Sept. 30, 2020

Emotional Intelligence and Giving Yourself Permission to Feel with Dr. Marc Brackett

Emotional Intelligence and Giving Yourself Permission to Feel with Dr. Marc Brackett

on emotional intelligence, and giving yourself permission to feel. "Emotion management and health management is a life's journey." Dr. Brackett is a research psychologist and the founding director at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and...

Dr. Marc Brackett on emotional intelligence, and giving yourself permission to feel.

"Emotion management and health management is a life's journey."

Dr. Brackett is a research psychologist and the founding director at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University. He has developed a process for understanding emotions and using them to help, rather than hurt, all people, children, and adults in achieving their goals.

His wildly popular book, "Permission To Feel" was released to acclaim last September and we talked with him about it then. Since that time the world has changed dramatically. Now, with the release of the book in paperback, he returns to help you deal with anxiety and major trauma brought on by COVID and inequality, and explains how understanding and using our emotions wisely is more important than ever before.



Jeremy: [00:00:00] This 

is the fit mess 

with Zach and Jeremy anxiety is high for everybody right now. I know I'm feeling it. And those Zach's feeling it. I know most of the world is feeling it right now. This is something that we touched on briefly. In our last episode, we're going to dive a lot deeper this week with our guests.

We're very lucky to be joined by Dr. Mark Brackett. He is the author of permission to feel it is an absolute game changer of a book. If you have not read it, please go to our website and buy it right now. There is a link on our website, the But thank you for being there. This is the Fit mess.

My name is Jeremy. His name is Zach. 

Zach: [00:00:35] What's up everyone. 

Jeremy: [00:00:37] So I think our conversation with Dr. Bracket is going to dovetail nicely with the last episode where Zach you and I just sort of talked about anxiety, uh, primarily your struggles with it over the years. Mine has always, as we've talked about extensively on the show, I've been more on the depressed side, uh, but anxiety is running rampant through the country as you'll hear from Dr.

Brackett. And just a few minutes, he's, uh, he's been doing research on this for the last few months. And I know it's been tough for you guys too, especially when it comes to this homeschooling stuff. And you've had a pretty exciting week with your kid among this COVID nonsense. 

Zach: [00:01:11] Yeah, it's been great. So. My wife works from home.

And typically I go into the office and my daughter goes to school. So back when COVID hit, you know, my, my daughter and I showed up at the house, 

okay, we're here. We, we go to 

school and we work from here now with you and your arms, the office mate. And every hour I was going downstairs trying to talk to my wife.

Like, how's it going? What are you 


You know, just 

like I just needed somebody to interact with. But, um, So Natalie, my daughter went back to school this week and she physically went back. I'm sorry. She went back to school last week. Um, it's all blurring 

Jeremy: [00:01:49] there all the days are just one day and they're all the same.

Zach: [00:01:51] So, uh, so Natalie went back to school and I've been going into the office because it's an office for 300 people 

and four people show up. 

I, so it's. Super super nice. 

Like it's 

probably safer there than it is here because every time I leave my office, there's a gentleman who comes through and cleans after me.

Jeremy: [00:02:10] Nice. So I gotta get, I gotta get one of those from my house. 

Zach: [00:02:13] I know. That's why I 

Jeremy: [00:02:14] keep going to work.

Zach: [00:02:18] Yeah. 

Jeremy: [00:02:20] Anyway. 

Zach: [00:02:20] Um, so Natalie's been in school. I've been going to the office. My wife has been having her days to herself, uh, on Monday though, Natalie is, she got into the habit last summer of going to the nurse's office during summer camp. If she had like a headache or something like that, because she'd get a Popsicle.

Um, and on Monday she was like, ah, I'm just not feeling class right now. So I've got, Oh, I've got a headache. I'm going to go to the nurse's office. So she went to the nurse's office and of course, headache is a COVID symptom. So she got sent home and she couldn't go back until she got a negative COVID test.

So now my wife texted me. She's like, Natalie's coming home. I'm already at work. You know, like. It's with the two of us home and working, we can manage her for the most part. Otherwise she just watched TV all day. But, uh, so it was like, okay, well I'm coming home. I'm not going into the office. Um, and the turnaround that, like I heard one guy, it took him eight days to get a, uh, COVID test result back.

Jeremy: [00:03:20] Right. Plenty of time to actually get COVID if you didn't have it, when you got the test eight days ago. 

Zach: [00:03:25] Exactly. Yeah. Um, And someone else, like two to four days. And we went in the next day and she got her test and we got our results back an hour and a half later. 

Jeremy: [00:03:34] I am curious. So she got the COVID test.

Was it the nose swab? Did they, did they tickle their brain with the Q-tip? 

Zach: [00:03:40] Yep. She came home from that and she was, she was like, that was the worst 

thing ever. 

Jeremy: [00:03:45] So 

Zach: [00:03:45] then we had, we had to have the conversation of okay, if you have a headache and it's uncomfortable, that's one thing you need to really just deal with that.

If you have a headache and you're in pain go to the nurse's office. So we, like, I dunno, I just never expected to have this conversation with my nine-year-old of like, if you have a COVID symptom and it's uncomfortable 

Jeremy: [00:04:06] right. Deal with it. Right. And if you just want a Popsicle, don't ask the nurse. 

Zach: [00:04:11] Yeah.

Ask somebody else. 

Jeremy: [00:04:13] Like 

Zach: [00:04:13] I'm at work, mom's at work. We don't have time for this nonsense. 

Jeremy: [00:04:17] Oh my gosh. But so the test came back within a couple of hours, negative. 

Zach: [00:04:21] Yep. And negative. And she went back to school and everything's fine. So. Oh, 

Jeremy: [00:04:25] man, I it's your homeschool. I'm homeschool. Yeah. We're, we're all online with, uh, a kindergartner.

So her only experience with actual school is on her iPad. Her, her district issued iPad, which is remarkable. Like I'm in, I'm in the same room as my kids, like they're set up at their side-by-side desks. They're on their computers, they're in their teams meetings. And it's crazy to me to watch and hear a five-year-old.

Interacting with our teacher in her classroom, on a teams meeting as though it's some like corporate, you know, remote meeting. She's like, yeah, I went into that app and when I opened it, I didn't find the document that you were referring to. I'm just like, you're five. How, how do you eat it? You can't read.

How do you know what app to open and where to go and what to click? So that's been stunning just to watch them. And, you know, I keep telling people that one of the benefits that's going to come of this is our kids are going to be so much more technologically advanced than we would have ever been, because they'll have to learn how to use computers when they're five years old.

It's amazing. 

Zach: [00:05:28] Well technologically advanced or, or fully addicted to whatever it is out there and an early age. 

Jeremy: [00:05:35] That is the, the other thing I keep seeing my kids because their, their desks are sort of in the, in the main walkway of our house, they drift a lot to their desks. Oh, I'm just checking. I'm like, Oh, I know that story.

I'm constantly just checking real quick. It's a. I'm checking work email. Yeah. 

Zach: [00:05:52] And I'm just nine o'clock at night. My 

Jeremy: [00:05:54] daughter, my oldest daughter today, I was, I was working on something else and she came up and asked me, like, can we get, um, Margo's email set up on her computer, like her Gmail. I'm like, why, why do we need to set up Jima?

Like she has an account that like, we've been sending emails to just forever, because one day she'll open them and she'll see emails from mom and dad from 10 years ago. But, but my five-year-old who can't read. Doesn't need to be able to open her Gmail and check her email real quick while she's, while she's away.

This was just another, like another dopamine hit for my older daughter to get on a computer and do something. So it's, it's in full effect. The, uh, the online addiction stuff is setting in quickly. Yeah. 

Zach: [00:06:34] I know that the electronic, the electronics were a lifesaver from March to June, um, you know, with working from home and taking care of the kids, um, I am getting fearful that this is setting us up for, for some bigger problems later on in social development.

Oh, um, addiction to phones. It's going to be interesting. 

Jeremy: [00:06:58] And just another quick side story, and then we're going to get right to the interview. But, um, my daughter had softball practice today and it was funny because in the morning my kids, they weren't really at each other, but there was just sort of this general, general anxiety.

And, and I've been feeling it all weekend, too. But I could just tell that like, they just, there was something in them that needed to move that needed to get out. And I was so thankful that the softball practice got moved up like four hours. It was like in the morning and it was sort of a softball practice for one kid and play date with a younger sibling for the other one.

And I was like, these kids need to interact with other kids in a somewhat normal environment so badly. And I was right. We got there, they played, they ran around in the sun for a couple hours afterward. We went and talked to some. Uh, some other friends of ours and just that social interaction, you can tell, like the anxiety dial, just turn way down.

So the impact that this is going to have, long-term like you said, aside from the technology, but just that isolation. All of this just upheaval that we've all had to deal with for the last, what seven months is, is going to be felt for generations. I think, I think this is going to have a long lasting impact on, uh, on the way we people 

Zach: [00:08:08] I noticed.

So my daughter's going back to school and the difference in her just general happiness and her anxiety. And she's a different person. Like it. It's amazing how much, like going to school every day. And even though they're socially distance, even though they're wearing masks, even though they're eating lunch at their desk, right.

It's, it's a very different school, but she's there with other kids and she's made friends and you know, it just. She's happier. Right? It's it's so nice to see. And you know, I just see it, that w schools are gonna close down again. Right. We're already seeing cases, um, creep up a little bit here. I, you know, by Halloween, like it's probably going to be all shut down.

Jeremy: [00:08:56] Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, how do we manage this? How do we deal with these kids who are missing school, missing their friends missing? What used to be and likely will never be again. For a lot of those answers, we turn to one of the smartest guys in the field. His name is Dr. Marc Brackett. He wrote the book permission to feel, uh, he's been all over the place in the, in the last year, since we last spoke to him.

And, uh, it's, it's so interesting to look back on the last year for society and how everything has changed. And for him to look back on the last year, since he became a superstar in this field, we talked to him about that and, uh, and got all kinds of tips on how we can help our kids. Socially emotionally to navigate however long this is going to last.

We did all of that with Dr. Marc Brackett. And, uh, we talked to him about all that just a couple of weeks ago.

Let's start with the book. And the last year for you, this thing, you hit, hit the shelves and then you just exploded into a huge star what's what's this year been like for you with the success of this book. 

Marc Brackett: [00:10:01] Um, well, I appreciate that. Uh, I would say that, you know, I certainly didn't write a book that was intended to be useful during a pandemic, but I am grateful, you know, that.

During these difficult times, I'm helping people recognize that they have permission to feel anxious, overwhelmed, scared, stressed, optimistic, hopeful, despair, frustrated, you know, the list goes on. And so I think that to me has been a very rewarding outcome of writing the book that people see, um, their emotions differently and that there.

I think the first step and healthy regulation is this permission to feel. And from then on, you can do your breathing exercises. You can try to do your reframing or get the social support you need. But if you don't give yourself that permission to experience whatever emotion you're having and treat it.

Like a compassionate emotion scientists, as opposed to a critical judge. I think it's downhill. 

Jeremy: [00:11:09] You meant, uh, the, obviously the pandemic, this has gotta be, I would imagine pretty fertile ground for, um, studying how we manage our emotions in a crisis. Can you talk about what you're seeing? What are I imagine you're, you're sort of using this as an educational opportunity.

What are you seeing as you look into this? 

Marc Brackett: [00:11:30] Um, so we've done a lot of studies over the last six months. Uh, we've studied probably over 15,000 people across the United States. Um, a lot of educators because that's where my real work, you know, most of my work lives. Um, but people in the workplace, every kind of person to be honest.

And what we found of course is that every. But he's anxious anxiety. If we ask people, tell me how you're feeling anxious. If I say to teachers, how do you anticipate feeling when you go back to school anxious? Um, if I asked parents about their kids, they're frustrated, they're bored, they're overwhelmed, they're anxious.

Um, I think what's interesting about our research is that we don't just ask people how they feel. We ask them well, how do you want to feel. You know, and what we find is that people, nobody wants to feel anxious all the time. Um, I can tell them what that's like. So like, you don't want that. Um, you know, why not?

You know, and so essentially they say things like for teachers, we want to feel excited. Uh, we want to feel safe. We want to feel supported. We want to feel valued. And so a lot of my work over the last few months has been trying to get people to think about how do you. Close the gap bridge the gap between anxious, overwhelmed, and scared, you know, over to not just forgetting about those feelings, but we can feel multiple emotions at once, right?

It's not like you're only anxious. Like that's not really the truth. Um, I'm, you know, I'm anxious right now about a lot of things, but I'm also optimistic and hopeful and excited about things that I'm doing. So I think for us, it's about helping people hold. Multiple emotions, as opposed to allowing one of the feelings, mostly the unpleasant ones to have power over everything.

Jeremy: [00:13:22] Right. Right. 

Zach: [00:13:23] So you mentioned, you know, teachers in your last comment and you know, today is my daughter's first day of school, remote learning. And there's a whole lot of feelings around that, that we've been processing for weeks now. And I, you know, I've heard you talk in the past about integrating emotional intelligence into the classroom and, and that's difficult to do in traditional settings.

And now we are where we are, where everyone's remote learning. And a lot of that. Integration of, uh, of emotional intelligence is falling on the parents because it's really difficult to do over, uh, remote learning. Obviously I'm asking really for myself, you know, what 

Marc Brackett: [00:14:08] for the therapy piece, just so you know, 

Zach: [00:14:12] but, uh, what can we do as parents to, to help integrate the emotional intelligence in this scenario where all the kids are learning remotely?

Marc Brackett: [00:14:21] Well, a few things. I think, you know, one of my friends, who's a principal of a school in Harlem, New York show. He says, it's the people who make the school, not the building. And I really appreciate that mindset because, you know, I have a team of 60 and we've been able to interact. You know on zoom. I mean, we don't love it.

It's not my ideal. Although I really like doing these podcasts and presentations from my home, instead of traveling out to the East coast or West coast or wherever it is, it's a lot of wear and tear on your body. So there are benefits to online, you know, interactions, um, and tools, you know, like the mood meter, which is you've seen because it's at the heart of my book.

Um, it's the opening two pages with the colors and the words, um, There's no reason why you can't do a mood meter check in with your class, you know, through, you know, remote learning and people are doing it all the time. And you know, in many ways it allows you to check individually with students, you know, depending on their age to help them with their feelings.

So it can be advantageous because in a traditional class, you can't, it's hard to do that. Um, I think for parents using tools like the mood meter are just really helpful, um, periodically, you know, with rituals. So like in the morning we're getting ready for school. So let's just check in. I think the harder part for that is that the adults, right?

Meaning the parents have to be willing to be open, authentic with their kids. I think a lot of parents right now are hiding their true feelings because they're afraid that they're going to scare their kids by their own, you know, overwhelming anxiety. And what I'd love to see happen is parents, you know, daddy's a bit anxious today.

Um, I'm a little worried about this and I'm a little bit with that, but here's how I'm going to help myself manage my feelings. And I'm saying to myself, we've got an amazing family. We have a healthy breakfast, you know, X, Y, Z. And, um, so you're modeling that. The sharing of unpleasant emotions is not a bad thing or a scary thing.

And you're modeling that, um, you have helpful strategies to support you and managing those feelings. That's that's the ultimate. Cool. 

Jeremy: [00:16:33] I'm curious as the developer of the ruler method that is in thousands of schools across the country. That's not something that most parents are equipped to teach. And so that is something that's, that's gone online.

So if you don't mind, just kind of briefly revisit what ruler is then also I've heard there's one speaker locally in particular that that talks about, uh, racial equity equity in schools a lot. And, um, they have concerns about teaching, particularly social behavior in school. Can you talk a little bit about how.

Ruler is implemented and how, I guess fair equitably it is, it is applied or, or where sort of that research lands. 

Marc Brackett: [00:17:20] Yeah, of course. I think it's a really important point because I think that in the wrong hands, you know, like for example, some people think that social-emotional learning is about controlling the underserved population.

Right, right. Like none of us have ever written that in any of our papers and nor do we think it, um, it's the opposite because what this work is about is helping people find the strategies that work best for them to support them in achieving well-being and good relationships and helping them achieve their dreams.

It's not for me to tell anybody what they should be doing to regulate my job is to help. The child explore what works best for them based on their religion, based on their context, based on all kinds of things that are, you know, about that child, not about me. So I think that's the hard part for this work, in that, you know, we're used to teaching math and it's very kind of.

Straightforward and science is pretty straightforward, but social, emotional learning is more complex because we have biases. You know, like for example, I think everybody should do, you know, hot power yoga because I like it. Right. You know, but like, What the heck is up with that. Like, that's, I've had the privilege of learning that and liking it and I'll never do it again because who the heck nowadays wants to go into a hot run?

You know, that was my, that was my past favorite strategy, but I got learn a new one cause I ain't doing that one anymore. Um, but my point really is that we have all these biases that we're not aware of because we live in a culture that just programs us subconsciously. Um, and we, those come out or can come out in the classroom, whether it be my, or something that my, but other people's, or people's in general, implicit bias around reading emotion, right.

That we have a stereotype in our nation, you know, that people of a certain color of a certain gender, right. They're more likely to express anger. And so we'll look for that anger. In that phase and we'll project anger in that facial expression when it's not anger, um, in psychology, you know, in among children who are, who come from very, um, uh, abusive backgrounds, it's called a hostile attribution bias, you know, where we, you know, You know, saw daddy and mommy, like making a lot of angry faces as a kid and, you know, being mean and cruel.

And we then internalize that. And then we kind of look are vigilant and just thinking that people are expressing that that's just one example. Um, I think we also need to think through, so ruler right. Is recognizing emotions in myself and others. So when I'm reading your facial expressions right now, right?

I don't want to make assumptions. Right. The only way to really know how someone is feeling is to ask them. We are, um, we've been tricked by TV shows and other things that like, it's just easy to pick people's or read people's expressions. It's not as easy as people think understanding emotions is like, all right, well, do I know why you're feeling the way you are like Jeremy, Zach?

Do I know what's, you know, what's going on in your brain, around your frustration or your anxiety? Cause I don't know the reason. You know, for your anxiety, it's going to be hard for me to help you manage it. Right. If I'm anxious about an upcoming test, it's really different than if I'm anxious about what I'm going to get beat up on my way to school.

Right. And so you got to know the real, underlying reason for it, and then labeling it as it is. Is it anxiety or is it overwhelmed or is it fear? Um, and then there's the expression of emotion that Ian ruler and I think here is where other aspects of equity really, um, Are important to consider it because as a white privileged guy, right?

I have the permission to express my anger in ways that maybe a black male doesn't. And so, you know, kids who are black and being raised, you know, in, by parents who are concerned about their health and safety, right? Our programming, you know, you can express this, be careful here. That's a lot of. Extra weight, you know, put on our BiPAP community, um, that I don't have.

And so that's not only forcing me to live that poor child is having to live in like a dual existence. Um, And having to self monitor in a different way than I would have to self monitor. So that that's, that's a structural thing that we have to deal with. Like what do we need to do in terms of shifting, you know, the mindsets of our nation around who has the privilege, right.

To express emotions. And then regulation, as I said, is a tough one because a lot of people think of emotional regulation as self-control. It's one piece of it. Right, right. Like, yes, I'm trying to, you know, I put on my COVID five, um, I'm pissed at myself for like, you know, I thought I was going to be having a better exercise routine and eat healthier.

I mean, of my mother-in-law has been here and she's like from Panama and she likes to have salt and rice every night and beans and beef. I'm like, what am I doing in my life? But I'm eating it. That's what I'm doing. Cause it tastes good. 

Jeremy: [00:22:42] Yeah. Absolutely. 

Marc Brackett: [00:22:44] She's back in Panama thankfully after six months. Um, 

Jeremy: [00:22:47] and what are you going to do?

I mean, you know, your 

Marc Brackett: [00:22:51] beef and rice, like what are you going to expect? Um, 

Zach: [00:22:54] I want to shift gears just a little bit and kind of talk about, you know, are you mentioned, you mentioned the COVID five. I would have loved the COVID five higher than that myself, but, um, yeah, you know, the it's a. It's an interesting time that we're living in and before COVID right.

Well, health and wellbeing right. Was, was people thought of it. But now I think it's, it's more important than ever that, that we think about those things, but how, how, how our emotions and especially unprocessed emotions, um, how are they having like a physical. Impact on our bodies. And have, have you seen any data on this in the last six months or even, you know, has it changed dramatically?

Marc Brackett: [00:23:43] Well, for sure, I mean, we know pre COVID, right? That there was a lot of anxiety and despair and depression in our nation. Some studies show that there's as much as an eight fold increase in anxiety. Wow. And I think for people like it's very important to distinguish. You know, the good stress from the bad stress.

So, you know, I put myself under a lot of pressure because I really am trying to be creative during these difficult times. I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone and I'm trying to, um, you know, really make ruler even better than it was. Um, and. I liked that kind of pressure that makes me creative. That makes me a information gatherer.

It makes me more collaborative actually, cause I want to hear other people's opinions, but then there's that, you know, acute stress, the chronic stress and the toxic stress, the stress that makes you not want to get out of bed in the morning, the stress that makes you feel like what's life's purpose. Kind of experienced the stress that makes you ruminate throughout the day, about your finances, about your health and about your safety.

That's the stress that really takes its toll on our physical and mental health, you know, from. Our immune system being compromised because when we have, you know, periodic releases of cortisol is what keeps us safe, right. It's like, okay, I got to protect myself. I got to, you know, jump out of there, away of this car.

Um, but when your body and brain. Are in constant fight or flight or freeze mode, your body responds differently. And it responds in a way that thinks it's going to be short-term, but it's really long-term. And those chemicals are responsible for breaking down proteins in our bodies, affecting the way we process information, affecting insulin levels, which then affect our cravings for more unhealthy kinds of foods.

And so. To me, honestly, it's our moral obligation to ensure that people don't stay in that chronic toxic stress place, because it literally is a public health phenomenon. It is killing people, you know, and, um, there are ways to support people, even, um, people in the most dire circumstances can learn strategies to support them and just.

Decreasing, you know, that vigilance, you know, in that kind of activation, 

Zach: [00:26:18] I know my way of supporting people over the last six months has actually been giving copies of your book. 

Marc Brackett: [00:26:25] Um, that's very sweet 

Zach: [00:26:27] in the 

Marc Brackett: [00:26:28] last six months, 

Zach: [00:26:30] it is quickly become the most gifted book that, um, that I give out. 

Marc Brackett: [00:26:35] I can get a deal.

Jeremy: [00:26:36] Exactly. Exactly. 

Zach: [00:26:37] Yeah. People have been asking me left and right. Because I had mentioned that we talked to you last year and, um, a lot of people at work, a lot of friends have come up to me and I don't really have a question as part of this, but yeah, I just wanted to let you know that people have been asking 

Marc Brackett: [00:26:53] that's all right.

I prefer you to talk, keep talking about that. 

Zach: [00:26:55] Yeah. Th th you know, they, they, you know, what, what should I do? I'm really stressed out. I'm really anxious and I've been giving them your book, and there's been a lot of really great feedback. And that just reinforces my. My opinion that since I read it last year, it really has become one of my favorite books.

Thank you. You know, personally, and on my it's part of my toolkit, 

Marc Brackett: [00:27:15] I really appreciate that. And, you know, even for me, you know, I wrote the book, but like, you know, our brains are weird and we forget things that we write. Cause it's like you're under so much pressure to putting everything in, you know, in one book.

And I'm like, whenever people like ask me a question, like, it seems better to read the book because I can't remember, you know, it's just like, Ugh, Um, and I always say, actually, it's, you don't really know what, you know, until you can get it all out in writing, because like, even when people ask questions about stress and the cortisol levels and, you know, the HPA axis, it's complicated, you know, and it's hard to remember all the details, you know, of the hypothalamus and et cetera.

Sure. And in the end, I don't really think that that's that important to understand, like, what are your brand? I think people are overly. Impressed by like this area of the brain lights up. Um, I think it's more about like, how does my everyday life and how does, how I feel and how does, how I manage my feelings, you know, affect my life.

Yeah. That's the more important thing 

Jeremy: [00:28:22] talking about the physical manifestation of unprocessed emotions on our bodies. Um, I've, there's sort of two prongs here. One is I've noticed that. Yeah, when Zach and I started the show, not long before that I was a much heavier fellow than I am now. And the more, the more sort of inner work I did, the more weight I lost and the healthier I got, I S I still feel like there's work to do on the inside.

And it's, it's interesting because there's still some work to do on the outside. So 

Marc Brackett: [00:28:55] I guess always going to be work to do so, just get over it. 

Jeremy: [00:28:57] Right. But I guess I'm curious. How, how our body can tell us how we're doing with managing our emotions and our feelings. Can we, can we get on the, on the scale and go, okay, I've got 20 pounds to lose.

That's a symbol that I'm, there's something inside that that needs work is that 

Marc Brackett: [00:29:16] I'm too far starts with early habits. Okay. You know, I feel very blessed. I was a very traumatized kid. As you know, from reading my book, I had, you know, abuse, I had terrible bullying, you know, I had familial challenges, but the one thing that like my father did right, was he dropped me off at the karate studio.

And I was blessed that this teacher was actually a pretty good guy and, um, ended up being actually a wacko, but that's a whole other story. Because I got very good at the martial art and they became threatened by me. Wow. Um, cause I want them to move on to like go to a study with someone else. So I was like, yeah, we know you don't know what you don't know.

Right. And then you're like, I got to be pretty, I got my black belt and then I'm like, I went to a tournament like, Oh my goodness. Like that too, which is amazing. And that's when you know, no, really it was a very interesting exercise and loyalty and emotion, emotional intelligence when, as I reflect on that, because.

Anyway. And my point about that divergence story is that, although I'm my automatic tendency in the morning, it'd be like, Mark, you need more rest, stay in bed and just do nothing. Right. I have this urge to move and exercise, and I think we have to learn how to build those habits as early as possible in our life.

Because emotion management and health management is a life's journey. And it's easier when you start these habits early on. Right. So yes, you know, and also by the way, related to the inner work, I feel like, I mean, I've had so many years of therapy and I spent 25 years of my life now as an emotion scientist and writing things and researching things and curriculum development, trauma to done.

At least 10,000 presentations. And then I'm like, no, I stayed in my mother-in-law.

I'm like, you know, like my partner, like we're like, when are you leaving? Um, because like, I can't deal with this. I need like, I need some space now. I'm like alone for the last few days. I'm like, Oh my God, I'm so depressed. I'm lonely. And so like, my point really is that it's like, this is life's work.

Unlike math, I've won enough math to get through my life. You know, I can count my change. I can balance my checkbook. Right. Um, I'm okay there, you know, do I, did I do. I think I failed calculus in high school, but like, I haven't had any need for it, so I'm all right with it. But if you want to have kids, if you want to be in a relationship, if you want to work in the world, you need these skills and you can't really get away anymore without having them.

And a pandemic can make you, you know, can just turn you upside down because, you know, I know I never worked from home in my life and I don't, I used to work in coffee shops and run around and, and now I'm like in my house all the time and it was hard for a couple months, you know, like being sedentary, not being with my team, being with my family all day, it made me crazy.

And so that was a whole new era. Of learning and trying to apply everything that I've learned about healthy emotion regulation to like now, and it's taken a while to, to get it right. And in five years it'll be something else. You know, it'll be the loss of someone I care for, or it will be a new position or whatever it might be.

You just, that's why it's like an attitude piece that we have to have around emotional intelligence. Not like I've got it, but you know, I'm a work in progress and I'm in learning mode. Right. All the time. 

Zach: [00:33:15] I struggled with that when, uh, we went remote. I'm very good at reading other people's emotions in person.

I can read body language. That sounds maybe a little woo, but I can read the energy in the room and 

Marc Brackett: [00:33:28] I, yeah. 

Jeremy: [00:33:29] Yeah, I'm just, yeah, 

Zach: [00:33:32] I'm generally good at 

Marc Brackett: [00:33:33] it. And it was studied to read about that, but then 

Zach: [00:33:36] I don't, I don't know what it is and I could never, you know, I could never write down what it is that I recognize, but when, since going remote, you know, I, I lost a lot of that.

I couldn't read people as well as I used to be able to. And I was really upset for a good couple of months that I was losing my edge or. You know, it wasn't able to be as effective as possible. And it took it about two months before I realized that, wait a minute, wait a minute. This is an opportunity for me to get better.

Um, at recognizing, um, my own emotions, other people's emotions in a totally different way. That's probably going to be really normal going forward. 

Marc Brackett: [00:34:15] Makes sense. That's great. I mean, that's the kind of self-awareness we want to have, you know, everywhere. You know, recognizing, well, I'm not really sure about this, or I'm not really sure how people are feeling going back to school.

It's why teachers can't just look at these facial expressions and say, Oh, everybody's fine. You really got to check in. 

Zach: [00:34:34] Yeah. Yeah. 

Jeremy: [00:34:35] I had a, a clash with my own emotions recently that I talked about on the show. And I'm just, I'm kind of curious if this is what you mean when you talk about how unprocessed emotions, uh, have a way of presenting themselves for you to manage.

And the short version is that basically I kept having these random flashbacks of painful childhood memories, where I was alone and crying and just really just terribly upset. And, and they were just random, like just completely out of nowhere. And I hadn't thought about these things in 20 years. And one night I was sitting with my kid in her room and just helping her get to sleep.

And she's laying there snuggling with a little doll that we got on a trip recently. And I just decided to take that moment and go, I'm going to just, just meditate on these, these memories and why they keep coming up. And as I was holding kind of her hand and feeling that doll flashback to the trip that we were on, that was just before COVID, before everything locked down.

And I just, all of these dots connected in this, in this kind of strange light tunnel where I. I connected that so much of the fear and anxiety and stress that I'm, that I'm feeling now, but maybe not really aware of, it's just sort of, this undercurrent are tied to that same childhood feeling of fear and not being safe and, and being alone.

Um, and it was strangely healing, like just being able to sort of recognize. Okay. That's, that's the message. My body's trying to tell me is, is that in line with what you say about unprocessed emotions? Sort of forcing you to deal with them. Eventually

Marc Brackett: [00:36:12] we're going to do a whole nother session on this. Um, I think it's partly that I just think that, you know, our emotions are triggered by our senses, you know, and that may be a sight smell, touch, you know, cognitive memory. Yeah. Um, but I think what's beautiful about what you shared is that, you know, you gave yourself the permission to just go there.

You know, you didn't be like, that's bad. I don't want to regress or transgress. Right. You were like, I'm going to meditate on this. I want to reflect on this. Yeah. And treat it as an experience. Right. Not as something that has power over who you are as a dad and, you know, makes you have to feel bad about yourself.

Right. And that's, that's the distancing, that's an, you know, an important strategy actually, which is called psychological distancing, you know, where you can distance yourself from the experience and not allow the experience to just like take over, but learn from it. You know, like I, I have a similar similarly in my here, you know, all of them control issues, which are, you know, according to my family, like they can write volumes on them.

Um, have, have come out during this crisis. And so if I feel like I, should, I yell at everybody else about what they're eating, right. If I feel lazy, it's like, Oh, you don't want to exercise anymore. Yeah. It's like, I just project on to everything, you know? And I'm just, I'm even aware of it when I'm doing it.

I'm like I can come on. You're the director of the center for freaking emotional, do this. You can do like, and then I just like, I can do it some nights. And so you got to give yourself the permission to fail too. And. And you got to give yourself the permission to apologize. And you got to give yourself the permission to forgive when other people make mistakes, because this is hard stuff.

And it's like, why? You know, there's actually a good research on this when people who they did a study, where people who have grudges versus people who, um, Forgave. And they asked him literally jump in the air after they wrote the grudge letter or the forgiveness letter and the forgiveness people like jumped like six inches higher than the, on average than that.

And so like literally writing about forgiveness, like just makes you lighter. 

Jeremy: [00:38:32] That's insane. 

Marc Brackett: [00:38:34] Yeah. So you don't there's, you know, there are, you know, physical, interesting benefits to these two too. Not being so self-critical and having much greater self-compassion. 

Zach: [00:38:46] Yeah. So I just took away from that, that I'm going to write a forgiveness letter right before my workout.

So I can get a little extra in there. 

Marc Brackett: [00:38:53] There you go. 

Jeremy: [00:38:55] Uh, so I, 

Marc Brackett: [00:38:56] I wanted Dunkin donuts afterwards. 

Jeremy: [00:38:57] Yeah. Right. 

Marc Brackett: [00:38:59] You don't have the way you guys are in the West coast, right? I on the East coast or you are okay. 

Zach: [00:39:03] I am, I, I. Used to love Dunkin donuts. I dropped a whole bunch of weight a long time ago, and I, I used to get, uh, an extra large coffee with extra sugar and extra creamer with a French vanilla shot.

And I had that every morning 

Marc Brackett: [00:39:19] and a glass or a muffin. 

Zach: [00:39:22] Yeah, I experimented when we moved back to the East coast, I went and ordered one. And took one sip and I almost threw up. It was, I can't 

Jeremy: [00:39:30] even imagine 

Zach: [00:39:31] sugary. I couldn't, I couldn't stand it, but I don't go to Dunkin anymore. Except for just coffee with cream.

There you go. 

Jeremy: [00:39:38] There you go. 

Marc Brackett: [00:39:39] You've elevated your coffee experience. Yes, they have to, by the way, um, I'm a, I'm a Seattle coffee person. 

Jeremy: [00:39:48] Oh, there you go. Yeah. So that's I, that's where I am. I'm in Seattle. 

Marc Brackett: [00:39:53] I know. Well, Victrola is where, what am I? 

Jeremy: [00:39:55] Oh yes. Very nice. That's good. That's the stuff right there. 

Marc Brackett: [00:39:58] I don't mess around.

Jeremy: [00:40:00] Um, before we, before we let you go, there's one question that I neglected to ask you when we talked to you a year ago and, um, one wanted the, to run it by you and just sort of helping us differentiate between. Thoughts and feelings, because I think that it's easy to confuse them when, when it's all flying through your body at the same time, 

Marc Brackett: [00:40:19] probably the easiest way to think about it is like hot versus cold information.

Right. And emotion happens when there's a shift in your environment. You know, a car comes at you rapidly, someone says something mean or cruel to you and your body goes into a response to that shift. And it has some kind of personal significance and it may relate to your survival to approach or avoid kind of a situation.

Whereas thoughts just don't have that phenomenon associated with it. You know, you're just, it's a memory and like, I, it's a different area of your brain in many ways that's being that's operating. Yeah. So thoughts are cold cognitive things around just general information. The way, I like to think about it as the people's homes is what you need, emotional intelligence, everywhere you go.

I'm like, well sort of, but the way you like to think about it is you're on the beach. You're sitting around having your peanut Kolata, you know, if you like those, they have a lot of calories by the way, 

Zach: [00:41:23] they do 

Marc Brackett: [00:41:24] having your diet Coke and rum, uh, sounds disgusting. But anyway, uh, you're in, you're just, you know, chilling out.

You're reflecting on life. You're reading a book. Right. You're in this kind of like simple generative cognitive place. And then somebody kicks the sand in your face and it's like, that's the emotion, right? The emotion is, is that shift because of, of, of, um, of a stimulus, right? That produces neurochemicals.

And it's associated with your thinking because emotions drive, where we spend our attention. Right. So we start being vigilant about where what's my safety route. Um, they motivate behavior. They say, I got a fight, I got a flight. So I hope that's helpful. 

Jeremy: [00:42:13] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Well, it's fascinating stuff.

You're you're uh, You don't need us to tell you you're a brilliant guy. And I know you've heard that a lot in, uh, particularly the last year. What would you say to someone who's sort of just, just, uh, being exposed to this kind of, uh, thinking this, this way of approaching our feelings. What's, what's sort of the takeaway that people should, should 

Marc Brackett: [00:42:33] get.

Great question, Jeremy. Um, I think step one is you've got to give yourself the permission to feel. Step two is see emotions as information like their data. It's telling me something that I needed to learn from and listen to the third is, you know, be that scientist about emotions, not the judge, right. Be in learner mode, not Noah mode.

Be curious, not critical. The fourth is that the Z there are skills. R U L E R. You got to learn them. You got to relearn them. You gotta keep learning them. You gotta practice them. You gotta refine them. You're gonna make mistakes. Um, and that's all. Okay. And then I would say that we don't live in a vacuum.

We live in the world around us and, you know, spread that information to everybody. You know, you know, your kids, your colleagues, your parents, your dogs. Um, however, um, because I don't think this is not a set of skills. That is about an individual. They're not about an individual they're about communities.

Just lastly, what I'll say as a kid, you know, when I was suffering so much, my parents did do something right. Which was, they put me in therapy, but then I saw this therapist once a week and we played ping pong and we chatted. And then I went back to a home that was, you know, with an angry father and an anxious mother.

And I went back to school where teachers weren't reading my facial expressions or body language and. You know, I was failing as a student. I was bullied horrifically. So, you know, giving me the one little, the one little kid, this little treatment, but not, and everybody else not learning the skills and practicing the skills is not as helpful.

So that's why I'm on a mission, right. To create an emotion revolution. And I'm honored and delighted that you guys are. I think you're actually like I've gone from like being on the bus to maybe you're like gonna be. Part-time bus drivers of my bus. 

Jeremy: [00:44:32] Oh, we're trying, we're definitely trying to, there's so many valuable lessons in your book.

It's it's powerful work and stuff that I wish my parents had. Right. 

Marc Brackett: [00:44:42] They can change too. By the way, as you saw my book, my father is 78, had a major wake up call about his feelings and it changed his relationship with his wife forever. Yeah. So don't give up.

Jeremy: [00:45:00] All right. That's Dr. Marc Brackett. He is the research psychologist and founding director of the Yale center for emotional intelligence and professor in the child study center at Yale university. So sharp dude knows what he's talking about a lot more than we do. Uh, that's why we love having them on. And especially, you know, this just like I said, at the beginning of the show, this dovetails off of what we were talking about last week, just the, the anxiety on overload I've spent the last couple of days, just feeling generally on edge.

There's just so much, um, with just trying to keep it all together with school, with work, with, you know, wherever you come down on the, on the election, that's coming up, everyone's really feeling anxious about that. There's just, there's just a lot going on in the world. So I know for me, it always helps when I hear someone like him saying, yeah, everyone feels this way.

It's normal. You and everyone else. So I don't know. Maybe, maybe that's maybe that's just me, but I don't think so. I think generally when I can normalize a situation because other people are experiencing it, it helps me. 

Zach: [00:46:00] Yeah. No, my, my big takeaway from that was, you know, he is. Incredibly educated and smart in the area of emotional intelligence.

And he made a couple of comments about how he missed signs of his emotions. Um, right. So even somebody, um, as high as him in this, in this field, he makes mistakes. Right? So it 


me it's okay. 

Jeremy: [00:46:26] I love hearing it. I love hearing people who who know. As much as there is to know about whatever it is and hearing that they also struggle because that, again comes back to the, the core mission of what we do here is just to normalize, to share in the struggle of what this experience is for everybody.

And that, again, it just, it just makes it easier to digest when things are tough or when I fall down to get back up and keep trying. 

Zach: [00:46:53] Yeah. It's it's so. Easy to know what to do. It's so hard to actually do it. 

Jeremy: [00:47:00] And you know, it's great having had this conversation, us talking more about this on the show is we've now switched to a weekly format.

The last couple of days, like I said, this anxiety I've been carrying around. I've it's been more top of mind to take a minute, take a beat and just go, what is that? Where's that coming from? And even just going, okay. You just, you're just generally anxious, even if I don't have time to dig and go, why where's it coming from just seeing it.

And like he says, naming it to tame. It totally works because I saw it and I went okay, you're anxious. You're allowed to feel that way. The world's in chaos right now. It's okay. And then it just, it just lifts and you can get through the next minute, hour, day, whatever it is. But that, that one moment of just taking a breath and going, what am I feeling again?

Just opens up the door to, to healing it and moving forward. 

Zach: [00:47:56] Yep. Well, 

Jeremy: [00:47:58] we're gonna start wrapping things up here before we get out of here. We want to mention a couple of things. One we want to thank our sponsor, the athletic brewing company, uh, throughout the recording of this episode, I've been enjoying the run wild, uh, non alcoholic non-alcoholic IPA.

I think of, of what I've sampled. I think this is my favorite. This has become my go-to. The run wild. That's it again? Non alcoholic tastes like an IPA. I don't miss the alcohol. I don't miss the hangover. I can drink a beer with no regrets. I can drink a beer. It's it's the perfect work from home beer. It's uh, it's been really nice to have these in the fridge.

So thank you to athletic brewing company for sponsoring us. 

Zach: [00:48:33] Yeah. And yes, it's, it's almost October and they have an 

Jeremy: [00:48:37] October Fest as well. You've sampled this. I have not tell me more about this October Fest. Cause I, I, this is a, I believe three years sober for me. So it's been a long time since an October Fest has crossed my lips.

Zach: [00:48:49] It took me by surprise because I was getting so used to, um, the IPA, which I really enjoy as well, but it was so delicious. It just reminded me of, you know, all the times that we went up to a cabin during October Fest and actually had October Fest type beers. Yeah. It, it, it brought back all of those memories.

So it was, it was, it was absolutely delicious. And, uh, I'm sad right now because I drank the last cold one a few hours ago and I was hoping to have one. While we recorded, but I forgot to put one in the fridge. 

Jeremy: [00:49:21] You ruined it. I 

Zach: [00:49:23] did ruined it. 

Jeremy: [00:49:24] Um, as long as we're talking about making money and supporting the show, uh, you can help support the show by visiting our brand new merchandise store.

We just set it up a couple of days ago and, uh, The, the shirts and the mugs and the hats and the whatnot are flying off the shelves. So get them while they're hot. Uh, there's a link on our website, look for the little coffee mug, click there by till your heart's content. And that's a great way to support the show and help spread the word because people will see you walking around with, with our logo on it.

And they'll say, Hey, what's that all about? And you'll tell them all about us and it's a great way to help spread the word and grow our little show. So we really appreciate your support there. And speaking of supporting the show, uh, look for a brand new episode next week. Again, we've switched to a weekly format and next week I think we touched on this on a show that actually got posted several weeks ago, but Zach you've been experimenting with the NAD treatments.

Zach: [00:50:13] Yeah. On our next episode, we're going to be interviewing Dr. Polynese, who was kind enough to. Inject me full of NAD a few times. And we also have a second guest. Who's going to be coming on a gentleman named John Tubbs who got NAD as well, but he has had a multitude of health issues and he's talking about his experience and how much NAD helped him.

So we actually have two guests next show. 

Jeremy: [00:50:39] And I think it's going to be really interesting to hear sort of the, the comparison between your experience as a perfectly healthy person undergoing this treatment and somebody who has been on death's door. And been offered this and to see sort of the impact that's had on, on both of your lives.

And like you said, we'll talk to Dr. Polynese, who initiated the treatment, both of you, uh, about what any NAD is, how it's beneficial and how it could help you we'll get into all of that. On the next episode, it will be available on Wednesday until then. Thanks so much for listening and make sure you subscribe on whatever podcast player you use.

We look forward to speaking with you again next 

Zach: [00:51:13] See everyone. 

Jeremy: [00:51:14] We know this podcast is amazing and does not seem to lack anything, 

but we do need a legal disclaimer, 

Jeremy and Zach are not doctors. 

They do not play them on the internet. And 

even if they 

did play them on the internet, 

that would be really bad at it.

Please consult your physician prior to 

implementing any changes that you heard on this podcast. The lotion assumes that Jeremy and Zach do not know what they are talking about and that you will 

do your own research on the topics talked about on this podcast.


Dr. Marc BrackettProfile Photo

Dr. Marc Brackett

Founding Director at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Marc A. Brackett is a research psychologist and the Founding Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University.