In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, I’m excited for you to hear from my guest Susan David, Ph.D., who knows all about emotions and what to do with them. Susan challenges the prevailing attitude that we should “fix” our difficult emotions through positive thinking and chasing happiness. Instead, she teaches people how to thrive in an uncertain world.
After some hard-charging months focused on the science of coronavirus, and how to stay physically well and financially afloat during the pandemic, it’s time to put some attention on our emotional health.
“Fundamentally, the way we deal with our inner world drives everything,” Susan says. “It drives how we love and come to our relationships, how we live, how we parent and how we lead.”
Susan is an award-winning Harvard Medical School psychologist. Her bestselling book, “Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” is based on 20 years of research and describes the psychological skills critical to thriving in times of uncertainty and change.
“At its most basic level emotional agility is about the capacity to be with ourselves,” Susan explains. “That includes our difficult thoughts and emotions and stories and past experiences in a way that’s compassionate and curious and that doesn’t hold us back from being the people that we most want to be. Because often we get stuck in our thoughts, our emotions and our stories, and we aren’t living in a way that’s intentional and values congruent and so it’s about these different aspects.”
And whether we’re caught in a brooding trap or bottling up our emotions, it takes work to unpack what we’re feeling.
“For people to be healthy with themselves, with the inner worlds, these are not soft skills,” Susan says. “These are the most fundamental skills that we can have as human beings.”
So listen on to find out why trying to control what is uncontrollable wreaks havoc on our emotional health and what you can do to improve your inner landscape in spite of the world’s turmoil.
Enjoy the show! And get more resources at Dave.Asprey/podcasts.
Follow Along with the Transcript
TED Talk: The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage
Book: Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life
Free Resources: Emotional Agility Quiz, Emotional Agility Pyramid, How to Get Unstuck
- What does evidence-based mean to you? – 1:55
- What does it take internally in the way we deal with ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions, and our stories that help us to thrive in the world. – 3:51
- They get so stuck inside their heads. They feel so victimized and struggling. – 5:36
- We know that when people brood on their emotions when they get stuck in their emotions, they have lower levels of mental health and well-being. – 6:35
- Bottling is where you push aside these difficult emotions. – 8:58
- What’s the difference between emotional courage and emotional agility? – 11:23
- Our emotions helped us to adapt and survive in context of threat. – 13:57
- The power of just showing up to the fact that is tough. – 17:49
- I grew up in apartheid South Africa. – 23:16
- We want to be able to show up to our emotions because our emotions contain really important signals to us. They are critical. – 27:52
- We can only start both showing up to our emotions but also moving forward with them when we understand what those emotions are. – 32:55
- Our thoughts just are our thoughts. They are our body and our psychology doing the job that it was meant to do, which is to protect us. – 36:00
- That noticing of your thought emotion story, just by naming it as a thought emotional story is extraordinarily powerful. – 39:18
- Being able to connect with what it is you experience in your body can be actually kind of helpful. – 43:55
- Journaling is very, very powerful. – 50:03
- It’s being compassionate, it’s being curious and it’s being courageous. – 56:07
- The basic building block of our ability to be agile and effective is actually born of our health and our well-being. – 58:44
- Our erring done with really good intentions is to jump in and to try help our children to be happy but what are we doing? – 59:58
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