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Why do you suffer from failures and it will never end
The essence of any failure is that you had to do something, and then did not fulfill what you wanted. For example, they decided to lose weight and fell off the diet or were going to get a promotion, but flew out of the service.
Without going into details, there are two main criteria for any failure:
1. You decide you have to do something.
2. You decided that you failed.
The key concept in both points is your own thoughts on this matter. It is they who determine whether you will classify what happened as a failure and suffer about it, or take it as another event and not pay much attention.
In How Emotions Are Born, Professor Lisa Barrett explains how our brain creates experiences for any reason and how to tune it in such a way that we experience less negativity and more easily endure unpleasant life events.
But before we move on to specific tips, let’s deal with the theory.
How the brain creates the world
The brain, locked inside the skull, explores the world through the senses. However, there is too much external information, and he is not able to constantly analyze it.
In order to work faster and use less energy, from the very first days of a person’s life, his brain learns to create predictions or predictions – images of what should happen.
As a result, he does not have to analyze everything – it is enough to create a simulation, and then check it. If everything fits, the template is fixed and used in the future for the same situations.
For example, there are always apples in the fruit section. Glancing at the tray with round red objects, you are sure that these are fruits and not clown noses. If they ever end up there, you won’t even notice until you start packing them up.
Lisa Feldman Barrett
Doctor of Science and Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University. Recipient of the National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award for Emotion Research, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Through predictions, your brain constructs the world you perceive. It connects the pieces of your past and evaluates how likely each piece is to apply to the current situation.
The “visible” world is actually a simulation of the brain, which relies on its own predictions, and then is subjected to verification. Exactly the same simulations are the feelings of other people, events and all objects of culture like money, love, success and failure.
However, forecasts are built not only on the basis of external information. Equally important is what happens inside your body – it is this that determines what generally matters to you and what does not.
How the brain chooses what to pay attention to
Every moment the brain receives information about the resources of your body. This is called interoception and involves the representation of all sensations from internal organs and tissues, hormones in the blood, and immunity.
Based on this, the brain creates an affect – a feeling that can be pleasant or unpleasant. This is a kind of summary of events occurring with the body, and a signal about whether something needs to be done or is it so good.
Lisa Feldman Barrett
The affect is constantly present throughout your life, even when you are completely still or asleep. When your brain represents interoceptive changes, you experience pleasant and unpleasant sensations, excitement and calmness. Affect accompanies you from birth to death.
Having received this information, the brain uses past experience and predicts what exactly needs to be done in order to influence the allocation of body resources and change affect. For example, eat a chocolate bar to replenish your glucose supply, the need for which has increased due to the appearance of an angry boss or other stress.
These objects and events are your affective niche. It includes all the concepts that are related to the budget of your body or can somehow affect it. It is these events that evoke an emotional response in you and make you rejoice and suffer. The rest does not matter and is not taken into account.
Interestingly, people cannot always determine the cause of their affect and begin to perceive it as information about the world, and not about their perception.
This behavior is called affective realism, and it forces judges to issue more convictions before lunch and acquittals after, and HR to hire those who came for an interview on a sunny day.
“In moments of affective realism, we perceive affect as a property of an object or event in the outside world, and not as our own experience,” says Lisa Feldman Barrett.
For example, when you are very hungry, even a good friend can be annoying. At that moment, you will really consider that he is unbearable, instead of realizing that your feeling of hunger is unbearable, and your friend is the same as always.
In the middle of your affective niche is always your own “I”. And, like other things created by the brain, it is nothing more than a concept.
How the brain creates an image of your “I”
Your concept of yourself is the product of the interaction of experience, interoception, and the world around you. The you who is embarrassed to speak in public, loves coffee, hates jazz, and suffers from self-doubt is not some real thing, but another brain simulation.
Lisa Feldman Barrett
The fiction of self is that you have some kind of permanent entity that makes you who you are. This is not true. My suggestion is that your self is being re-constructed every moment by predictive internal systems as they categorize the continuous flow of sensations from your body and the world.
Just remember how cool you feel when you receive social approval or enjoy the pleasant events of life. And what a pathetic loser you can feel to yourself when you experience severe physical discomfort (like a hangover) or suffer from another failure.
You don’t change, only your ideas differ.
How to let go of the pain of failure
Based on everything said above, we can give some advice on how to get rid of suffering for any reason.
Cross the event out of the affective niche
In most cases in which you get upset, the body is not really in danger, and the hypothetical harm only threatens the social reality of your self.
To stop worrying, it is enough to remember that the reasons for frustration – money, salary, career, relationships, and yourself – are just concepts.
According to Lisa Barrett, when you categorize something as “not about me,” it moves out of your affective niche and has less of an impact on the allocation of bodily resources.
If a concept stops affecting your body’s resource allocation, it doesn’t matter. Once you understand this, negative emotions will evaporate.
Try it right now. Take some recent setback and consider, did it really affect the allocation of resources, endangered your body?
Most likely, this is not so and you were worried about another illusion. Having trained in this way, you can cross out a lot of negative events from the list.
Practice positive predictions
Since your brain’s predictions are directly dependent on experience, the more positive things there are, the more positive your view of the world will be.
Of course, positives include victories and other people’s good attitude, but the key here is your opinion about it. All these external events only reinforce the concept of your own “I”. They help you feel good and worthwhile with ease and ease.
At the same time, these thoughts are no more real than your own “I”, and therefore you can change them at any moment and regardless of external events, and this will not be a lie.
When you receive an award and think to yourself: “Here I am,” this concept is no more real than the same thoughts at any other moment in time. For example, when you just sit at the computer or get a reprimand from your superiors.
These are all just simulations of your brain. So, you can at any moment be a good and worthwhile person or a nonentity. Optionally. But keep in mind that the more often you are “well done”, the more the brain gets used to this image of the social “I”.
Lisa Feldman Barrett
Every time you pay attention to positive things, you are stimulating your conceptual system, reinforcing the concepts about these positive things and making them visible in your mental picture of the world.
To feel good in any situation, build a positive self-image. I suggest you cherish and cherish this image, remember it more often and in every possible way accustom your brain to such a vision.
But try to get rid of the negative mental chewing gum as soon as possible. By dwelling on these experiences, you help your brain create and reinforce another instance of prediction.
Over time, it becomes easier for him to recreate these concepts and use them as templates for neural activity. As Lisa Barrett put it, every experience you design is an investment, so invest wisely. Cultivate the experience you want to design again in the future.
Take care of your body
This is the last and very logical advice. Since introception directly affects your concept of yourself, make every effort to make the body feel good. Especially at a time when your social self is suffering.
Each organism is individual, but there are general points that are true for everyone:
- Eat Right. So that your body is comfortable, it does not experience hunger and discomfort after eating. Also, try not to borscht with sugar and do not lean on fast food – such products can lead to diseases, and this will not have the best effect on your feelings.
- move more. You don’t have to exercise, but try to get enough cardio, such as walking more often. Physical activity has a huge positive effect on health, and therefore on your sense of self.
- get enough sleep. Sleep is very important for the health of the brain and the whole body as a whole. Don’t neglect them.
- Relax. Go for a massage, meditate, do breathing exercises, run, do yoga – try different ways to get rid of tension and choose your own.
Even if you can’t avoid affective realism (and you can’t, at least not completely), the world as a whole will become a much friendlier and more pleasant place.