October 20, 2009
Interview with David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long 
David Rock, author of the book Your Brain at Work , has looked closely at the latest brain research.
And if there’s something negative going on, you are likely to focus on it over and over. Now how do you shift that? What you’ve got to do is find the reward to focus on. And this is what the brain does, it’s classifying everything into reward or stress. And everything we do is to minimize danger or maximize reward. And so if you’re obsessing about something that’s a danger, you’ve got to find something to obsess about, in a sense, that’s a potential reward.
How your brain processes emotion is really interesting.
If you ask people what they do to manage emotions they say, “Well I just try to suppress them and not feel them”. Well, actually that makes emotions worse,. We see in the lab that when you try to suppress an emotion, the whole limbic system stays the same or gets worse. And that’s not so good because the more active your limbic system is, the less resources you have for conscious thinking.
And typically if you ask people to describe or label their emotions…
They say, “Well I don’t want to do that because I want to stay away from my emotions.” Actually that makes them better, if you can describe what you’re feeling but not in a lot of words, just in one or two words, maybe a little symbolically. What it does is it actually reduces the threat quite significantly. Even if you don’t intend to, it’s an automatic function - it turns on your brain's braking system.