What You See Isn’t Always All There Is

Did you know that when you are happy, you tend to not always make the most rational decisions?

When you are happy, your slow-thinking brain is often in hibernation. It is actually the same when you are scared or sad.

This applies not only to whom to ask on a date or if you have enough time to run across the road before the speeding car approaches, but to every decision about what to buy, what to invest and when to sell, and even how you hear and respond to what others are saying. We all want to be happy, and being optimistic is often a large contributor to our success, so I am not suggesting that you need to drop happiness.

What I am suggesting is that a more conscious awareness of what you are feeling and how you are thinking can enable better decision making.

Have you ever watched children try to decide if they like or want to try something? Have you seen a child scrunch up her face as she thinks?

While a furrowed brow and a frown might bring you down, it can also engage your slow-thinking brain.

Too much happiness can trick your fast-thinking brain into thinking it is always right in its stereotyped reactions, but you can also trick your brain into making a slow-thinking, rational choice by simply, yep, frowning.

It may appear to be a quandary because we tell you to smile and make yourself feel better and more confident, and here I am now telling you that when you smile you may be short-changing the deep-thinking, rational assessment part of your brain. It is not only frowning, of course, but listening to music, a story, smelling a scent, looking at pictures and just remembering past events and outcomes.

Everything our brain takes in, and it takes in a lot, pushes us in directions we might not always be aware of.

What You can Do

It is not all that complicated to understand. Become more consciously aware of the fact that your brain has a life of its own.

Be mindful in any given moment, aware of the fact that you are impacted by so much, and stop and notice. If you are excited about an option, stop and scrunch up your brow and frown. Engage your rational brain.

The same applies if you are feeling down, confused or lacking in confidence. Stop for a minute and make yourself smile, stand up and stretch, like a pitcher on the mound trying to shake off a bad pitch.

Put your arms in the air in the pride victory pose and change your moment of doubt.

Do not let that fight with your spouse, the bad story in the news or the great feeling you get when a salesperson convinces you that you would look great driving around in that new sports car be the only feelings sitting in your brain in the moment. Take conscious control, be mindful for a few minutes and notice if what you see is all there is or if there is more.

The more you practice, the easier it becomes to find a balance. Start today and begin to be mindful of what really is sticking in your brain at any given moment. Be aware that all you see is not all there is.

Other articles by Tara:
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How Connected Employees Can Boost Your Bottom Line
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Hiring Emotionally Intelligent Employees
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