Do you think you are objective and that you can clearly understand others without being influenced by how you feel?
Sell, scientists have good news and bad news that dismantle this belief.
The “bad news” are that everything we perceive is strongly influenced by our mood or “Affect” as scientists call it.
“What you feel — your "affect” — influences what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.“
The "good news” are that if we become aware of this, you can learn to use these signs to create space and better understand the people and circumstances around us.
As neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett explains to us in this amazing TED talk:
“(…) and you can use that as a cue to take a breath to take a deep breath. Breathing it turns out is one of the ways that we can control effect a little bit because breathing it allows one part of our nervous system to kind of dial down the other parts to create enough space for us to transform certainty into curiosity and that curiosity can let you consider other options options”
Indeed, it is not always easy to take this break in moments of more intense situations, but she suggests a good trick for these cases.
“(…) it just sounds completely impractical in some situations and that’s right it is so. Sometimes the trick is to be curious earlier, to take a moment before the heat of the moment, before you get behind the wheel before you have a meeting with your difficult boss before you draw your firearm. (…) Take a breath, that might allow you a moment to think about what to do next, and you might discover other paths forward”.