This is an interesting and potentially useful book for anyone seeking to understand more about emotions – how we define them, what we might experience and how they impact on ourselves and our interactions with others.

“There is emerging research that shows our ability to name an emotion helps us regulate it.”

This book brings emotions to the forefront, rather than seeing them as secondary – acknowledging that as humans, we are emotional beings, just as we are rational beings. Providing what the authors refer to as ‘insight and interpretation’ of 150 emotions, ranging from Acceptance to Irreverence, to Perseverance and Zeal.

Designed as a ‘Field Guide’, the idea is to use it as a reference tool with different categories giving specific details about each of the emotions featured. These include; our typical reaction when we experience the emotion, the purpose of the emotion and the time orientation of the emotion – whether it is referring to the past, present or future. Also included is a helpful summary of how the emotion might get in the way and other emotions we might confuse it with. These aspects are great for gaining clarity on whether the label we are using for our emotion is actually accurate and for thinking about what we might need to change or do more of in order for that emotion to work with us, rather than against us.

I particularly like the categories that highlight what’s happening within our body when we experience the emotion. The relationship between mind and body is significant yet it’s an area that is often under-represented,  so it’s great to see these links made. By focusing in on how our body might feel and how our breath might be when experiencing the emotion, we can start to identify any tools or techniques which may support us to build on that, or reduce the impact – depending on what we need to have happen. 

In our work at 3b, we frequently talk about the benefits of noticing and developing the ability to have objectivity about our thoughts and feelings. This book is set out to help you do just that with your emotions – providing that insight and interpretation, which not only builds knowledge and understanding, but enables you to focus and consider how you can use that to support your mental well-being.