Emotional Styles: Outlook

May 25, 2014 by

Emotional Styles: Outlook

joyIn his book, “The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How its unique patterns affect the way you think, feel and live – and how you can change them” (Penguin Publishing Group, 2012), R.J. Davidson identifies 6 emotional styles that are rooted in basic neuroscientific research. The six styles are:

1. Resilience: How rapidly do you recover from adversity?
2. Outlook: How long does positive emotion persist following a joyful event?
3. Social Intuition: How accurate are you in detecting non-verbal social cues of others?
4. Context: Do you regulate your emotion in a context-sensitive fashion?
5. Self-Awareness: How aware are you of your own bodily signals that constitute emotion?
6. Attention: How focused or scattered is your attention?

If you are on the low end of the Outlook dimension, you probably have low activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is the pleasure/reward center of the brain. People with negative outlooks are not capable of sustaining the feelings of joy and pleasure. It keeps them from trying new things that may be wonderful; it keeps them from maturing and learning how to cope with the challenges of life; it can keep you from maturing and learning how to cope with the challenges of life; it can lead you to feel sadness and depression and cause you to want to give up on life; it can take away your energy and motivation.

If you score high on the Outlook dimension this means that you are capable of sustaining positive emotion and you are optimistic about outcomes and generally cheerful. You are a true “go-getter.” But it can also mean that you make impulsive decisions in order to gain immediate reward and this can get a person in trouble. You might overeat, thinking that you will double-up on your exercise the following day; you might buy a new car that you cannot really afford because you are confident that your business will improve and you will make more money in the near future; you might not be able to hear that a friend is stuck and in pain because you are sure that their situation will improve, etc. People with too positive an outlook often act impulsively without considering negative consequences.

Here’s what you can do to increase positive outlook:
1. Fill your workspace with upbeat reminders of happy times, like photos of your family or vacations and change the pictures periodically.
2. Find opportunities to compliment others and express gratitude often by offering a warm thank-you or telling them how much they mean to you.
3. Write down the things you appreciate in others and in your life.

If you are interested in finding out more about your emotional style, go to the following webpage and take the survey: http://richardjdavidson.com/take-survey/

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