Below you'll notice a long post that will be of little consequence to the average reader. Truthfully, as I read this chapter I found the information enlightening and would be happy to discuss any of this, but if I hadn't written it I don't think I'd read it. (That's some debilitating self-talk, which is one of my specialties)
So I haven't been neglecting my blogotory duties out of any malicious intent or sloth but have simply been busy with other priorities like school, studying and trying to work enough hours to ensure the most basic of Mr. Maslow's ascribed needs are provided for my family this month.
Enjoy the outline.
I. How can we define emotions?
A. Physiological Factors: measurable bodily changes
i. If someone feels fear they may experience a rise in blood pressure, increased adrenaline secretions, elevated blood sugar, slow digestion, etc.
B. Nonverbal Reactions: observable changes
i. Blushing, sweating, facial expression, posture, vocal tone, etc.
ii. Not always caused by emotions. Research has found that specific nonverbal reactions can created physiological changes.
C. Cognitive Interpretations: the mind plays a crucial role in determining emotional states.
i. The physiological reactions to many emotions are similar so we give certain symptoms a label at a given time.
1. Elevated heart rate in a romantic situation means attraction
2. Elevated heart rate resulting from being robbed means fear
ii. Exaggerated or inaccurate attributions of emotion may be problematic
1. If I feel nervous speaking publicly I may say, “I feel a bit shaky but that’s to be expected.”
2. I may also say, “I feel nervous. I’m a nervous person.”
3. Attributions of physiological symptoms can have lasting consequences.
D. Verbal Expression: there are times when one can’t rely on perceptiveness to understand emotions.
i. Verbalizing helps to clarify intensity of feelings
ii. May also clear up misconceptions due to a person’s overuse of specific words
1. If chocolate chip cookies are “fantastic” then how does it feel to fall in love?
iii. Inability to talk about emotions constructively can lead to problems
1. Social isolation
2. Unsatisfying relationships
3. Feelings of anxiety and depression
4. Misdirected aggression
E. Influences on Emotional Expression: most people prefer not to express their emotions
1. Extroverts report more positive feelings in everyday life
2. Introverts report more negative feelings in everyday life
1. Our responses to situations are influenced by our surroundings and traditions.
2. Americans say “I love you” more frequently and to more people than other cultures.
1. Women tend to be more “in-tune” with emotions than men by 10-15%
2. Emotional sensitivity governed by several factors
a. Whether communicating with same or different sex
b. Power balance in the conversation – less powerful person is better at reading powerful person than vice versa
iv. Social Conventions
1. Unwritten social rules govern our emotional expression
a. Salespeople smile at obnoxious customers
b. Students are rewarded for being submissive and respectful
v. Fear of Self-Disclosure
1. Revealing emotions can be scary, especially when bucking social conventions
vi. Emotional Contagion: the process by which emotions are transferred from one person to another.
1. We “catch” each other’s emotions like some social virus
F. Guidelines for Expressing Emotions: Learn to express emotions constructively
i. Recognize your feelings
1. Being aware of and identifying one’s emotions allows one to learn to manage those emotions
ii. Recognize the difference between feeling, talking and acting
1. Understanding the difference between having feelings and acting them out can help one to express oneself constructively in tough situations
G. Expand your emotional vocabulary
i. Expand your emotional vocabulary by:
1. Using a single word “I’m angry”
2. Describe what’s happening to you “my stomach is tied in knots”
3. Describing what you’d like to do “I want to run away and hide”
H. Share Multiple Feelings
i. Despite the commonness of mixed emotions we often express only one – the negative one
I. Consider When and Where to Express Your Feelings
i. It may be worth waiting until you’ve processed your feelings and rehearsed your response
ii. You may choose never to express certain feelings
J. Accept Responsibility For Your Feelings
i. Instead of “you hurt my feelings” say “I feel hurt when you do that”
K. Be Mindful of the Communication Channel
i. Email, face-to-face, text messaging, blogging, etc.
ii. The channel used to communicate makes a difference in how others interpret our message, especially in communicating emotion.
II. Managing Difficult Emotions
A. Facilitative and Debilitative Emotions
i. Facilitative emotions lead to effective functioning
ii. Debilitative emotions detract from effective functioning
iii. One difference between the two is intensity
1. A certain amount of anger can be constructive
2. Rage usually makes matters worse
B. Sources of Debilitative Emotions
2. Involuntary responses
ii. Emotional Memory
1. Seemingly harmless events can trigger debilitative feelings if they bear even a slight resemblance to troubling experiences from the past
a. Example: Ever since being teased when he moved to a new elementary school, Trent has been uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations
1. What we tell ourselves about interpersonal exchanges directly influences what they mean to us
2. Rumination: dwelling persistently on negative thoughts that, in turn, intensify negative feelings.
C. Irrational Thinking and Debilitative Emotions
i. The fallacy of perfection: the belief that a worthwhile communicator should be able to handle every situation with complete confidence and skill
ii. The fallacy of approval: it is vital to get the approval of virtually every person
iii. The fallacy of shoulds: the inability to distinguish between what is and what should be.
iv. The fallacy of overgeneralization:
1. The first type happens when we base a belief on a limited amount of evidence
2. The second type happens when we exaggerate shortcomings
v. The fallacy of causation: based on the irrational belief that emotions are caused by others rather than by one’s own self-talk
vi. The fallacy of helplessness: satisfaction in life is determined by forces beyond your control
vii. The fallacy of catastrophic expectations: if something bad can possibly happen, it will.
D. Minimizing Debilitative Emotions
i. Monitor your emotional reactions: recognize when you’re feeling debilitative emotions
ii. Note the activating event: figure out what event triggered your response
iii. Record your self-talk: analyze the thoughts that link the activating event and your feeling
iv. Dispute your irrational beliefs: this is the key to success in the rational-emotive approach