Episode 10 Holiday Emotions | The Feelings Lab

Published on Dec 14, 2021

Join our recurring hosts Dr. Alan Cowen, Dr. Dacher Keltner, and Matt Forte as they welcome special guest, Emmy-nominated storyteller, filmmaker, and futurist Jason Silva, creator of “Shots of Awe” on Youtube.

Being together is, well...complicated. This holiday season, tuck into this very special episode of The Feelings lab where we discuss the warm, minty emotions of the holiday season. The holidays stretch our sense of time, evoke the deep sacred of now, fill us with nostalgia, joy, and wonder, and, if we're lucky, make us cry. Learn how the seasoned rhythm of the holiday season sits upon our seasonal biology like a sack full of Christmas surprises.

In this clip, futurist Jason Silva explains his mixed feelings associated with the holiday season, specifically the celebration of the New Year. It evokes in him a bittersweet nostalgia that amplifies the passage of time.

Chief Scientific Advisor Dr. Dacher Keltner explains the science of tearing up, while Jason Silva expounds upon the catharsis tears offer us in metabolizing grief.

Emotion scientist Alan Cowen describes "nostalgia" as similar to visiting your childhood home in your own brain. It is an emotion with parallels to aesthetic appreciation, entrancement, or awe, but in the broader map of human emotion, Cowen asserts that nostalgia lies upon "an island of its own."

Next, Alan Cowen explains that the special emotions we associate with the holidays "sit on top" of something very primal in our biology: a seasonal rhythm that kicks in when we participate in long-held rituals, particularly those that involve our huddling together in warmth with our well-earned food preserves.

Futurist Jason Silva suggests that the holidays encourage reflection even for those not typically prone to deep contemplation.

All this and more can be found in our full episode, available on Apple and Spotify

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