Brené Brown, an American research professor, lecturer, bestselling author, and podcast host, became a household name following her viral TED talk in 2010, on the Power of Vulnerability, that has to date been viewed over 16 Million times.
Passionate about turning statistics into a roadmap to help others navigate their personal and professional relationships, Brené has returned with Atlas of the Heart, her 6th New York Times bestselling book, which focuses on the role our words play in shaping our emotions and ultimately our behaviour.
On an episode of Oprah’s Super Soul podcast, Brené talks about the 87 emotions she unearthed in her research and the importance of the language used to articulate them.
Surveying over 7000 people over a 15 year period, Brené says most respondents could only identify 3 emotions: happy, mad and sad.
I found myself thinking, What does it mean if we don’t have a vocabulary that’s as broad and deep as the human experience?
Our hearts are seas of expansiveness, of emotion, of experience. At some point, those emotions and experiences need to be articulated. Language is a kind of life jacket. But often people aren’t equipped with the words to describe what they’re feeling.
Language doesn’t just communicate emotions; it shapes them. So when I use a word to describe how I’m feeling, my body will often follow my language. If I use hyperbole and go from saying, “I’m stressed” to “I’m overwhelmed,” often I make that a self-fulfilling prophecy.
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