Diversification of Emotion

By Baiju Solanki – Performance Coach

Recently I attended a seminar where they talked about the importance of diversifying your financial portfolio. Any good IFA worth their salt will tell you that you should never have your investments in one place, or even in one type of investment, i.e. stocks & shares, property, ISA’s, the list goes on. Financial wealth is determined by the number of sources of income you have. The more sources the more financial wealth you can acquire.

This got me thinking about Emotional Wealth. Do we allow ourselves to have a diverse portfolio of emotional wealth?

Baiju Solanki’s definition of Emotional Wealth:

“Emotional Wealth is having a balance in your life, ensuring that you have more good days than bad days, and that you don’t allow the stresses that we have in our life to have a detrimental effect on us.”

What is your definition of emotional wealth. Click on “LEAVE A COMMENT” in the top right hand corner of this post. We’d love to hear from you.

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Baiju Solanki is a Performance Coach. His contact details are:

baiju@pctconsultancy.com
www.performancecoachingandtraining.co.uk
www.developingcoachingcultures.com
07968 533918

Understand Your Emotional Brain

To perceive emotion is to receive and interpret information from both external (world) and internal (body) environments. Your senses – sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing – connect you to the world around you, through your physical brain. Perception is the process by which information (events) about the outside world impinges on the sensory organs and is then decoded and interpreted by the brain – resulting in a conscious experience (behaviour or response). Perception is one aspect of cognition – all the mental activities which enable us to know and make decisions (appraisals) about the world (our environment).

The physical brain
Four major brain regions are: the brain stem, cerebellum, neocortex (cerebrum) and limbic system. The limbic system – comprising the thalamus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, and connecting pathways – mediates and expresses emotional, motivational, sexual and social behaviors, and memory.

The brain controls all involuntary functions at the same time. These include breathing and heartbeat, as well as the higher mental processes such as thought, and the physical activities of breathing, movement, and coordination, plus non-physical functions such as emotions. It regulates bodily functions and is the seat of your personality. The brain absorbs information from the outside world, interprets it, and makes the body act accordingly. It does this through a fascinating process of communication between specialised brain or neural cells – called neurons – that fire electrical impulses, or thoughts. The largest web of neocortical functioning in the brain is between the prefrontal area and the limbic structures. This perhaps explains the great variety of emotions that humans experience. The amygdala plays a large role in emotion processing.

The key to creating emotional health is putting a gap between event and response. When impulse happens, usually from the amygdala (the fear centre of the brain), meaning is formed through appraisal. It is in the gap that the trigger – the conditioned response – occurs and you experience the response in your body. For example, your first experience on a roller coaster may be exhilarating or terrifying. The memory will be stored as such, and will be recalled at any time the words roller coaster is mentioned. In this way you form emotional habits. The good news is that cognitive reframing allows you to change your emotional habits to enjoy a life of ease!

Appraisal, through the operation of the thalamus, hypothalamus, and limbic system, is the trigger for emotional response. Appraisal is a source of autonomic (involuntary) arousal, as the emotional response is mediated by the autonomic nervous system. The physiological effects of accumulated arousal felt in the body can be severe (See – Physiological effects of stress).

Autonomic Nervous System – ANS
Our central nervous system is a regulatory structure that helps people adapt to changes in their environment. The ANS is comprised of two parts – voluntary and involuntary. We use our voluntary nerves to direct our muscles within our body to move, more or less, at will. The involuntary nervous system helps our glands control the functioning of our organs, such as; heart, lungs, bowels, and digestion. The involuntary nerves consist of two types – sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system provides adrenalin. The parasympathetic nervous system has a moderating influence. It helps restore balance, once the threat has passed.

When our bodies are in a peaceful state, the two branches of the ANS are in check. However, when there is a stressful response or threat – anger, fear, sadness, disgust, or surprise – the sympathetic (fight, flight) branch dominates the parasympathetic (calming, restorative) branch, and we are aware of our organs functioning. We may feel a racing heart, clammy hands, a tightening in our abdomen, and an urge to use our bowels. Sympathetic nerves react this way by means of the chemical, adrenalin, which is released at the nerve-endings of the organs concerned. For any task, there is an optimum level of arousal at which performance will be most efficient. On the whole, moderate levels of arousal seem to act as positive reinforcers and extreme as negative.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Mike Gosling helps people grow and brings clarity, purpose, happiness and abundance to their lives. He is an expert in teaching people how to apply their emotional intelligence in emotional leadership and everyday living. An author, business owner, ELPro coach and mentor to successful leaders worldwide, Mike is also co-founder of the world’s premier membership site to reduce stress, EmotionMatters.com. To reach a new level of self-understanding and greater effectiveness in your personal and professional life, sign up for the e-Changes! Newsletter

© Copyright 2002-2012 Gosling International

What You Should Know About Adrenal Fatigue

Recently, a colleague of mine, Eric Holmlund, who assists me with internet marketing, wrote on his blog why he has not been writing much lately. He says,

“The reason I haven’t written much lately, and haven’t created any new lessons in the past few months is because I haven’t had the energy to do it.

I’ve been experiencing what is probably best described as Adrenal Fatigue. In case you’re curious about it, there is a very good article explaining it here”: http://www.lammd.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue.asp

Here’s another post from Positive Health Wellness on Everything You Need To Know About Adrenal Fatigue (Plus Management Guide).

Eric has gotten to a point in his life where he has physiological symptoms of severe stress. He writes:

“Various medical tests showed that my adrenals simply aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do… resulting in various chemical imbalances in my body. For example, I’m not producing much cortisol, which has several physical ramifications. To aggravate the situation, my adrenals are compensating by producing too much epinephrine (adrenaline), which results in a lot of anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms.”

This advice from Eric has enormous implications for many people. I applaud what he has done in bringing his condition out into the open. What ever we can do to help people understand that stuff to do with emotions is vital to our well-being and NOT something to hide away. Everything we do in life is about our emotions. It is imperative we learn to recognize, use, understand and manage our emotions if we are ever going to enjoy perfect health. Positive emotion is a non-problem status. Negative emotion (stress) is unhealthy and leads to emotional constipation. Eric has boldly, and at some risk to his business, let us know his current medical condition. He says that he believes “this condition is most likely the result of many years of poor sleep habits, constant blood sugar spikes, and internalizing my stress and anxiety.” From my own experience, I believe this to be true.

On May 29, 2011 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. This came as an enormous shock to me as I, like Eric, have enjoyed good health and an active lifestyle. In my case, I believe that my current condition is mostly due to severe stress I have experienced since February 2009 when Karen and I were forced to close our counseling and coaching practice in Singapore and return to Australia as bankrupts due to the severe adverse impact and failure of our business, brought on by the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2009. I have experienced severe anxiety over my family’s situation and financial stress over two years and unbeknown to me, my body has reacted in an adverse way, triggering Type 2 diabetes. I am now aware of what my body is doing and have put steps in place to manage it so that I can get on with living and a life of ease!

So what’s all this got to do with Adrenal Fatique. I had not heard of this condition until Eric mentioned it, and according to Dr. Lam’s website, many medical doctors are not fully knowledgeable about it . It seems to me that Adrenal Fatigue could be a progression of severe stressors playing havoc with our body if we don’t actively work on emotional stress. In Lesson 2 (Module 1) we have a detailed account of the effects of stress felt in the body:

Physiological effects felt in the body from accumulated stress include:

  1. A breakdown in the immune system. Making a person more susceptible to colds and flu, skin conditions, and other ailments.
  2. An interruption to the autonomic nervous system that copes with digestion, bowel irritation and evacuation, reproduction, and recovery from stress.
  3. A decrease in the level of serotonin – the chemical in the brain that is responsible for mood and thinking. Lowered serotonin leaves one feeling flat, despondent, depressed – a loss of “joie-de-vivre”. This depressed mood state often manifests as lethargy and “I can’t be bothered”. Thinking also becomes impaired and irrational.
  4. Lowered personal esteem – caused by a loud inner voice – which can lead to depression and/or nervous suffering.

What we do not cover in Emotional Wealth Academy, as we are not medical doctors, is what happens to our body after prolonged and chronic stress has done its work on us. I’m not saying that everyone who experiences physiological effects from stressors felt in the body will progress to adrenal fatigue. I am saying that given Eric’s experience and my own, we owe it to ourselves and our families to take emotional stress seriously and Emotional Wealth Academy is a starting point for understanding how stress is caused and what we can do about its symptoms.

If you are experiencing behavioral change, emotional distress and personal problems or are simply troubled by your feelings, please see your doctor or mental health professional and get early advice as to how you deal with adrenalin arousals felt in your body. Read our fact sheet on the physical, cognitive and emotional effects of stress. Do not let your adrenalin floods continue without seeking professional help.

Learn how to effectively manage emotional stress.

On his website, Dr. Michael Lam lists a number of the signs and symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. He says:

“None of the signs or symptoms by themselves can definitively pinpoint Adrenal Fatigue. When taken as a group, these signs and symptoms do form a specific Adrenal Fatigue syndrome or picture of a person under stress. These signs and symptoms are often the end result of acute, severe, chronic, or excessive stress and the inability of the body to reduce such stress. Stress, once a “basket” term used by physicians to explain non-specific symptoms, undetectable by conventional blood tests, is not a mystery to the body at all.

The ability to handle stress, physical or emotional, is a cornerstone to human survival. Our body has a complete set of stress modulation systems in place, and the control center is the adrenal glands. When these glands become dysfunctional, our body’s ability to handle stress is reduced.

The adrenal glands are two small glands, each about the size of a large grape. They are situated on top of the kidneys. Their purpose is to help the body cope with stress and help it to survive. Each adrenal gland has two compartments. The inner or medulla compartment, modulates the sympathetic nervous system through secretion and regulation of two hormones, called epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are responsible for the fight or flight response. The outer adrenal cortex comprises 80 percent of the adrenal gland and is responsible for producing over 50 different types of hormones in three major classes – glucocorticoids, mineralcorticoids and androgens.

The most important glucocorticoid is cortisol. When this is lowered, the body will be unable to deal with stress. This happens in Adrenal Fatigue.”

What You Should Know About Adrenal Fatigue – Dr. Lam

Know Your Emotional Style

There are two emotional styles – avoidant and reactive. Regardless of your gender, you are more likely to display more of one style than the other.

Mike and Karen Gosling are married. They are both highly educated and intelligent. Mike has studied for a Masters in Business Administration and a PhD in emotional intelligence. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and a Masters in Public Health. Both Mike and Karen have been successful in their careers, raised a family, travelled widely, and have offered advice and support to thousands of people from all walks of life to improve human wellness. They are stable and influential, in a relationship lasting more than 30 years. They have collaborated to provide clients the benefit of their combined knowledge and experience in life.

But Mike and Karen each have a different emotional style. They respond differently to the same event and experience emotion in totally different ways. And because they are both fully aware of their emotional style and the impact it has physiologically on their bodies and on others, they experience and manage their worlds very differently.

Awareness of your emotional style offers you the opportunity to change your mind and change your life, elevating emotional well-being.

Karen said…

Once I learned how my adrenalin floods affected everything I did, life became much more enjoyable and easier.

I have always gone along with what other people wanted, deferred to their wishes and opinions, in order to manage my adrenalin levels. My happiness came from harmony in my environment, as conflict or even potential conflict, resulted in adrenalin floods. If I perceived that a person may judge me, disapprove of me, be disappointed or feel let down by me, I would feel so dreadful that I would go out of my way to ensure that this did not happen. Once I’ve had an adrenalin flood I need to process it out of my body and “return to normal”. After conflict it takes me a long while to “warm up” again – hence Mike’s suggestion of the egg-timer!

I experience my negative emotion intensely (the burden of the highly sensitive person) and avoid any situation that may potentially cause an escalation of that feeling – the avoidant emotional style. I was an obedient teenager (lest my parents be cross with me), a diligent student (lest my teacher think badly of me), helpful to all (lest people dislike me because I was selfish) and a wife that withdrew and internalised in order to avoid conflict.

I am learning that my avoidant behaviour – the flight response – impacts on Mike who feels punished and excluded. Mike says, “Because you have an avoidant emotional style doesn’t mean that you have a monopoly on negative emotion”. This is something I need to be constantly aware of and recognise when considering the impact of my behaviour on others. My appreciation of how I deal with my emotion has improved my over all well-being. I feel energised to share with others how managing my avoidant emotional style releases adrenalin from my body making me emotionally well.

Mike said…

I learned at great personal cost, with the loss of my former wife and twin daughters more than 30 years ago, that loud tones, aggression, irritation, and anger had to go.

I have always been a leader, full of ideas and the energy, persistence, and dedication to carry them out. I used to not take fools lightly and felt quickly frustrated, irritated, and angry when things did not go my way. I could explode like a bomb! As a man, I was used to summing up a situation, weighing alternatives, implementing them, and looking for results, often all done in my head and without too much discussion, not realising fully that my behaviours, including loud tones and quick words, impacted on Karen so adversely. Karen says, “Mike, it doesn’t matter what you say to me, just say it in a normal voice. When someone speaks to me in an irritable tone my perception is that you are cross at me for what I just said and that leaves me feeling unfairly judged”. This is what I need to be aware of constantly, as a person who has a reactive emotional style, when considering the impact of my behaviour on others.

I deal with events as they happen – the reactive emotional style. I still react to things quite quickly – the fight response – but I am learning to put a gap between my thoughts and emotions to allow me time to manage better negative emotion generated by my reactive emotional style. Now I recognise negative emotion in my body on a scale from one to ten, one being low intensity and ten being rage. By the time I feel my negativity rising to level five or six, I can usually put a gap in my response and deal with my dis-ease in an emotionally intelligent way, releasing adrenalin from my body. As I respond to events I recognise that only I can make myself irritated, frustrated, and angry and so I manage my emotional style in a way that elevates my emotional well-being. As a result, I feel much healthier. And Karen is happier for it.

Have you ever heard someone say:

  • “Oh, she is so sensitive; she always bursts into tears at the drop of a hat.”
  • “Now come on son, real men don’t cry.”
  • “Reason is superior to emotion. Emotions are chaotic and immature.”
  • “Emotions ‘get in the way’ of rational decision-making.”

The contemporary view is that emotions convey information about relationships. Each emotion signals a different relation. And each of us experiences our emotion differently. Thoroughly thinking through and understanding our emotions and the emotions of others is an important source of coping – with ourselves, our workmates, friends, family, and community – and solving behavioural problems.

Life is a series of events. Every event is an opportunity for change. It is from the most painful events that you change the most. Solving these emotional challenges is the key to a life of emotional wealth.
– Dr. Mike Gosling

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr. Mike Gosling helps people grow and brings clarity, purpose, happiness and abundance to their lives. He is an expert in teaching people how to apply their emotional intelligence in emotional leadership and everyday living. An author, business owner, ELPro coach and mentor to successful leaders worldwide, Mike is also co-founder of the world’s premier membership site to build better relationships, EmotionMatters.com. To reach a new level of self-understanding and greater effectiveness in your personal and professional life, sign up for the e-Changes! Newsletter

© Copyright 2002-2012 Gosling International

Thought For The Day

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”

– Buddha Dhammapada Sutra (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta was the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

“Life is a series of events. Every event is an opportunity for change. And it is from the most painful events that you change the most.”

– Mike Gosling

“Always keep a dream in your pocket. Dream deep dreams and reach for the highest dreams.”

“A man’s reach should ere exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for?”

– Robert Browning

“An argument seldom proves anything, except that two people differ.”

“Unresolved anger is often the hidden source of low self-esteem.”

“Resentments don’t punish the other person; they punish us.”

“There is a gap between stimulus and response. The key to both our growth and happiness is how we use that gap.”

– Mike Gosling

“The fruit of love is service, which is compassion in action. Religion has nothing to do with compassion, it is love for God that is the main thing because we have all been created for the sole purpose to love and be loved.”

– Mother Teresa.

“Directly acknowledging feelings such as disappointment or anger, instead of making others guess at our feelings or having our feelings come out in other ways, is part of responsible communication.”

“The secret of a long life is to eat right and love what you do.”

– Dr. Leila Denmark <http://drleiladenmark.com/quotes/>

“Remember, anger is caused by your thoughts, not the actions of others.”

– Karen Gosling

“Like a river, my body changes as the moment changes, and if I could do the same, there would be no gaps in my life, no memory of past trauma to trigger new pain, no anticipation of future hurt to make me contract in fear.”

– Deepak Chopra

“Conquering others requires force. Conquering oneself requires strength.”

– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Only the present moment exists; past and future are mental projections. If you can free yourself of these projections, trying neither to relive the past nor to control the future, a space is opened for a completely new experience – the experience of ageless body and timeless mind.”

– Deepak Chopra

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

– Reinhold Niebuhr

“Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow, whatever is rigid and blocked will wither and die.”

– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Emotional distress is an illness of how you think; how you feel depends on how you think.”

– Mike Gosling

“The true test of intelligence is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.”

– John Holt

“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”

– Aldous Huxley

“Today, I will not strike out at those who cause me pain. I will feel my emotions and take responsibility for them.”

“Adventure is not outside a man, it is within.”

– David Grayson

“Doing what you don’t like is work.   Doing what you like is play.   I have never worked a day in my life.”

– Dr. Leila Denmark

“Part of self-acceptance is releasing other people’s opinions about you. Never let someone else’s opinion about you affect your own view of yourself. Be with people who make you feel good and leave the rest in the dust of your victories! ”

– Mike Gosling

“People are more amenable to change at a time of crisis. Watch out for the precipitating event; the “Oh Shit! experience.”

– Mike Gosling

Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.

– Aldous Huxley

“Acting “as if” can be helpful when a negative feeling begins to controls us. We make a conscious decision to act as if we are going to be fine.”

“Everybody needs someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.”

– Karen Gosling

“Listen with regard when others talk. Give your time and energy to others; let others have their way; do things for reasons other than furthering your own needs.”

– Larry Scherwitz

“Use positive assertion. Ask open questions. NEVER make statements: I think…, I believe….”

– Mike Gosling

“Our potential for helping others is far greater when we detach, work on ourselves, and stop trying to force others to change with us.”

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

“People are unrealistic, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.”

– Mother Teresa

“If we don’t change our direction we will always end up where we are headed.”

– Old Chinese Proverb

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.”

– Author Unknown

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

– Virginia Satir

“To laugh often and much,
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children,
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty,
to find the best in others,
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived,
this is to have succeeded.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t wish for the wind to change, wish for the wisdom to set a better sail.”

– Jim Rohn

“Happiness is when one’s spiritual needs are met by an untroubled inner life. Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.”

– Author Unknown

“Mistakes are the portal of discovery.”

– James Joyce

“No milk after the baby is weaned!   No juice, no tea or Cokes.   Only water.   That cow out in the pasture never had a drop of milk after she was weaned, and look how strong and healthy she is.”

– Dr. Leila Denmark

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

– Mark Twain

“It’s better to be over the hill than under the hill.”

– Dr. Leila Denmark

“Dreams are whispers from your soul.”

– Marcia Wieder