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A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in mid 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

The 52:52:52 project, launching on this site and on social media in mid 2024, will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

This site addresses what's changing, at the personal, organisational and societal levels. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 elements of life, from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and much more besides, which will help you better prepare for related change in your own life.

What's Changing? - Emotions



Please see below selected recent emotions-related change.


See also:


February 2024

  • For The School of Life, an unexpected and troublesome feature of being human is that we feel so much more than we spontaneously realise we feel. There are emotions coursing through us that lie just outside the sphere of ordinary consciousness, and which elude us as we rush through the challenges of our lives. These emotions lie low in part because they are often too shocking, sad or contrary to expectations for us to want to make sense of them. We might hate where we are supposed to love; or may feel sad where we are meant to be practical - and so, out of timidity and fear, we omit to register our authentic reality.
  • The School of Life also believes that a way to think about those of us who suffer from difficult psychological symptoms - low self-esteem, panic attacks, depression - is that we are, in certain ways, the victims of an arrested emotional education. There were particular lessons - about sanity, hope or self-love - that we were denied and missed out on along the way, and whose absence explains our present difficulties. Traumas take us out of "emotional school" and cut us off from themes essential to sound emotional growth.
  • Lisa Feldman Barrett, in How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, argued that, by consciously re-examining the predictions and beliefs entrained by our past experience and culture, we can take charge of our own emotional experience. Barrett examines how the theory of constructed emotion can help recalibrate everything from mental health care to the criminal justice system, revolutionising our very understanding of human nature along the way.


December 2023

  • A sense of ‘detachment’ – feeling cut off from the emotional reality of a situation – is something many experience from time to time, but in certain, acute cases, the feeling is constant. The chronically-detached experience life at one remove. In most cases, detachment is not a defect or affliction; it’s something we’ve cultivated. Detachment functions as a defence mechanism. Those who’ve suffered, especially at an early age, have had to grow masters of the art of non-feeling. With the memory of past trauma still lingering, we learn to shut down our faculties and deaden our emotional receptors to avoid going through anything similar in the future. 
  • For The School of Life, the most curious and hazardous feature of the way we’re built lies in the difficulty we have registering what we actually feel. Our minds get filled with thoughts that go unsifted and with feelings we don’t have the courage to look at. We might be angry or sad while lacking any active awareness that we are so. Or guilty or envious without any grasp of what is at play. And we remain unconscious because we are resistant to ideas that threaten our sense of calm, our self-image and our gratifying illusions about ourselves. 


October 2023

  • According to The School of Life, an unexpected and troublesome feature of being human is that we feel so much more than we spontaneously realise we feel. There are emotions coursing through us - of anger or joy, resentment or fear - that lie just outside the sphere of ordinary consciousness, and which elude us as we rush through the challenges of our lives.


July 2023

  • The School of Life noted that it’s easy to assume that we are - in our natures and outlooks - solid. but then, with time, we tend to meet with a more troubling, peculiar reality: we are in fact substantially made out of water, which means that we are viscous, forever in flow, constantly changing, slippery and susceptible to ongoing ebbs and flows. We project an impression of stability – and then routinely have to contradict it. We swear we'll never forget someone; and then somehow, we do. We know we'll never get over a loss; and then somehow, we manage. We are, therefore, unavoidably creatures of mood who dare to mistake themselves for people of conviction.
  • When a body decomposes, the materials left behind become part of humus, the organic component of soil, the component that comes specifically from decayed matter. It’s dark, crumbly and rich with nutrients, earthworms love it and water filters through it easily. When humus is present in soil, that soil can more easily support life. Equally, according to Kelsey Day, writing in Psyche, when we break down emotionally, and when we let go of locked-up feelings, this makes space for newness. We become "emotional humus", a collection of fragments, materials that are both released and left behind, taken and given, changed back into more potential.


June 2023

  • Big Think noted that many people are more open than ever to discuss their emotions, largely due to the growth in self-help literature and efforts to destigmatise therapy. However, this openness has also resulted in certain misconceptions about emotions, which neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett has tried to to clarify. Barrett contends that emotions are primarily based on past experiences and the brain’s predictions of future events. This would mean that emotions aren’t merely reactions thrust upon us, but something we actively participate in creating.
  • The ability to move from an emotional state to a rational one is known as “emotion regulation.” When we don’t learn how to regulate our emotions, we end up wrestling emotion regulation’s twin, “emotion dysregulation”. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can serve as barriers to developing emotion regulation skills.
  • Gallup’s annual Global Emotions Report, which measures people’s positive and negative experiences worldwide, found that positive emotions recovered in 2022. More people felt well-rested, experienced enjoyment, and smiled or laughed the previous day than in 2021. At the same time, the global rise in unhappiness stalled, with negative emotions remaining at the record high set in 2021. Gallup also tries to measure the world's "emotional Temperature", against a range of metrics, including anger, sadness and stress,


May 2023

  • Scientists until recently avoided the emotions as too subjective, too imprecisely defined. Yet once evolution and neuroscience supported the link of emotion to action, emotions began to gain more attention from scientists. In his book The Strange Order of Things (2018), Antonio Damasio defined the affects and emotions as ‘action programmes’, and by this he connected emotions to homeostasis, the process by which we keep ourselves alive. 


April 2023


March 2023

  • The WISER (watch - interpret - select - engage - reflect) model recognises that emotionally-charged situations can arise in us without warning and that our coping strategies are often reflexive but ill-advised for the situation at hand, so we should instead slow down and watch, interpret, select, engage, and reflect on more appropriate responses.
  • More than we are inclined to accept or even realise, we are creatures of mood: that is, our sense of our value is prone to extraordinary fluctuation. At times, we know how to tolerate ourselves, the future seems benevolent, we can bear who we are in the eyes of others and we can forgive ourselves for the errors of the past. Then, at other points, the mood dips and we lament most of what we’ve ever done, we see ourselves as natural targets for contempt, we feel undeserving, guilty, weak and headed for retribution and disaster. We cannot, it appears, ever prevent our moods from being subject to change, but what is open to us all is to learn how to manage the change more effectively.
  • There is a tendency in literature on emotion to focus on brief emotional episodes, such as  "Sarah is angry about Tim’s behaviour". Much of the scientific literature also emphasises emotional episodes and the components they incorporate. In a 2005 article, the psychologist Klaus Scherer describes an emotion as ‘an episode of interrelated, synchronised changes’ elicited by a significant stimulus. Episodic emotions tend to be distinguished from moods, which last longer and are also less specifically focused - while we might be momentarily angry about something in particular, a lingering bad mood envelops a wider situation.
  • However, for Psyche, neither of these categories accommodates the experience of something ‘sinking in’. It does not consist of a brief episode, a sequence of discrete episodes, or an enduring mood. Rather, it is a temporally extended process, which is often experienced as a process - it can feel as though something is still sinking in, or hasn’t yet sunk in. By reflecting on this process, we can gain important insights into the nature of human emotional experience, which serve to challenge certain established ways of thinking about emotion.


January 2023


December 2022

  • Psyche argued that, in the right amounts, emotions serve a useful purpose: they provide us with information, influence our decisions, and compel us to act. For example, if you experience fear when you’re walking alone at night and you hear footsteps nearby, your brain automatically mobilises you to get ready to run in case there’s danger, or if you’re being treated in an unfair way, anger will motivate you to make changes so that people treat you more fairly. Nonetheless, emotions can be painful and distressing. When they arise, we try to manage and cope with them. This process is known as emotion regulation, and can include redirecting our attention away from whatever is causing us distress; changing our thoughts about the situation; or changing how we’re behaving in the situation. Emotion regulation doesn’t and shouldn’t make our emotions disappear altogether, but it helps us calm them, so they’re more manageable.


November 2022


May 2022


April 2022


December 2021

  • Can we imagine how others are feeling at any given time? We Feel Fine tried to do this, by harvesting "human feelings" from a large number of blogs. Every few minutes, the system searched the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling". When it found such a phrase, it recorded the full sentence, up to the period, and identified the "feeling" expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.).As blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author could often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written.
  • The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a project by graphic designer and filmmaker John Koenig (including a blog and YouTube channel) has a simple premise: it identifies emotional states without names, and offers both a poetic term and a philosopher’s attempt at precise definition. Whether these words actually enter the language almost seems beside the point, argued Open Culture, but so many of them seem badly needed, and perfectly crafted for their purpose.
  • leading thinker argued that humans are wired to deal with immediate emergencies and to optimise the likelihood of procreation and that because of this, our brains, emotions and instincts can be "fooled".