#30: What Happens When You Have an Emotion

#30: What Happens When You Have an Emotion

Today, Marielle and Ed unpack what happens in the body and mind when an emotion occurs. There’s actually a lot going on!  If you are sensitive to or are confused by your emotions, it can be helpful to have an understanding of the different components that make up an emotional experience.

DBT’s Model for Describing Emotions breaks down emotions into ten parts: the prompting event, awareness, interpretation, vulnerability factors, biological changes, nervous system changes, expressions, actions, emotion names, and after-effects. This episode explores all these parts as well as skills to intervene at different points during the emotional experience.

Show Highlights:

  • The prompting event can be internal or external
  • Attention, or awareness of, the prompting event is required to have a response
  • Distraction skills divert attention away from the prompting event
  • Painful emotions can be the result of how we interpret an event
  • The work of changing the emotion is often in the interpretation of the prompting event
  • Check the Facts helps with challenging interpretations of the promoting event
  • Vulnerability factors are things in the recent or distant past that make you more vulnerable to having a distressing emotion
  • Present-day events may trigger painful memories
  • Knowing your own story is important so you can know what your unique sensitive spots are
  • The nervous system response to emotions
  • Awareness of bodily changes is an important part of learning to regulate your emotions
  • Shifting from living in your head to connecting with your body
  • Emotions have action urges
  • Expressions accompany emotions
  • Naming your emotion can bring down its intensity
  • Strong emotions have after-effects
  • Emotions love themselves
  • You may have an emotion about an emotion

Links & Resources

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

Ask us a Question

We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here. 

Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.