Think back to the last time you were overcome with emotion, but you weren’t quite able to find the words to describe to someone else what you felt? Sometimes, our emotions are not as simple as happy, sad, or angry. There are times we experience a strange mix of emotions, that can cause confusion both internally and with relationships. Here’s a list of thought-provoking TED Talks to help you decipher your own emotions, and gain insight into why you feel the way you do.

John Koenig: Beautiful new words to describe obscure emotions
John Koenig, the author of “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”, explores his mission of finding the missing links in the language of feelings and making up words to describe complex emotions. For example, “sonder” is one of Koenig’s made-up words, which he defines as the realization that each random person you encounter has a life as vivid and complex as your own. We define words, and they define us. So, what happens when we discover just how much those made-up words affect our thoughts and emotions?

Alan Watkins: Why you feel what you feel

Alan Watkins poses the question: If you could teach yourself, your children, or anybody one thing, what would that one thing be? Follow Alan through the stages of emotional development throughout your life, from birth to adulthood. Splashed with plenty of lively humor, this entertaining presentation is bound to get you thinking about why this one thing is so very important to understanding the “energy in motion” that is “e-motion”.

Lisa Feldman Barrett: You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions — your brain creates them
Is your brain just “guessing” which emotion to display outwardly during any given situation? It is established that the brain will always try to find a “shortcut” to stored information. It stands to reason that emotional impulses would be no different. Lisa Feldman Barrett uses surprising examples in this light-hearted and thoroughly fascinating trip through your brain’s process for constructing your emotional response to the world around us.

Dawn Goldworm: How to control emotion and influence behavior
Can a smell help you control your own emotions, and influence the behavior of others? How and when does our sense of smell begin to affect our entire being? And, to what depth can a scent illicit an emotional reaction? Using real-life examples, Dawn Goldworm explains the significant impact scent has on our lives, not only on the conscious level, but the subconscious, as well.

Alison Bacon: The light and dark of emotional intelligence
Fight, Flight or Freeze? When an emotional trigger is staring you down, do you know how to overcome your instinctual reactions and make your emotions to work for you, instead of against you? Alison Bacon reminds us of the positive effects that cultivating a strong emotional intelligence can have on your mind, body, and spirit.

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