Hi there, my name is Rosario and I am a human being. I share my planet with about seven billion fellow human beings. Over millions of years, we humans have been evolving; modifying and adapting, in order to survive and thrive. Biologically, our brains have evolved too. This has transformed our capacity for cognitive processing, resulting in great strides having been made in the ‘civilisation’ of our world.
To be human is to be able to, not only have thoughts, but to have thoughts about our thoughts! To be human, is to have an ability to imagine – and communicate to others what it is that we imagine or visualise. The last one hundred years – a blink of an eye in terms of our evolutionary journey – has seen fantastic leaps in engineering, medicine and technological advancement.
Paul Gilbert (The Compassionate Mind) reminds us though, that “evolution is not perfect”. Our brains have held on to a powerful, more primitive, element – our emotional brain, as some would call it. The amygdala is an area of the brain which scientists have found to be a key player in how we humans react emotionally to different situations. Universal emotions such as anger, fear, love, hurt, jealousy, and grief are, after all, the stuff of a million stories, plays, films, songs and poems!
The study of how we understand and manage our emotional brain (old brain, if you like) is a quite a recent one, but thankfully now a very popular one. Daniel Goleman’s, “Emotional Intelligence” is a fascinating book on this subject and well worth a read!
My own interest in the study of the emotional brain, began more than twenty years ago. Like many, I’m sure, my journey began with reading endless ‘self-help’ books. This was followed by years of formal and informal studies and, eventually, a complete change of career to become a practicing psychotherapist. What had started out as curiosity and a search for personal growth and development, then led on to a desire to guide and assist others in their search for an understanding of their emotional brain.
Along the way, in both my personal and professional life, I have been drawn to the theories and practice of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Emotional Intelligence and Evolutionary Psychology as an explanation for, and a way to make sense of, our ‘human being-ness’. I share the view of Paul Gilbert (The Compassionate Mind), when he says;
“On a personal level, the way we use our ‘new brains’ to think and ruminate about ourselves can be a source of stimulating, powerful, primitive emotions and feelings, which we can become locked into and, in that way, drive ourselves deep into anxiety and depression.”
Knowledge is Power!
Inventions such as the internet, as well as personal computers and smartphones, have given us unprecedented knowledge – literally at our fingertips! We have a vast library of information to choose from and most of it is free. As wonderful as this is, it can be a bit overwhelming and confusing too. Often, we just want a simple, straightforward answer to our particular problem or question. We don’t always have the time, or the interest, to wade through countless websites and articles, many of which may turn out not to be relevant.
The blog posts that follow here, aim to inform you and keep you updated on the latest developments in this fascinating field of psychology and neuroscience. In particular, these blog posts will be concerned with anxiety and depression and ways to best manage our moods and behaviours. Looking forward to your feedback!