Every thought and reaction is effectively monitored and coordinated through your emotional system and it appears to me that the more aware you become of your emotional system, the more it has the power to change your life. In fact, it is this knowledge that is quite literally the key to the door of your inner contentment.
Remarkably, all anyone has to do is to learn how to read the unmistakable promptings of the emotional system and respond to them appropriately. Through using this system effectively you can begin to experience what it feels like to be truly in tune with your world and to be in a greater position of awareness and control.
How could it be, that something so powerful and simple has been ignored or more accurately, misunderstood for so long? Your amazing emotional system is ever present in your life and it talks to you (metaphorically speaking) second to second, minute to minute, hour by hour, day by day and week to week. It is always consistently providing you with an insight into how you think about a situation and when in a healthy state relays and interprets what is constantly going on around you.
Before I go any further, I think it would also be prudent to ask what the primary function of your emotional system is? Well to keep it simple, the major function of the emotional system is to keep you happy and healthy. The fact that we as a species has survived to this point in time, is in no doubt, due in large part to the creation and evolution of the emotional system and our ability to recognise various emotions and then selecting an appropriate behavioural response. I think our emotional system is also primarily designed to keep us safe and the progression, development and health of our species have depended on this function since the dawn of time.
The intention of this article is to simplify the way your emotional system works and most importantly to give you an advantage into how to more effectively control your own emotional system. At the most basic of levels of functionality we can all understand and relate to the “fight, flight or freeze” experiences that we are occasionally confronted with but what about the myriad of emotional responses that we experience every day that are not that terrifying or sufficiently frightening to elicit that response. This is where is becomes more interesting because even though all of us experience an incredible range of emotions in our lifetime, ostensibly, I think most emotions can be grouped into two basic categories. Yes, just two basic categories which make it much easier for you to interpret the emotion behind the stimulus and sometimes the underlying message. The two “emotional” categories are “warning” emotions and “rewarding” emotions. Now the simple logic behind this is that if you are experiencing a “warning” emotion, it is because your emotional system perceives the situation as threatening in some way and accordingly is giving you a wakeup call so that you can become aware of the threat and respond to it appropriately.
From a leadership or personal mastery perspective, the whole point about an unpleasant, warning emotional response is to highlight, a potential flaw in your self-leadership skills (in this case, maybe one of your thinking patterns) and to assist you to identify a better strategy that would eliminate or ameliorate the feeling of being “out of control” which most of us do not enjoy. The “rewarding” emotional response is in actuality, the “thumbs up” or things are going “OK” message and so keep going… enjoy the ride! The rationale is that I believe that the vast majority of human beings are intelligent and can actually choose between warning and rewarding emotional states and the length of time the experience lasts.
We actually have that choice although it seems too many people fail to realise this fundamental fact and allow situations and the environment to dictate their emotional system response rather than putting themselves in the driver’s seat and taking control of the experience.
So what best describes you… driver or passenger?
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