All people, at times, fill up with grief, spill over with joy, or tremble with anger. Most of us are taught early on to manage these emotions by sharing and reveling in the positive ones, while repressing or apologizing for the negative ones. Either way, we learn not to probe our feelings too deeply.
In her new book, “Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life,” Harvard Medical School professor and psychologist Susan David explains and then challenges this reflexive ways of handling emotion. David argues that we should instead pay close, yet detached attention to our internal experiences. When harnessed, she asserts, the steady stream of thoughts, feelings, and personal narrative that makes up our inner self can become our best teachers. Our emotions can reveal what we value most, and we can then act on those values to evolve into our best selves — resilient, stable, curious, courageous, compassionate and empathetic, David says.