Soul Sessions by CreativeMind

The Evolution of Neuroscience

June 20, 2023 Debra Berndt Maldonado and Robert Maldonado PhD Life Coach Training and Personal Transformation Experts Season 7 Episode 166
The Evolution of Neuroscience
Soul Sessions by CreativeMind
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Soul Sessions by CreativeMind
The Evolution of Neuroscience
Jun 20, 2023 Season 7 Episode 166
Debra Berndt Maldonado and Robert Maldonado PhD Life Coach Training and Personal Transformation Experts

One of the biggest breakthroughs in our continuing series on great minds of psychology is the birth of neuroscience. We talked about how it all began with Broca in the 1800s and how each part of the brain has different functions. In this episode, we explore: 

  • How Paul Broca, Wernicke & Oliver Sacks contributed to the development of neuroscience
  • How Oliver Sacks inspired the movie “Awakenings” starring Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams
  • The structure of the brain and how each area affects our lives
  • Emotions, from evolutionary research with Darwin to modern neuroscience
  • Explore an emotional model that doesn’t necessarily judge emotions as good or bad but as a necessary part of our human experience that brings meaning


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Stay Connected with Debra and Dr. Rob:
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

One of the biggest breakthroughs in our continuing series on great minds of psychology is the birth of neuroscience. We talked about how it all began with Broca in the 1800s and how each part of the brain has different functions. In this episode, we explore: 

  • How Paul Broca, Wernicke & Oliver Sacks contributed to the development of neuroscience
  • How Oliver Sacks inspired the movie “Awakenings” starring Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams
  • The structure of the brain and how each area affects our lives
  • Emotions, from evolutionary research with Darwin to modern neuroscience
  • Explore an emotional model that doesn’t necessarily judge emotions as good or bad but as a necessary part of our human experience that brings meaning


Interested in Jungian Life Coach Training? Download your free program brochure:

Stay Connected with Debra and Dr. Rob:
Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube | Facebook | |

The Evolution of Neuroscience Transcript

INTRO  00:00

Welcome to Soul Sessions with CreativeMind with Debra Berndt Maldonado and Dr. Rob Maldonado of CreativeMind. Join us each week for inspiring conversation about personal development based on Jungian philosophy, Eastern spirituality, and social neuroscience. Spend each week with us to explore deep topics in a practical way. Let's begin. 

Debra Maldonado  00:28 

Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Soul Sessions. I'm here with Dr. Rob Maldonado. I'm Debra Maldonado. We are with CreativeMind, bringing you the best of psychology, neuroscience, Eastern spirituality, and coaching.

Robert Maldonado  00:45

Today we're talking about the neuroscience with an emphasis on the emotional brain.

Debra Maldonado  00:50

We’re continuing our series on the great minds of psychology, almost wrapping up the series with neuroscience. But before we begin today's episode, I’d love for you to subscribe to our channel, if you're watching us on YouTube, just click the button here in the corner. Or if you are listening to us on one of podcast services, Apple, Spotify, all those great services, don't forget to subscribe, so you can hear every episode of this amazing series and more. Let's talk about the brain today. We talked a lot about the different minds of psychology, the psyche, the mind, the unconscious, now we're getting into the hardware and the software of the brain.

Robert Maldonado  01:36

I wanted to dedicate this podcast to all the people past and present who have had brain injuries, head traumas, and neurological disorders because this hits home. Every family know someone or has someone who has been touched by brain disorders, brain diseases. This is our contribution to their welfare, hopefully. We hope they feel better, get better. There's always hope because of neuroplasticity. There's a couple of really interesting people associated with this topic. One of them is from the very beginning, Paul Broca, he goes back to mid-1800s. Yeah. Paul Broca was in France, a physician interested in anthropology. At that time neuroscience didn't exist, he wasn't considered a neuroscientist. But he was a researcher and a clinician very interested in the human condition. He came up with this idea. We still use his name today because he named one of the primary language centers on the left side of the brain — most of us have it on the left side of the brain, some people on the right — this center is called Broca's area. If you want to make a name for yourself and be remembered, name a discovery after you because that keeps you in the books. Paul Broca was the one that really started to see that when there was head injuries on the left side of the brain, especially in the frontal parts of the brain, people would lose language. People died probably, a horse would knock them over in the street, they'd fall off a carriage or something.

Debra Maldonado  04:03

The kids that have trouble with language, children who are diagnosed with autism, are on the spectrum, is that affecting that part of the brain, the language center? 

Robert Maldonado  04:16

Yes, because that's the theory. This an interesting part of neuro development that the language is one of the most recent acquisitions of our brain. If you look at evolution in the long term, the big picture, like chimps, they used body language, facial expression to communicate, some howling and grunting, but language is very recent phenomenon. The theory is that when there is brain damage, let's say the kid has to experience a difficult C-section or has a difficult birth process, because some of these centers are the most recent, the brain tries to protect all the other areas first. 

Debra Maldonado  05:19

Because they're more related to physical survival, they have a lower priority.

Robert Maldonado  05:25

That's a good way to put it, lower priority because they're more recent, they're still evolving. They're sensitive, they're delicate, they get damaged very easily. Kids who have language problems and have a history of difficult birth, you can make the connection there. But people that have suffered head injuries, like in motorcycle accidents, car accident, playing football, concussions, on and on, often they lose language because they damage this center called Broca's area. When I'm speaking right now, my Broca's area is working so hard. It's firing away. If you do an MRI or fMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging image, you see that area light up.

Debra Maldonado  06:26

Is this similar to the woman who did the TED talk about having a stroke? She says she couldn't speak and it messed with her language center?

Robert Maldonado  06:36

Yes. There's three ways it gets damage: a trauma from the outside, an internal bleed, which is called a stroke that damages that particular part of the brain, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s.

Debra Maldonado  06:56

My grandparents both had a stroke. Oone of my grandmas lost her speech, she couldn't speak. Not only her physical one side, but speech was impaired. So he came up with this area, how did he come up with it, just a patient that he had?

Robert Maldonado  07:20

In research, you start with one case. He noticed that this individual had a head injury on his left side. He lost language, he lost the ability maybe to move his right side or something like that. Then he noticed there was a pattern, “I am starting to notice that a lot of my patients who lose language seem to have a head injury. He started to dissect the brains after they passed away, do autopsies. He noticed that this particular region of the brain is damaged. Therefore, he concluded that this must be a language center.

Debra Maldonado  08:14

Then he went on to develop the other parts, or did someone else do that?

Robert Maldonado  08:18

Other people contributed, there was a guy named Wernicke, who later identified another part further back in the brain that decodes language. As you're listening to this podcast, there's a part of your brain, a module that is dedicated to deciphering and decoding the sound that it's hearing.

Debra Maldonado  08:42

We talked in perception, this may be a little off the trail but your eardrums are vibrating. The sound isn't really coming out of the phone or the computer you're listening to. There's a vibration, your eardrums are feeding information to the brain. Then you hear like it interprets. That’s what we're hearing. The sound is interpreted through the brain.

Robert Maldonado  09:15

If you imagine a little drum, the eardrum is vibrating based on the air molecules hitting it, it's vibrating to that pattern, then those little patterns code to an electrical chemical signal that travels into the brain to that particular area.

Debra Maldonado  09:37

Really, you're hearing us inside your mind versus it coming in. In a way the vibrations come in, but the interpretation of the actual experience of our voices which are coming through your brain.

Robert Maldonado  09:51

That’s the miracle and the interesting part of study in the brain, we start to see it like a supercomputer that's been given to each and every one of us but no instructions. If we're lucky, through education, we can think of some instruction on how we learn language and stuff, but it's not really an instruction on how the brain works, how you use it. We can say Paul Broca was one of the founding fathers of the discipline, he died in 1880, so you can get a sense of where most of his work was. At that time, Freud, I think, was just being born. Freud and Jung carried it into the turn of the century. More recently, this is someone who really inspired many students when I was in school, back in the old days, his name is Oliver Sacks. Most of you have probably seen or heard of this movie called Awakenings. Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. Robin Williams plays Oliver Sacks when he was doing his internship at— I think he was in Queens Hospital in New York. A really interesting movie, we'll post the link if you want to see it. It's an actual account of his experience in neurology and neuro psychology. When he was doing his residency, he noticed they had a lot of patients that had a particular disorder, where they had fallen early on in their youth into a coma. They were unreachable, essentially, they were in a vegetative state.

Debra Maldonado  12:23

They were locked inside their bodies. Catatonic, is that what they called it?

Robert Maldonado  12:31

It's one of the terms they use. But essentially, they were comatose, or in a coma, which means they're not able to communicate, and we're not sure if they're in there, thinking, experiencing anything. There are different degrees and different levels of it. Oliver Sacks was interested if the new pharmaceuticals that were coming out at that time might be able to help these people. He started experimenting with L-dopa, which is a precursor to dopamine. Dopamine is the one that helps us move and coordinate our movements. Sure enough, they started to respond. A lot of them came out of the coma. Some of them had been in coma for 20-30 years. When they saw themselves in the mirror, there’s an old person when the last thing they remember was being young.

Debra Maldonado  13:45

They didn't have any memory of this when they were in the comatose state?

Robert Maldonado  13:50

You're not experiencing anything. You might be experiencing internal sense.

Debra Maldonado  13:55

But your memory doesn't isn't working to remember. Like a deep sleep.

Robert Maldonado  14:01

It's like when you go to sleep, then wake up in the morning, you pick up where you left off. For them, it was a long sleep of 20 years. It didn't work for long. For a brief period of time these people were out and about, they were taking field trips and going to movies. Their families were overjoyed, of course.

Debra Maldonado  14:39

They had to keep upping the dose. It got really dangerous where they could harm them.

Robert Maldonado  14:47

This is still applicable today, if you push dopamine to the other extreme, if there's too much, you start to have psychotic symptoms. They started to have uncontrollable psychotic symptoms, paranoia, hallucinations, aggressive behavior. They went back slowly to their comatose state. Very dramatic, true account of something incredible. Oliver Sacks also wrote a famous book called The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.


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Debra Maldonado  16:21

Let's move on to the structure of the brain. We found we have all these centers, when parts are damaged, you lose that ability, but there's different parts of the brain that affect a person.

Robert Maldonado  16:44

Let's begin with the external, called a neo cortex, neo meaning new. It's the latest part to develop, like the language. An interesting side effect of Broca’s work was that people started to think the brain must be modular, certain components are in parts and pieces, particular areas specialize in certain functions. There is something to that. But when you really examine it, the brain is still interconnected. It needs information from other parts to do those functions. It's both modular, but also holistic. Another aspect that evolved from Broca’s work was this idea that when something is damaged, by nature or by accident, it's an opportunity for us to understand what those areas were doing.

Debra Maldonado  18:02

Isn't that why you got into the neuroscience and worked with kids with developmental disorders, because it was so fascinating? You were interested in the brain, your friend was in a coma, it was fascinating talking to the neurologist about the brain.

Robert Maldonado  18:20

My personal experience was that I was working my way through school, working in a hospital, I was in the respiratory department. Part of my job was to help people stay on these ventilator life support systems. One of my friends that was working with us there had a motorcycle accident at that time, he came in through the emergency room. He had a brain injury, half of his body was paralyzed. When we took him to get the CT scans and MRIs, a big part of his— I think it was the right side of his brain — was damaged. He had some language and some understanding, but he wasn't able to move a lot. I got very interested in the brain and what it was doing. At that time, I went to the University of Texas to interview one of the professors there who was a neuropsychologist. We had a conversation about the brain. He told me “If you're interested in the brain, we're starting a new program in neuro psychology, a Master's program. Why don't you come and apply?” I didn’t have any psychology background at that time, I had a degree in art but was finishing up. He said “All you have to do is get a few courses under your belt, we’ll let you into the program.” That's where I started my career in psychology. What was striking to me was how brain damage changes the individual. Your personality changes, obviously your physical, your ability to move your body, depending on where the injury is, changes.

Debra Maldonado  20:41

They had this movie out, a documentary, probably a year or so ago. Alex Hernandez was a football player, then he became very violent. He was accused of murder. They were like “What happened to him?” Abuse and all this stuff. They were contributing it to multiple concussions that basically altered his personality. The brain does a lot for us, we want to take care of it. Let's go back to the structure. Broca started this conversation of certain special areas of the brain.

Robert Maldonado  21:26

These areas specialize in particular functionalism. As the science evolves, now we have incredible fMRI, which is functional MRIs that can look at the brain in real time. You put a person in the tube, you give them something to think about or to do, and you look at what parts of the brain light up, what parts are being activated. Some of the general areas that are important, and you may have heard some of the stuff already: the occipital lobe, which is the back part of the brain, is actually connected to your eyes, which is weird. What's in front of your eyes, all the signals through the optic nerve have to travel way to the back of the brain to get processed and create this experience of color and form that we see. The occipital lobe is that part of the back of the brain. The temporal lobe is associated with memory and hearing. In the frontal lobes you have thinking, executive functioning.

Debra Maldonado  22:49

The ability to focus too, if you don't have it. There's creative people who are more in the peripheral thinking. More logical people tend to have more activity in the front of the brain. You want to balance, you don't want to just be all creative or all focus, you want to have a balance.

Robert Maldonado  23:09

It's split in half, of course. When you look at the left side of the brain, you see these brain centers for language like Broca's area and Wernicke’s areas. The right side of the brain is the artistic, intuitive, more emotional. Because these language centers are so specialized, they help us think. If you look at how we are educated, we're educated through language, verbal skills, math, mathematical skills.

Debra Maldonado  23:55

We're not really taught to use our imagination to learn. We're used to the logic to learn, which sometimes drains out all of you creatives out there, you feel like it drained out all your creative energy, being in public school system, or even university. Not cultivating that creativity in your younger life.

Robert Maldonado  24:21

If you look at IQ testing, some of you might have been tested in school or other institutions. It's very broken down into verbal intelligence and visual spatial. They say it's cultural neutral, anyone tested will get an accurate score. But there's some debate about that. There was a psychologist in Australia who decided to put this to test. He tested Aboriginal children who are in nature most of the time, didn't go to school, and didn't do very well on the verbal IQ. He set up this board and put natural stones, branches, and seeds, and had them just look at it briefly and then try to put them back the way they were. They did really well, whereas the kids in the typical school were not so good at it. We see that intelligence is adaptive. It's meant to help you fit into your environment, that's a big function of the brain, to help you fit into your environment.

Debra Maldonado  25:56

If you're not cultivating those parts of your brain growing up, if your creativity was uncultivated, or if your left brain wasn't cultivated, as far as books, reading, language, it can affect you, those centers need a little work to rebuild them or build them up.

Robert Maldonado  26:16

Let's look at the inside of the brain. The neocortex is outer covering, very specialized in helping us do all this function. As we go in, there are older structures because evolution evolved from the inside out. The core, the center of the brain, is the brainstem, which includes the pons and the brainstem. The brainstem is the brain going into all our body. Essentially, we're a walking brain. It's not just housing in our skull. It has the spinal cord that runs all the way down our spine. It sends out these nerves that go to the very tips of your feet, your hands, your face, everything. Essentially, you're a living walking brain.

Debra Maldonado  27:24

When they say your body mind is the brain, every part of your body is listening, feeling, processing through the brain, the essential brain central nervous system, then going out to the peripheral nervous system. The brainstem’s one thing is survive. It's really more about keeping the body breathing, looking, keeping the body in homeostasis, digesting food.

Robert Maldonado  27:55

When we fall asleep, there's certain centers in the brainstem called nuclei that are specialized neurons that send out signals to the brain saying “Start dreaming.” It floods the brain with these impulses. You start to have dreams during the night without waking up, which is a trick that is hard to carry out. Think about it, your brain is actually more active during REM sleep than right now. It's more awake when you are dreaming than right now, but it doesn't wake you up. Most of the time you don't wake up while you are dreaming. It has to do this delicate balance. We can think of the brainstem as a functional survival, respiration, digestion, sleep patterns. But in between the neocortex and that primitive, sometimes it's called the reptilian brain, I never liked that, that's the ancient brain. It's more like a fish brain essentially. In between the neocortex and this brainstem is the limbic system, which is the emotional brain, it’s sometimes called the mammalian brain, meaning most mammals have this.

Debra Maldonado  29:36

That's why our dogs, cat, our pets usually have that emotional bond with us, because they have the same limbic system.

Robert Maldonado  29:45

They bond with each other. They take care of their young, they're very nurturing. They have great memories, like elephants. Those things are still evolving. We're still learning more about what the limbic system does. Because from Broca's time onwards, most of the study was seen through the lens of cognition. We were interested in thought, in thinking and reason. Of course, we'd need to understand those things but this deeper part of the brain, the way it interacts with the neocortex is—

Debra Maldonado  30:37

If you think about the education system, we don't learn about emotions in school, no one teaches us about emotions, maybe biology, we're talking a little baby, we know about little piece of the brain. But everything we learn is very cognitive, memorize, logic. Then we go to work, we're hired based on our resume, which is a very logical way to hire someone. “Let me hire this person, they have the skills” is a logical thing versus “Is this person going to fit in with the group? How's the team going to work together?” One of the things we are always conscious of when we're hiring for our team is the emotional part. Do they feel like they fit in with our group? Will they be easy to work with, resonate with everyone, and have that heart? You can have a great person with a great resume, who's a bull in the china shop with other people, they don't have that emotional intelligence. Maybe now they take those tests, like the Big Five, for hiring, but it seems that we're just starting to think about emotions. There really is little research on emotions, there's some definitely, but compared to the cognition and all the other aspects of psychology, emotion seems to be the last, but the most important in our life because we feel ourselves through life. We don't think ourselves through life, we think we're thinking but we're feeling it, everything's about a feeling. I often say that we're not afraid of how things are gonna happen to us, some terrible thing’s going to happen, we break up with someone or we lose our job. It's not that thing itself, but how it makes us feel. How it makes us feel is just a felt sense in the body. It's the brain processing, moving hormones around, stimulating certain feelers in the body. We're so afraid of being in our body and feeling. I find it fascinating that it's taken so long to start thinking about how powerful emotions are in our brain processing and also in our life.

Robert Maldonado  32:59

If you think about communication, it's more than language. A lot of it is expressed emotionally. This goes back to Darwin. When he was studying monkeys and apes, he noticed that they were using facial and body language to communicate. He started to wonder if human beings do this. Of course, he got in big trouble with the Christian orthodoxy. We're still debating his work but we know evolution is a powerful fact in biology, there's no way to deny it. We can see the evidence very clearly. An emotion is more than people think of, these negative and positive emotions. It's much more than that. It's really the way we experience and give meaning to the world.

Debra Maldonado  34:14

If you don't have emotions, you want to get rid of all the negative and only be positive, what a pressure it is on your life, putting a bubble around yourself. I can't feel negative, I can't have a bad day, I can't have a down day, someone can't be angry. We all have to be this happy person all the time. What happens in psychology is that you suppress the emotion. It doesn't go anywhere. It's there, and it'll burst out. It's like kick the dog syndrome they talk about, I hate that term, but it's like you go to work, get into traffic, you're just tolerating, then you get home and the person that's there gets the brunt of your anger, even if they didn't do anything. It is something we have to find beyond just understanding intellectually emotions, but understanding how we can live with them, not just “I can put this feeling in a bucket, I can reframe the feeling.” It's more like “How do we allow ourselves to feel more?”

Robert Maldonado  35:21

There's a few myths that we want to dispel. First of all, there are no toxic emotions. Now, can emotions become toxic? Of course, anything can become toxic. But emotions themselves aren’t toxic because they evolved to help us make sense of the world, to adapt to the world. Fear, anger, shame are not toxic, they're useful to us. Therefore, we kept them our brain. If they were not useful to us, we’d have gotten rid of them a long time ago.

Debra Maldonado  36:08

If we think about it from a biological standpoint, through the brain, it starts to give us a little more sense of what the emotion is versus giving it some other meaning, supernatural or something like bad or wrong, some negative energy. It’s more understanding that this is a part of our being and our biology.

Robert Maldonado  36:29

Here's a simple diagram you can visualize in your head to start to think about your emotions as a way to master them, or at least to move towards mastery of the emotions. We start at the top of a vertical line with pleasant emotions, emotions that feel good to us, that we want to have more of, we want to cultivate. At the bottom of that vertical line is unpleasant emotions, things that don't feel good to us.

Debra Maldonado  37:15

Although they did research and said the pleasure centers in the brain light up when you're angry because you get release from it. People can be addicted to anger. There's no pleasant or unpleasant in a way, it really is subjective.

Robert Maldonado  37:33

Also, we rarely feel one emotion on its own.

Debra Maldonado  37:40

It is always a bunch, “I'm feeling angry, but also confused. I'm feeling anxious and angry. I'm feeling sad and angry. I'm feeling happy and angry.”

Robert Maldonado  37:53

The other one, and this might require a little bit more explanation, is that people think emotions can damage them, can be hurtful to them. Of course, chronic anger, for example, or any kind of stress can damage your physical heart and lungs, your body in general, because it's so intense. But in general, if we feel a strong emotion, it’ll not damage our true self, our awareness. So we have this horizontal line with the pleasant emotions on top, the unpleasant emotions at the bottom. Now we draw a horizontal line with on the left, lower arousal, and on the right, high arousal. You have a pleasant/unpleasant, low arousal/high arousal. This gives us four quadrants. On the upper left hand side, you have pleasant and low arousal, that's when you're relaxed, when you're calm, you’re content after you work out, after you do yoga, after you have a great meal, talk with a friend. You have those pleasant experiences, you're relaxed, calm, and content. This is a powerful state, because we know from research, this state of emotion, state of mind, it's a state of mind really, has regenerative powers, it brings all your system into alignment. The happier you are, the calmer, more relaxed you can be at some point in the day, the healthier and happier you will be.

Debra Maldonado  40:07

Counter to that is low arousal that's not pleasant, that’s boredom. You're bored, you feel like you don't have energy, you feel sluggish, you feel even sad. It's not a hyper feeling. Depression can lead into that, down feelings.

Robert Maldonado  40:29

If we ask, what the function of these unpleasant low arousal emotions would be.

Debra Maldonado  40:39

Maybe be present to something missing in your life. It’s not a bad thing. It's like “I'm bored. Something's missing.” Many times, it's that drive, even sluggishness. Maybe I'm not eating the right foods, I'm sad, where am I putting my happiness externally. Anything can be used as an opportunity to understand yourself and not push it away, “I need to be happy.” A lot of people do that, they can't be sad because they're not a sad person, so they push it away instead of going “I do feel this boredom, maybe it's not acceptable to think I have all this great success in my life, but I'm bored. I have this great job and a great family, but I'm bored.” It feels like socially unacceptable. We keep it, but to know that I'm feeling that, that's a good sign to ask yourself some bigger question.

Robert Maldonado  41:37

On the upper right hand side, we have pleasant emotions mixed with high arousal. It’s the good stuff.

Debra Maldonado  41:51

It's riding the roller coaster, your wedding day, the birth of your child, this big high, winning an award or succeeding, speaking on stage or attending something that's really exciting and motivating to you. You are very aroused. Even watching a movie that's very inspirational, or a comedy.

Robert Maldonado  42:19

This is when you're happy, enthusiastic, and excited. Now, if it goes to the extreme, of course, the high arousal is stressful to people. Even happiness can be stressful.

Debra Maldonado  42:32

Because they're afraid what if it doesn't last? It's almost like a trepidation to that arousal. On the bottom is high arousal, but unpleasant, which is anger, think of it as high energy but it doesn't feel pleasant. Anxiousness or fear. When we face a bear, or we almost get into an accident, or public speaking, confronting a relationship, having to have a confrontation, all that is high arousal, but also unpleasant to a lot of people. But again, it's an opportunity, because if it feels unpleasant, we have to ask ourselves why. What is often out of alignment with ourselves, is creating this unpleasant feeling. It's like a red light going “There's something here that doesn't feel in alignment, what is going on?” Where's this anger coming from? It's always an opportunity to ask bigger questions versus “Let's get rid of the anger or suppress it. Let's get rid of the fear. Let's clear the fear away”, or “I'm anxious, I'm going to run it out” and go for a run. That's great for short term, but ask yourself “Why am I needing to run all the time from my anxiety?” Those are the questions you need to ask.

Robert Maldonado  44:08

The research indicates that even acknowledging,  naming an emotion, like anger, anxiety, or fear gives you a calming effect. You're more in control because you're acknowledging, you're naming it, you're saying “I'm in this state, it's unpleasant, but what do I need to do in order to change it or what do I need to do to face the situation?”

Debra Maldonado  44:42

I think I’d go even further. Naming it is the first step but for me personally and for our clients and coaches, what gives me that deeper sense of dealing with that emotion is not naming it but finding out whyI feel this way, what the misperception of myself in the world is that’s causing this anxiety. When I'm able to identify that I'm anxious because I'm afraid this is going to happen, it's so ridiculous. You're bringing it to light and bringing language to it. But deeper than just labeling it, you want to go beyond just labeling it because labeling or reframing it is an opportunity, but you want to get to why this is here. What's the deeper core reason this anxiety’s sitting there? When you uncover that, then you're free.

Robert Maldonado  45:40

Definitely, you don't want to stop at labeling. You want to learn how to work with emotions, to see them as the building blocks of the meaning of your life. How do we create meaning? How do we generate that meaningful life? It's through emotions, through passion, through the meaning we ascribe to our work, the experiences that we have in life.

Debra Maldonado  46:13

Every growth opportunity I've ever had was triggered by an unpleasant emotion. The unpleasant emotion is what was the catalyst for my transformation. We want to look at it as Carl Jung would say “Something has come alive in me that needs my attention.” It's this aliveness in us to be more intimate with the emotional centers, which are conditioned from early in life. We have these set responses and reactions that we have learned over years and years of being in this body. We want to question them, we want to break from that hard wiring and start to not rewire but shift our brain. That's possible. I want to talk about the anger because there was research early in the 70s and 60s, there was this idea that you beat the pillow or scream, screaming therapies, primal screaming. They found out that actually it wasn't getting rid of the anger. It was actually reinforcing that part of the brain to rewire itself. If you're still pounding pillows, or even running with anger, or channeling the anger into something, you're teaching your brain that this is what I do with anger. We want to find a different way to approach it that's not reinforcing it.

Robert Maldonado  47:50

For parents, last time we talked about social psychology, one of the main ideas was that we learn from observing others, we don't have to experience it ourselves. When children observe their parents using physical punishment to discipline, what you're teaching those kids is that physical aggression is okay. With the things they observe, they're absorbing, they're saying “That's part of being a family, it's part of bonding.”

Debra Maldonado  48:35

Even if a parent is hurting another parent, even if they're not hurting the children, the child is learning that violence is okay.

Robert Maldonado  48:45

We know this is a hard walk to walk, because life is so stressful, family situations are difficult. You can't always control your emotions. But the more aware you are them, the more conscious you are, the more enlightened you are as a parent.

Debra Maldonado  49:11

To review, the brain has many different centers. It goes throughout our body with its nervous system, every part of our body is a thinking, feeling center. We want to learn about ourselves and how we respond to life, so we can change. It all starts from in here because out there is only an interpretation, where it's an inner interpretation what we're seeing out in the world. We have the control, we have the power to shift that interpretation, to shift the energy in our body, to shift our emotional state at any time in any situation. But we're trained that we have to make the circumstances out there change so that I can be happy, or I could feel safe, or that I could feel empowered. But we really have to start on the inside, as we always talk about. We’re going to be continuing our series on the great minds of psychology. Don't forget to join us next week. In the meantime, if you're listening to us on Spotify, iTunes, or any of the podcast hosting services, please don't forget to subscribe, so you don't miss an episode of this fantastic, mind expanding series. Thank you again, everyone, for joining us and we will see you soon. 

OUTRO  50:33 

Thank you for joining us. Don't forget to subscribe to CreativeMinds Soul Sessions. Join us next week as we explore another deep topic where you can consciously create your life with CreativeMind Soul Session. See you next time.

Major contributors to neuroscience
The structure of the brain and how each area affects our lives
The limbic system (emotional brain) + a conversation on emotions
A model to help master your emotions