Category: emotion

Primary Pain vs Secondary Pain

By Christian Staal

Psychologists distinguish between two types of pain:

  • Primary pain relates to a specific event (e.g. worrying about a job interview)
  • Secondary pain is emotional gasoline thrown into the fire (e.g. being sad/angry/worried about being worried)

Secondary pain accounts for more misery than primary pain. You can reduce secondary pain by accepting – rather than fighting – primary pain (one way to train this is meditation).

What do you carry? (Puzzle.blog)
The Upside of Your Dark Side (book) by Robert Biswas-Diener and Todd Kashdan

The Peak-End Rule

By Christian Staal

Think of one of your most cherished memories. What do you think determines how you remember it today? You would think that your memory of the experience is determined by how good you felt, and for how long. However, research shows that the duration of an experience is mostly neglected when we think about our past.

Two things influence how you remember an experience: how you felt at the emotional peak of the experience, and how you felt at the end. 

The riddle of experience vs. memory (TED Talk) by Daniel Kahneman
Thinking, Fast and Slow (book) by Daniel Kahneman

Feeling overwhelmed? Try this.

By Christian Staal

What do you when you’re feeling overwhelmed? My favourite answer to this question comes from Jocko Willink (former Navy SEAL Commander): “Prioritize and execute.”

It’s as simple as that. Make a list, get clear on what’s most important, and executive on your priorities.

Tribe of Mentors (book) by Tim Ferriss, p. 539.

How do you make people feel?

By Christian Staal

People are emotional creatures. When you’re having a discussion, creating a piece of art or helping someone you love, be mindful of your emotional impact on your fellow human beings. As Maya Angelou said: people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. 


How to Win Friends and Influence People (book) by Dale Carnegie.

Origin of the Maya Angelou quote (quoteinvestigator.com).

The Power of Vulnerability

By Christian Staal

There’s nothing worse than a bragging person. If you want to connect with people, it’s more effective to share your struggles. Trying to make yourself look good, makes you look bad. This is true when it comes to writing, public speaking and conversations. Don’t be perfect, be vulnerable.


The Power of Vulnerability (TED Talk) by Brene Brown

Emotions are contagious

By Christian Staal

When you see a happy person, some of the neurons in your brain react, as if you are experiencing happiness yourself. These are called mirror neurons, because they mirror the emotions of people around you. This is why yawning is contagious – as are feelings such as anger, joy and motivation. Who you spend your time with, influences who you become.

Mirror neuron (Wikipedia)

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