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Episode 11: Emotion regulation and finding balance in daily life – with Prof. Philippe Goldin

Episode 11: Emotion regulation and finding balance in daily life – with Prof. Philippe Goldin

In this episode we dive into daily life and how skills developed through training the mind can help us find more balance. We talk about emotional reactivity, internalised beliefs, the importance of context and emotion regulation. Prof Goldin shares his insights as well as many useful tools on how to approach and shift recurring thought patterns. Also, see if you can spot the occasional bird song outside the window.

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Main topic notes

  • Why we deal with negative self-beliefs as we do [02:12]
  • The difference between suppressing feeling emotion vs suppressing showing emotion [03:40]
  • How to deal with negative feelings from interactions with others [06:05]
  • The use of co-regulation [08:42]
  • How to deal with negative thoughts [10:05]
  • Our relationship with our emotions [12:26]
  • How to use emotions as useful information [13.30]
  • The nature of thoughts and how to use this to our advantage [15:18]
  • How to deconstruct negative thought patterns [17:54]
  • The labels we give ourselves [21:00]
  • How to decouple from negative thoughts [22:06]
  • The habits of mind and the illusion of the self [23:18]
  • Redirecting attention from pain [25:15]
  • Befriending negative thoughts [28:02]
  • Dropping into the impermanence of thought [28:23]
  • How to deal with escalating reactivity in a couple [30:15]
  • Cognitive reappraisal [31:47]
  • Upregulating positive emotions and thoughts [33:01]
  • Viewing the world through our own filter [33:48]
  • Adversity as an opportunity to change [35:31]
  • Meditation as a set of tools to develop different mental qualities [39:21]
  • Where to start [43:11]
  • Active listening [44:20]
  • The courage to observe reality as opposed to our own perception of reality [48:27]
  • Bodily expressions of inner tension [51:06]
  • About finding guidance [53:04]

Main articles

Goldin PR, Moodie CA, Gross JJ. Acceptance versus reappraisal: Behavioral, autonomic, and neural effects. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2019 Aug;19(4):927-944. doi: 10.3758/s13415-019-00690-7. PMID: 30656602.

Goldin PR, McRae K, Ramel W, Gross JJ. The neural bases of emotion regulation: reappraisal and suppression of negative emotion. Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Mar 15;63(6):577-86. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.05.031. Epub 2007 Sep 21. PMID: 17888411; PMCID: PMC2483789.

Takeaways

      • When we feel stressed or have negative emotions in relation to interactions with someone else there are a few things we can do. The first is to redirect attention to sensation instead of our thoughts. This can be done by shifting our physical state or environment, such as going outside, moving around a bit or putting our hands under cold water. This can break the pattern of reactivity enough for you to be able to take a step back and evaluate the situation.
      • Curiosity is useful both for observing the self and considering the experience of others. When upset with someone else you can take some perspective and consider different reasons for their behavior. What could be going on with them causing them to do or react this way and to consider that it might not be about you at all.
      • Negative thought patterns can be approached from different angles. One is to consider how thoughts are impermanent, modifiable and ever changing. They will come and go and be connected to different emotional reactions at different times. Writing down negative thoughts is one way of disconnecting from them. Another is to repeat them over and over again until they become more sound and less attached to the self.

More from Prof. Philippe Goldin

Google tech talk on cognitive neuroscience of mindfulness meditation: https://youtu.be/sf6Q0G1iHBI