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Recent research in neuroscience and its application to personal development has shown that we are emotional beings with the capability for reason. Emotions aren’t necessarily the enemies of reason. The belief that someone who uses emotions to make decisions, without having a cool head and a purely rational attitude, isn’t doing it right, reflects an incomplete view of human beings. Today, the theory of emotional intelligence reminds us that people who are hyper-rational and try to reason through their decisions without an emotional component are actually incapable of reaching correct decisions, precisely because they are incomplete.
Emotions are the context in which our life takes place. There is not a single instant of the day in which we do not experience a mood, good or bad. Our mood or emotional state involves physical and mental aspects that change depending on our prevailing emotion.
With anger, fear, or sadness:
– Our body perceives a state of danger to its survival, which makes various physiological processes stop or be altered.
– Our blood circulation is directed principally to our arms and legs, which means that less blood makes it to our brain.
– We cannot think clearly; consequently, our decisions and actions are often incorrect.
– We react automatically, so our thoughts in this situation generally are based on past negative experiences.
With emotions related to love and happiness:
– Our body and brain are in a state of harmony, such that all our physiological processes are working normally.
– Our brain is working at full potential, and can make correct decisions and take proper actions.
– Our brain is working creatively, and our thoughts are focused on the here-and-now.
Our mood is closely related to our physical well-being, and when dealing with certain diseases, our emotional state can be a determining factor to improve our quality of life. With emotions such as fear, anger, and sadness, the quality of our emotional life is precarious, and can even give rise to certain illnesses. Love and happiness, on the contrary, create emotional harmony and encourage openness to life’s many possibilities.
Humor is a way of seeing reality from a positive perspective with happiness and optimism, making it possible to downplay the seriousness of any situation. When we have a sense of humor, we have a great capacity to create positive states of mind, both for ourselves and for other people. At the same time, this can have a positive influence on our mental and/or physical performance.
Strengthening the positive aspects of our life depends in part on us. If you want to improve the quality of your personal and social life, you can:
– Put your worries into perspective: They are a part of life, but so are your victories, and occasionally you should take time to enjoy the latter, and to grant yourself time to rest in an enjoyable environment.
– Reinforce positive communication: Draw nearer to people with whom you have something in common, and talk with them, proposing topics of conversation from which interesting opinions might emerge, respecting possible differences of opinion.
– Work for a good cause: Doing something for other people will make you feel better too.
– Try to focus your attention on the positive: We can learn something new from every experience—and that is good for us in the long run.
– Don’t be too demanding with yourself: Carry out your responsibilities and work with enthusiasm, but remember that work is not everything. You also have a life to live.