What a cactus taught me about prickly emotions
So i'm a sports and performance psychologist which means i get to work with a lot of people like athletes military professionals in top government agencies. His career in safety depend on peak performance. And all never forget this one story. A soldier told me about his time serving in iraq. It was around early. Two thousands when the united states had military operations in both iraq and afghanistan. Enduring this time. Many locals were encouraged to come forward and share information about potential threats. So one day. This iraqi man approaches the game of the us outpost to share intelligence about a possible threat but instead of being treated like an ally he was met with hostility by the soldier. Who's debriefing him. But that's likely because just days earlier soldiers from another unit were killed in a surprise attack and so as the interview continued so did the soldiers irritation and as a result. The iraqi became frustrated in the end. Tempers were flaring so high that the interview was cut short in the following day. Two separate units were hit by roadside bombs. we'll never know for sure. The attacks could have been stopped. Heavy interview gone differently. But the reason why. I'm telling you this story is because it's an excellent example of a super common problem that keeps so many of us from performing at our best. It's how wilbur regulate emotions which is one of the most common drivers of a good and bad performance and it turns out how well you're able to regulate your emotions depends on how susceptible you are to a principle called emotional contagion. It's just like it sounds. It's how quickly you can catch the emotions of other people and then take them on your own. The problem is though most of us are highly susceptible to other people's emotions which means even the smallest factor can impact how we perform at work on the field and even at home but lucky for us. We can learn how to avoid other people's emotions by becoming better at regulating our own. So here's how i like to think about this. I remember seeing a giant teddy bear looking trump for the very first time hiking in arizona in because it looks soft i reached out to touch it but by the time my hand was close. Enough the spines on the branches jumped in print me literally. My hand was covered in every time. I tried to remove one little sucker would break off in a burrow deeper into my skin in this plant. It has the perfect name. It's called the jumping choya and it left a lasting impression figuratively literally so much so that when i teach people how to regulate their emotions and avoid cashing the emotions of other people i refer to the jumping choi effect and over the years. I have concluded that the jumping toya's are just like people they can be pricks in. If you're not careful they can deepen to your skin so to understand how this happens in real life. I think it's helpful to know what emotions actually are. And there's two popular theories about where emotions come from. The first theory is called cognitive appraisal which basically says that the experience of emotion is actually you evaluating if your current situation aligns with your goals are expectations. So let's say you're on your way home to share some exciting news with your significant other. You walk through the door you find them sitting on the couch but instead of a hello or how was your day. They leave the room without saying a word now. That's not how you expected your to go. Which could lead to the emotion of feeling annoyed. Does that make sense. The other series called physiological perception. Which is all about the emotions be subconsciously. Assigned to the physical changes in our body. Public speaking is a great way to understand this. How perfect right. Usually right. Before i speak. I get butterflies in my stomach now. If i had seen physical feeling. The last time. I spoke in public in a speech went well. I may interpret that situation or that sensation as the emotion of excitement. But let's just say. I bombed my last speech. I may now interpret that butterfly feeling as nervousness or fear basically we overlay our physiological perception from our past experiences onto our current situation. And what's interesting. Is that both of these. Theories also play into how we assess the emotions of other people because the part of the brain processes emotion and memory. The limbic system is considered to be an open loop system. It influenced by any external factor. Think about it. Have you ever passed by someone and without saying a word you can feel how annoyed how excited they are and then maybe you felt annoyed or excited to. It's an interesting concept to think about because our brains are hard-wired to pick up. These settled jews in our environment. Which makes it possible for the other person's emotions to jump in attached to you but what many people don't realize is that every human being is affected by our open loop system. Many people at work or many people on the same team inevitably catch feelings for one another sharing everything from jealousy to envy and worry to joy.