Curious About Feelings? Well, Here are Some Answers
We have always been curious about why we feel things- love, pain, desire and how the feelings are related to our thoughts. Driven by the curiosity about feelings and with careful thinking, Lisa Feldman Barrett (distinguished Professor Northeastern University) finally found some answers.
As a child we are always told that feelings are something related to our heart. Don’t you feel a pang of pain in your chest when something bad happens? Or the feeling of being in love with someone makes your heart gush up and bubble, something more than just happiness? And yet in all those biology lectures we took at school, nobody ever told us that the function of heart is to generate feelings! So where do these feelings come from? The answer is pretty obvious- human brain. It’s the adrenaline rush that makes our heart gush up when we spot our sweetheart. Similarly, it’s the emotional stress that creates the tightness in our chest when something turns bad. But how essentially are these sensations cultivated? Surprisingly according to the studies carried out at Northeastern University, the region of brain that is responsible for analytical thinking, making judgements, and being logical; is also responsible for the generation of feelings. Prof. Lisa says,
“Feelings, in other words, are any part of mental event- any action, any thought, judgement, perception or decision. They are properties of consciousness”.
Our brain is a dual network system, complexly interlinked. There is one part which is responsible for ‘allostasis’, it looks after the body, metabolism, homeostasis, voluntary motion of movements and also the involuntary motions of breathing and cardiovascular activities. The second part is responsible for ‘interoception’, essentially creating sensations, thought processes, emotional outbursts and of course feelings. Together these two parts are called the core of human brain. They function in equilibrium synchronising our bodily actions and sensations around the clock. It is needless to say that this ability of brain differs from person to person. However, the basic rules of neuroscience are same for everyone.
So, the next time you feel distressed about a heart break, remember that it’s a logical sensation generated by your body and stay away from harmful temporary reliefs like opiates.