Would You Eat Off a Clean Nappy?!
How our brains construct our emotional responses.
A recent study* on spending habits reports that ‘stress buying’ is costing each of us around £1,250,
US $1,630, AUS $2,100, per year. * Moneysupermarket.com Oct’17
The study shares that stressed, bored or sad people are more likely to make impulse purchases they later regret. This sounds like many of us looking for a momentary quick hit to make us feel a lot better.
How much of this stress response is negatively impacting us and those around us at work?
Could this money be saved by being better able to understand and then manage our emotions?
A new book by Lisa Feldman Barrett, a psychologist at Northeastern University in Boston, USA, ‘How Emotions Are Made’, challenges the theory, stemming from Darwin, that our emotions are distinctly recognisable, in practise our brains construct our experience of them depending on the circumstances. In her book, featured in a recent BBC article, Barrett uses the example of serving food, completely out of context at her daughters ‘gross out’ party, including smearing baby food on a clean nappy, many of the children actually gagged when contemplating eating the food.
Peanut butter or poo?!
An extreme example but one that shows we can all misinterpret our feelings with profound consequences: ”a rushing heart beat could be interpreted as fun and excitement on a rollercoaster, or acute anxiety if you are giving the speech at a wedding. Or it might simply signal that you’ve drunk too much coffee, but physiologically, there may not be much of difference.’’ Barratt recommends and suggests ways of being more closely in-tune with our emotions to enable better management of them.
HSE research has found that stress accounts for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health. Work pressure is not going to go away, it is what we all experience every day at work. How can we help ourselves manage our emotional response to these pressures?
People often think that their response to stress is out of their control, it’s what happens to them: life, work, other people etc, however much of it is in our control.
As Barratt suggests by being more in-tune with our emotional response – we can better recognise what happens to us and then have the choice of how we respond.
72% of our clients say that CS has changed their life, with 81% saying they have the power to change their workplace – shifting the mind-set of powerlessness.
We underestimate the power that we hold within us to affect how we feel – to not feel anxious or stressed.
Here are some tips that can really make a difference:
Keep your power. Create a filter around you, not to cut people out, but to ensure that any negative mood or energy from others does not affect you. You decide how you are affected.
Avoid creating drama. Drama (making a mountain out of a molehill, over-reacting), is the greatest creator of anxiety and stress in our experience. Drama is addictive, very negative and a complete waste of time and energy!
Stop being a Martyr (going for the sympathy vote). Not only is this a negative energy to hold, it destroys your confidence too and passes that negative energy to others. Stop making it about you and move your focus to the constructive and positive.