Odd Emotions By coming to grips with unnamed feelings—from the need to connect deeply with someone we’ve just met to the desire to know how things will turn out—we can master our interior life.

Labeling emotions isn’t necessary for their primary—and immediate—purpose. “The conscious understanding of emotions is superfluous from a survival standpoint,” Gillihan says. “If I’m running away from a tiger in caveman days, I never say to myself, ‘I am afraid.’ I just think, Tiger! I’ve got to get out of here! I handle the threat and survive.” In modern times, however, our feelings often arise from our relationships, careers, and travel, and we benefit from a more considered response, he says. “It helps to be able to put a frame around more complex emotions.”


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