Emotions are essential to all logical decision making. Years ago it was commonly accepted that our brain had a reasonable side and an emotional side. The thought was that we controlled our emotions with reason. So how can we handle our emotions and still make high level decisions?
It’s the last week of the quarter and sales numbers are not where they should be according to the goals set by corporate. The regional office is buzzing with activity as all associates are trying to close that last deal to make those corporate goals. There’s electricity in the air that you can almost feel as everyone is digging in to find missed opportunities.
All the sudden a hush falls over the office as raised voices began rumbling through the closed door corner office. Everyone can hear the undistinguishable vocabulary between their sales manager and the boss who reports to corporate. Voices rise louder as the conversation gets more heated and electricity in the air pops with anger. Heads in the rest of the office stay down and conversations muffle. There’s a raised eyebrow or two at the coffee bar. Everyone silently acknowledges that tension is high and the story being told in corner office isn’t good. Angry words are dispersed again like gunfire and then the anticipated door opening and slamming as the red-faced sales manager storms to his office and slams his door, not appearing for the rest of the day.
If you’ve ever worked with more than a few people in an office setting, this scene is probably one you’ve experienced. You might agree that this anger filled environment is not the best in order to make those last sales happen for the quarter.
So how do you have emotions and use them to your advantage for decision making?
New research has shown that without emotion, higher level problem solving doesn’t happen very well. Over 30 years of research by Drs. John Gottman and Robert Leverman have revealed that having a “sense of the matter” is very important in problem resolution.
So why do so many people shy away or even shut down their emotion? Could it be that we were taught as children to ignore our emotions and BEHAVE? Or could it be that when we’re emotional we feel out of control? Therefore shutting down our feelings seems to be the easiest and best option for not feeling out of control.
Emotion is a natural and spontaneous reaction to events. A person perceives an event in a particular way (according to their world view and experience) and this leads to
Responses to Emotion – which works in your favor?
- The emotion is allowed to “amp up” and become destructive behavior (angry boss & sales manager)
- It’s deemed invalid, so is completely ignored and shut down
- Dealt with in a healthy and productive way ****** WINNER !!!!!!!
#3 is the best option of course. You see, emotions are neither Good nor Bad – they just ARE!
It’s the thoughts that produce the emotion and the reactions to them that get us to destructive behaviors. Just because you’re angry doesn’t mean you have to verbally or physically beat up those you work or share a home with. That may be the course of action you choose but there are other options, other ways to react or handle the emotion.
Ways to Handle Anger:
- Do something physical to discharge the negative energy (i.e. work out, take a run, clean out the garage, etc.) All these have a more positive effect than taking it out on your family, co-workers or anybody.
- Listen to some music or podcast that helps you refocus, calm and self soothe
- Write out what you’re feeling and thinking so you can review later.
Option 3 can be particularly helpful because many times there are things going on inside that we don’t even know are happening. In writing about our anger or frustration and reviewing when that particular motion isn’t raging, there are often “aha” moments into why you reacted the way you did. Why that particular situation caused the emotion of anger in the first place.
Emotions can also rule our lives if we let them. By understanding that emotions and how we react to them are two separate things, then we can make a choice to behave differently.
HOW We Let Emotions RULE US!
- Thinking over and over again about negative situations and keeping negative emotions stirred up
- Letting someone else shame us into not allowing healthy emotions in our lives (shutting down all emotions)
- Allowing multiple emotions like fear, anger, hurt and shame make us bitter. Or sadness and shame to show up as depression.
Finally, emotions are interconnected. Shutting down painful (anger, hurt, sadness….) ones means we’re shutting down pleasant emotions too (joyful, happy, energetic, proud….).
What emotions are you not allowing in your life?
Since shutting down the hard/negative ones also shuts down the good ones, what are you missing in your life?
By not allowing these emotions, how is this negatively effecting the rest of your life?