2. The good, the bad, and the ugly: powerful emotions and our power to work with them

According to a growing number of researchers who investigate how powerful emotions affect the brain, even if we’re awake and “conscious,” we might not be acting consciously at all. Anxious or fearful, angry or depressed, or just downright stressed, we can feel more like a slave to our emotions than the boss of ourselves.

Many of us link our emotional tendencies tightly to our sense of personal identity—making matters worse if we happen to be wrestling with especially painful or destructive emotions. We might even feel that we are our emotions, that other people are their emotions, that we are somehow trapped in a fairly rigid emotional identity, one that’s ...

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