How Putting Feelings into Words Reduces Our Emotional Experiences: Understanding Mechanisms of Affect Labeling
The act of putting feelings into words, or ‘affect labeling’, can attenuate our negative
experiences. Unlike explicit emotion regulation techniques, affect labeling may not even feel like a regulatory process as it occurs. Nevertheless, research investigating affect labeling has found it produces a pattern of effects similar to those seen during explicit emotion regulation, suggesting affect labeling is a form of implicit emotion regulation. However, the mechanisms driving the processes behind affect labeling remain poorly understood and, despite rising interest in converting affect labeling paradigms into clinical interventions, many questions remain about the best way to implement affect labeling in a laboratory setting. This dissertation is the culmination of research that addresses several open questions about affect labeling and suggests improvements for the paradigm moving forward.