Paul Ekman: Outsmart Evolution and Master Your Emotions

Renowned psychologist and emotion-guru Paul Ekman describes how introducing conscious awareness to facial expressions can help one override and control their emotions.

Renowned psychologist and emotion-guru Paul Ekman describes how introducing conscious awareness to facial expressions can help one override and control their emotions.


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What's the Big Idea?
As Ekman points out, the face is not simply a display system that tells you what's happening inside.  "I can self-generate any emotion by making movements on my face," he says. Happiness, it turns out, is one of the most difficult emotions to generate. A smile alone won't do it.  As Ekman points out, only about 10 percent of the population is able to activate the muscles around the eyes that are required for self-generating happiness. 
Nonetheless, Ekman argues, the most important takeaway is to recognize and be aware of the role of emotions in your decision-making. "It's a system that evolved to deal with really important things without your thinking about it," he says. So it takes true mindfulness to outsmart this system. 
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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