Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Predicting Emotional Responses

Envisage finding yourself in the local gym. You discover there are new treadmills and bikes, so you organise one to use. The heart-rate monitor is attached and the machine’s started, but nothing registers. You ask the person next to you if theirs is working; apparently none of the heart-rate monitors are working on these new machines.

So you decide to report the fault to management.

Trouble is you don’t hear anything back. At one level you feel vindicated that at least you’ve done your bit. But something strange happens; a sense of rage bubbles up from within you because you took the time to report it but nobody cared enough to get back to you.

Emotional responses surprise us; whether it’s from within ourselves or others.

Responses of Others

The sort of gut reaction that we can identify with above occurs for others too. We do something, or something else occurs for them, and that brings out an emotional response that probably surprises them as much as it does us.

It’s embarrassing (for both) because of this surprise element. We didn’t know it meant so much, but obviously it does.

The reason this occurs is life’s changing all the time. We’re all placed in different circumstances continually, so the threat of being caught out emotionally is going to remain a fact of life. Besides, there are certain things that will always tend to tick us off.

Personal Responses to Interpersonal Situations

When we consider the emotional response implicit of the gym situation — their lack of response facilitating our response to react furiously — we readily see that such responses, whilst they’re understandable, are not helpful.

Emotional responses, generally, are not helpful. But they do highlight what is important to us.

If people transgress us, for example, we find it hard to reconcile any other response than vengeance. Again, though, this is not helpful. Society expects us to respond better.

Engaging the Higher Mind

The best corrective to emotive reactions is the higher mind. This is the ability to pause in the moment, thinking of appropriate responses, before a flash of action takes over.

Given that our world often requires us to react quickly, there is both the temptation, and the pressure, to be instinctive.

Engaging the higher mind is finding the ability to detach the emotions and look with reason and objectivity. This can only be done when we pause and actually forego our split-second reaction.

This is important when dealing with others, for emotional reactions exacerbate tense situations. It’s most important also for ourselves, because we fly off to emotive states, also, in a flash.

Engaging the higher mind is, of itself, predicting emotional responses — and it’s catering for them.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: Business Coaching Blog.

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