acknowledge what is going on, giving no voice to our feelings. And if a strong emotion is activated against our will, we hold it in until we can’t take it any longer, raging in traffic, insulting our spouses and making our colleagues wrong whenever we get the chance. If we’re really good at swallowing our reactions, then we only take them out on ourselves, leaving us angry, sick and dead at an early age.
The good news is that we can reteach our brains to feel. Since brain circuits are shaped by life experiences, it is never too late to change and grow. We can train the brain to “fire up” and widen the neurotransmitters in the emotional centers through exploring our emotional patterns and triggers, releasing “stuck” emotions in our brains and bodies, practicing new interpersonal skills and pursuing specific physical, mental and spiritual pursuits described in the Chapter 4 under the section titled, “Choice.”
Does this mean we all have to run around expressing our feelings? A team leader in my class told me he was afraid of turning his meetings into sensitivity groups. I told him that the point is not to share what we are feeling for the sake of expression, but to improve problem-solving, to enhance creativity and to resolve interpersonal conflicts so we can work better together.
The skill to strive for is not managing your emotions,
but rather choosing among possible reactions
to the emotions that naturally exist.
Talking about our emotional states and feelings may be un-comfortable, but the discussions lead to greater results. For example, people find they don’t need to argue points endlessly and instead choose to talk about finding new ways to present ideas that honor instead of squelch innovation. Power struggles de-crease. Meetings make more sense.
One of the exercises I do when I teach is to pair people up and have one person recount the events of the morning or previous weekend. Every ten seconds, they are given a differentDownload Article 1K Club