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Psychology Today

How to Utilize Emotional Pain to Leverage Emotional Power

New research shows how the brain can learn to harness emotions.


  • Emotional hygiene is a much-neglected, yet much-needed, component to our overall health.
  • Emotions are a social contagion. We can learn to channel emotional energy to leverage its power.
  • The measure of our leadership is who we become in the face of emotional resistance.

In the medical community, it is well-accepted that physical hygiene, proper nutrition, and exercise are fundamental for good health. Exploring the mind-body connection, however, offers a deeper look at what is missing from the discussion of health improvement: emotional hygiene. Our bodies oftentimes manifest illness, propelled by unprocessed emotions that cause unhealthy stressors that can lead to a physical malady.

Through the recent public discourse, we are witnessing unprecedented collective trauma being played out across the world, in the form of political disparities, violence, catastrophic disasters, war, and rage. The accompanying emotions appear to be running rampant through all social strata. Social media adds to the complexity of the human experience, undermining our mental health and upending our lives as we keep running on the hamster wheel of despair.

Utilizing Emotional Pain to Leverage Emotional Power

But there is good news, too. Emotions are a social contagion, an energy that we can learn to channel. Julia DiGangi, neuropsychologist and author of the recent release, Energy Rising: The Neuroscience of Leading with Emotional Power published by Harvard Business Review Press, offers us hope that we can indeed utilize our emotional pain to leverage our emotional power.


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