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How're ya feelin'?

Feelings. We all have them, all the time. They can really trip us up sometimes, especially if we aren't aware of how they can affect us.

Have you seen Inside Out? It's a 2015 Pixar movie that deals with five major emotions: joy, disgust, anger, sadness and fear. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It's fun. How could it not be? It's a Disney Pixar movie, and one of their best! But it's also quite serious.

Listen, we all have these feelings. It's how we meet them that makes our lives difficult or easy. I was recently sent this wonderful link by a friend: it's the Atlas of Emotions created by Dr Paul Ekman. I recommend this too. In the place of joy, this atlas presents enjoyment, but the other emotions are the same. Check it out when you have some time. So much of what we deal with every day comes down to these five emotions.

The Dalai Lama asked Ekman, a renowned expert in the field of emotional research, to find a way to help people understand how emotions work, how they arise in situations and how we can learn to manage them. I must give credit to the design team, Stamen, because they've done an excellent job putting some complex content into clear, effective visual imagery. It all comes together beautifully.

For a more comprehensive, academic look at the same topic, you might be interested in RULER, a program developed by Marc Brackett at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. RULER is an acronym for for Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating emotions.

Whether you just want to have fun at the movies, or get into some very cool graphics or dig deep into current research, just know that there are many approaches to work with our human nature. Understanding that we all have emotions all the time and learning how to meet them mindfully can help us live life with greater equanimity.

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