brain. Even though they are such different feelings, they each activate a similar neuro circuit. Furthermore, making a big decision can give many of us anxiety and rightfully so. Neuroscientists say that doing something is better than doing nothing, so worrying is actually quite better than not doing anything at all. Worrying calms the limbic system by increasing activity in one part of your brain while decreasing it in another part. Another hint from Neuroscientists is how powerful gratitude can be. Giving gratitude to toward other people actually increases your dopamine productivity, which makes you happier as well!
Another interesting find by Neuroscientists is when they tried to put feelings into words, by doing a study where people looked at emotional photos and tried to explain them. When they first looked at the photo, their amygdala showed the emotions in the photo, but once they had to put it into words, their ventrolateral prefrontal cortex was triggered and the emotions in the amygdala became much less apparent. What this means is by recognizing your feelings, your brain becomes more okay with them. It stops focusing on them as much. So, if you are feeling sad, mad, etc., it is best to recognize those feelings, and maybe even talk about them.
One last thought about neurology and happiness; have you ever just wanted to be the best at something? Well, neuroscientists say that isn’t the smartest way to go about it. Instead, try thriving for good enough because the “best” puts a lot of emotion into the ventromedial prefrontal decision-making process. Whereas going for “good enough” gives just enough emotion to leave you satisfied at the end of the task.
Isn’t this information fascinating? If you think so, then leave your thoughts in the Comments below. Also, let’s all try to start learning more from the scientists who study our brains each and every day instead of guessing why we aren’t happy and wasting time going from solution to solution. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!
Kim Shapira MS, RD