It’s a strange world. There are so many of us out here and still there are so many of us who feel lonely… there are so many of us connected virtually and still there are so many of us who are deprived of even a single real connection. Yup, it’s a strange world! And what makes it even stranger is our growing tendency to accept this as our fate and surrender to the idea of ‘being closed’ rather than ‘being close’. Resultantly, we have an increasing vulnerability towards getting ‘emotionally shut down’.
You can see this happening at homes and in offices…in families and within teams. You can see every now and then a person disproving the assertion “No man is an island” and preferring to be standalone rather than networked. And this rising distrust and discomfort with sharing emotions and discussing ideas costs us not only in terms of incurred disadvantages but also some lost advantages. Well, before we discuss this further, watch this video to get the gist of the matter…
Yes. It is good to share and discuss – both in terms of ideas as well as emotions. Whether we call it a heart to heart talk, thinking out loud, having an agony aunt, or brainstorming, when we have a candid conversation with someone or when someone listens to us without being judgmental, it gives us a new perspective, greater conviction or lighter heart. Well, like for any other behavior, the root of this point lies in neuroscience.
If we will look at our brain then we will find that, inside brain, acquisition, storage, processing and retrieval of information takes place in an associative manner. For example, a romantic date gets stored in the form of the fragrance of the perfume, song playing in the background, flavor of the dish one ordered, etc.; and through one component, rest of the components or even the whole memory can be retrieved. This phenomenon is also known as psychologist Donald Hebb’s famous Hebbian rule – “Neurons that fire together wire together”.
Now if we talk about ideas, when you discuss your ideas with a trusted person, then apart from the brain-areas related to thinking, many other areas of the brain like memory regions, language regions and motor centers also get activated. This process is called ‘spreading activation’. In tune with the Hebbian rule, this ‘spreading activation’ improves clarity and makes recall easier, because you have left wider trail of connections to follow.
Similarly, if we talk about emotions, then by sharing emotions with a trusted person, the level of stress hormone cortisol reduces and the release of bonding chemical oxytocin increases, which is a relaxing and reassuring feeling. Well, but to appreciate these facts, social & emotional intelligence is needed. This ‘emotional & social intelligence’ is about one’s understanding of the design and functioning of human brain, and how they shape people’s responses and decisions.
This potent blend of neuroscience and psychology forms the basis for developing emotional & social intelligence – the skill of managing self and connecting with others. Yes, this all-important skill of all intrapersonal & interpersonal skills can be learnt, practiced and mastered. However, it all begins with some important realizations like…“It is good to share and discuss, whether in terms of ideas or emotions”.
Dr. Sandeep Atre
‘Emotional & Social Intelligence’ Expert
Founder – Socialigence
Note: Socialigence (www.socialigence.net) offers self-paced video-based online course on ‘Social & Emotional Intelligence’ with content that has relevance across the globe, and delivery specifically customized according to the work-scenarios in India.