Do you assume that most of us react to life events in just about the same way there is a grieving process, a sequence of events when we fall in love, a standard response to being jilted? But these assumptions are not true. Actually, people having a similar background, also respond differently to the same experiences. Why does one person recover quickly from divorce, while another remains mired in self-recrimination or despair? Why does a driver calmly react to a minor scratch made by a passing bike, whereas another, gets out in a murderous rage and start beating the rider?
The Theory of Emotional Style explains it. Its a constellation of reactions and copying responses that differ in kind, intensity and duration, Just like each person has a unique finger print and face, each of us has a unique emotional profile. The latest researches in this field have revealed that Emotional Style of a person arises partly from activity in regions involved in cognition, reason, and logical functions in the brain. Neuro-Science has determined that the limbic system deep in the brain, including the Amygdala and Hippocampus seemed to be the brain’s source of emotions like Anger, Fear, Anxiety and also positive emotions. The frontal Cortex, just behind the forehead, is the exalted thinker, of our brain, from where forethought and judgment, reason and volition, attention and cognition come from. Extensive researches have now found that people with greater activation on the left side of the prefrontal cortex recovered much more quickly even from the strongest feelings of disgust, anger and fear. It has been further established that, in such people their prefrontal cortex sends inhibitory signals to the Amygdala, instructing it to quiet down. Activity in the left prefrontal cortex of brain actually shortens the period of Amygdala activation, allowing the brain to bounce back from an upsetting experience. Hence, it is now established that it is possible to transform your emotional-Style which controls your feelings, through systematic mental practice.
METHODS TO BOOST RESILIENCE
Self Awareness activities, ranging from Meditation to Cognitive –Behaviour Therapy, can help you develop a broader awareness of social signals ,a deeper sensitivity to your own feelings and bodily sensations ,a more consistently positive outlook, and a greater capacity for Resilience.
Do you feel yourself to be too negative in your outlook? Pay heightened attention to the ways in which you can be more generous and upbeat, ie; “Well-Being Therapy.” It is good to practice observing your thoughts ,feelings and sensations nonjudgmental, moment to moment, called ’Mindfulness Meditation,” which is one of the most effective tools for changing our Emotional Style.
HOW RESILIENT ARE YOU?
This questionnaire prepared by Mr Richard J Davidson ,Prof of Psychology & Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin –Madison ,gives a fair idea about the ability of you to bounce back quickly from a distress, if you answer them, True or False, instantaneously, in a snap judgment.
Here it is:-
- If I have a minor disagreement with a close friend or spouse –closer to, ”No, it’s your turn to do the dishes “ than “You cheated on me ?!”- it typically leaves me out of sorts for hours or longer.
- If another driver uses the wrong side, to zoom up to the front of a long line of traffic waiting to merge, I am likely to shake it off easily rather than fume about it for a long time.
- When I have experienced profound grief, such as the death of someone close to me, it has interfered with my ability to function for many months.
- If I make a mistake at work and get reprimanded for it, I can shrug it off and take it as a learning experience.
- If I try a new a new restaurant and find that the food is awful and the service snooty, it ruins my whole evening.
- If I am stuck in traffic because of an accident up ahead, when I pass the bottle-neck, I typically speed up to vent my frustration, but still, am aware of the road condition.
- If my home water heater breaks, it does not affect my mood very much because I know I can just call a plumber and get it fixed.
- If I meet a wonderful man/woman and ask if he/she would like to get together again, being told ’No’, typically puts me in a bad mood for hours or even days.
- If I am being considered for an important for an important professional award or promotion and it goes to someone I consider less qualified, I can usually move on quickly.
- At a part, if I am having a conversation with an interesting stranger and get completely tongue-tied when he/she asks me about myself, I tend to replay the conversation –this time including what I should have said-for hours or even days afterward.