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Cultivating Wisdom: The Power Of Mood

Lisa Feldman Barrett | 21:30


So I want you to come on a little journey with me right now. I want you to imagine that you are a soldier in wartime patrolling the forest with your squad, and then suddenly up ahead. You hear rustling in the bush. You scan around you and then it hits you with horror. You see them a long line of fighters, gorilla fighters dressed in camouflage and carrying machine guns instinctively.

You raise your rifle, you flip off the safety catch, and you point it at the leader. Who is carrying an AK 47? This is actually a true story that was told to me by a man who was drafted against his will into the Rhodesian army before the fall of apartheid. Before he was drafted, he was an attorney who defended gorilla fighters in court, and now to his utter astonishment and dism.

He was preparing to kill them. He focused in on his target finger on trigger, and then he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. Don't shoot. Whispered one of his squad members. It's just a boy. Our friend lowered his rifle and took another look. , it was a boy, maybe 10 or 11 years old, carrying not a rifle, but a long stick and trailing behind him was a long line of cows.

I'm a psychologist and a neuroscientist, and in my lab we study why people have these surprising visual experiences. And here is the secret. What you see is influenced by how you feel, your mood influences what you see, your vision, what you hear you're hearing. And every sense that you have smell and taste and touch, not just in the heat of war, but every day of your life.

And this discovery of the power of mood just demolishes common sense and it actually holds serious implications for how we live our. Now, when I say mood, I am not talking about emotion like anger and sadness and fear. Mood is more basic. It's just a simple accounting of how you're doing. So maybe you're hungry right now.

Maybe you had a terrific dinner before you came to the show, so you're feeling pretty comfortable. Maybe you are feeling. Very awake because you had a great night's sleep. You slept like a baby, and maybe you were kept up all night by a baby. So you're feeling pretty tired. Maybe you're sitting next to someone who you care about and you feel really comfortable with.

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