Embracing Anxiety with Karla McLaren

Karla McLaren is a social science researcher and award-winning author of Embracing Anxiety: How to Access the Genius of This Vital Emotion and The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You. Karla is a pioneer in the study of empathy whose trailblazing approaches and unifying theory of emotions – including the Dynamic Emotional Integration and Six Essential Aspects of Empathy – open new pathways to self-awareness, communication, and empathy.  In addition to her research on empathy, Karla is also the CEO and Founder of Emotion Dynamics and developer of the Empathy Academy online learning community.

Karla joins me today to discuss the genius that comes with emotions, the lessons they try to teach us, and how to work with them. She explores how we can embrace anxiety and illustrates how we can treat it as our friend instead of a problem. She discusses the 17 emotions and the four families they belong to and explains how the belief that there are positive and negative emotions impact our emotional skills. She also shares mindfulness practices to work with emotions, such as conscious complaining and resourcing, and describes society’s tendency to “veilance” emotions.

“Anxiety is the emotion that helps you complete your tasks and get things done. It has a lot of energy and a lot of work to do.” – Karla McLaren

This week on The School for Good Living Podcast:

  • Emotions as skills for survival
  • Karla’s beginnings in emotion research and how childhood abuse can turn-up empathy
  • What emotions are, why we have them, and their role in humanity’s survival
  • Why the idea that there are only four emotions hampers people’s emotional skills
  • The anger family of emotions and how it helps a person to work with boundaries
  • Emotions related to the sadness family and what it means to have suicidal urges
  • What the emotions of the fear family teach us about intuition and instinct
  • What it means to “unveilance” emotions
  • The definition of fundamental attribution error and how to channel emotions
  • Accessing and working the intelligence and genius behind emotions
  • How anxiety works with other emotions and why they feel so negative
  • The difference between task-oriented and deadline oriented-people
  • The backlash effect of positive affirmations on people with lower self-esteem
  • The art of conscious complaining and resourcing
  • Karla’s writing process, routines, habits, and the biggest influences on her writing

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Karla McLaren:

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