"Permission To Feel" at YAA Assembly 2019

One of the most remarked-upon sessions at the YAA Assembly this year, organized as a presentation interlaced with interactive segments, was entitled "Permission To Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions," led by Marc Brackett. Brackett, who recently published a book under the same title, serves as Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor at the Yale Child Study Center.

Brackett is a lively, humorous speaker, yet the content of his talk evinced substantial scientific and sociological merit. Dr. Brackett suggested that roughly 80% of success in the modern world can be attributed to skills related to emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, Brackett explained, includes abilities such as self- and other-awareness and self- and other-regulation.

Lacking emotional intelligence, by contrast, is correlated with feelings of depression and anxiety. Depression is currently the most common basis for disability in America. Anxiety, meanwhile, is reported by 60% of Yale students, according to Brackett. Social media, unsurprisingly, exacerbate both conditions.

Brackett prompted the audience to guess the most common feeling Yale students exhibit or express. Many listeners proposed variations on "stress" and "overwhelm," but it turns out that envy was truly at the root of most students' feelings. Comparing oneself to others and weighing one's own accomplishments against others' successes seems to worsen feelings of stress and anxiety and to contribute to underdeveloped emotional intelligence.

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