Emotions …..a strong and powerful force that sometimes get the better of us!? Agreed? Positive and negative emotions can lead us to lose focus and control and to respond in ways which we wish we hadn’t. In this area our evolutionary history is stacked against us. The oldest part of our brain, the amygdala, which regulates our emotional responses can easily take control. Our emotional response to the stress we are under in the work place can be very personalised. For some it’s anger, grumpiness (that ones me!), fear, or a whole range of others .
Did you know that simply by smiling you can change how you feel? Malcolm Gladwell (author of ‘Blink’ and ‘Tipping Point’ …among others) describes how contagious emotions are. He shows that if someone smiles, we smile back, even if only fleetingly.
He goes on to say that experiments have shown that merely the act of smiling can influence positively how we feel inside. In an experiment that Gladwell describes the researchers took two groups of volunteers and had one group call to mind a stressful experience that caused them sadness, anger or fear and had a second group merely make the facial expressions of these emotions without recalling anything. They discovered that the physiological responses in both groups were the same! Merely making a sad face had the same impact physiologically as actually recalling a sad event! The same is true of recalling a happy event and simply smiling. So when you’re feeling sad, or angry, or frustrated literally ‘put on a happy face’ and the science says you will feel happier!
Emotions work from the outside in – as well as the inside out
Stay in charge, stay in control!