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Emotions: Feeling, thinking, and communicating. Chapter topics. What are Emotions? Influences on Emotional Expression Guidelines for Expressing Emotions Managing Difficult Emotions. What Are Emotions?. Physiological Factors Strong emotions are coupled with strong physiological factors

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Emotions:Feeling, thinking, and communicating

Chapter topics

  • What are Emotions?

  • Influences on Emotional Expression

  • Guidelines for Expressing Emotions

  • Managing Difficult Emotions

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What Are Emotions?

  • Physiological Factors

    • Strong emotions are coupled with strong physiological factors

      • Physical components of fear:

        • Increased heart rate

        • Rise in blood pressure

        • Increase in adrenaline secretions

        • Elevated blood sugar

        • A slowing of the digestive system

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What are Emotions?

  • Nonverbal Reactions

    • Feelings are often apparent by observable reactions

      • Appearance Changes

        • Blushing, sweating, etc

      • Behavioral Changes

        • Facial expression

        • Posture

        • Gestures

        • Different vocal tone or rate

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What are Emotions?

  • Cognitive Interpretations

    • The mind plays an important role in determining emotional states

      • The symptoms of fear discussed earlier are similar to those of excitement, joy and other emotions

      • If you were to monitor someone having a strong emotional reaction, you would have a hard time ascertaining which emotion the person was experiencing

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What are Emotions?

  • Verbal Expression

    • Words can be required to discover the depth or intensity of the emotion

    • At times we can’t rely on perceptiveness to be sure a message is communicated

      • Is a new acquaintance mistaking your friendlessness as a come-on?

      • Is a lover’s unenthusiastic response a sign of boredom with you, or something less personal?

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Influences on Emotional Expression

  • Personality

    • There is a clear relationship between personality and the way we experience and express emotions

      • Extroverts tend to report more positive emotions

      • Neurotic individuals tend to report more negative emotions

    • Personality doesn’t have to govern your communication satisfaction

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Influences on Emotional Expression

  • Culture

    • A significant factor that influences emotional expression in different cultures is whether that culture is:

      • Individualistic (United States and Canada)

        • These cultures feel comfortable revealing their emotions to people with whom they are close

      • Collectivistic (Japan and India)

        • These cultures prize harmony and discourage expressions of negative emotions which may upset relationships

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Influences on Emotional Expression

  • Gender

    • Biological sex is the best predictor of the ability to detect/interpret emotional expression

      • Research suggests that there is some truth to the unexpressive male

      • In one study, females were 10-15% more accurate in remembering emotional images

    • People in close relationships are likely to experience/express more emotions than those who are not

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Influences on Emotional Expression

  • Social Conventions

    • The unwritten rules of communication discourage the direct expression of emotion

      • How many genuine emotional expressions do youor we see in daily life?

      • Social rules even discourage too much expression of positive feelings

    • Emotion Labor

      • Managing or even suppressing emotions is both appropriate and necessary

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Influences on Emotional Expression

  • Fear of Self-Disclosure

    • In a society that discourages the expression of emotions, revealing them can seem risky

  • Emotional Contagion

    • The process by which emotions are transferred from one person to another

      • Is it possible to catch someone’s mood?

      • Emotions become more infectious with prolonged contact

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Guidelines for Expressing Emotion

  • There is not a universal rule for expression of emotion

    • Personality, culture, gender, play a part

    • The key is to express emotion constructively

      • Think about a time when you expressed your emotion clearly, then wish you hadn’t.

    • Those who control their feelings and deny distress are more likely to get a host of ailments, including cancer and heart disease

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Guidelines for Expressing Emotion

  • Recognize Your Feelings

    • Beyond being aware, also try to identify

  • Recognize the difference between feeling, talking and acting

  • Expand your emotional vocabulary

  • Share multiple feelings

    • You might often express anger but overlook confusion, disappointment or frustration

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Guidelines for Expressing Emotion

  • Consider When and Where to Express Your Feelings

    • Give yourself time to discover the gravity of the emotion before full expression

  • Accept responsibility for your feelings

    • Instead of saying:

      • “You’re making me angry!” try “I’m getting angry.”

      • “You hurt my feelings,” say “I feel hurt when you do that.”

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Guidelines for Expressing Emotion

  • Be Mindful of the Communication Channel

    • Mediated Channels

      • Email

      • Instant Message

      • SMS Message

    • Is it appropriate to end a relationship via voicemail?

    • What is the result of using CAPITAL LETTERS in an instant message or email?

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Managing Difficult Emotions

  • Facilitative and Debilitative Emotions

    • Facilitative Emotions

      • Are emotions which contribute to effective functioning

    • Debilitative Emotions

      • Are emotions which detract from effective functioning

    • Intensity

      • Anger or irritation may be beneficial

      • Rage usually makes matters worse

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Managing Difficult Emotions

  • Sources of Debilitative Emotions

    • Our genetic makeup

    • Emotional memory

      • Harmless events can trigger debilitative feelings

    • Self-talk

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Managing Difficult Emotions

  • Self-Talk

    • Interpretations people make of an event, during the process of self-talk that determine their feelings


      Being called names “I’ve done something wrong.” hurt, upset

      Being called names “My friend must be sick.” concern, sympathy

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Managing Difficult Emotions

  • Irrational Thinking

  • The Fallacies

    • The Fallacy of Perfection

      • The belief that a worthwhile communication should be able to handle every situation

    • The Fallacy of Approval

      • That it is vital to gain the approval of virtually every person

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Managing Difficult Emotions

  • Irrational Thinking

    • The Fallacy of Shoulds

      • The inability to distinguish between what is and what should be

    • The Fallacy of Overgeneralization

      • Basing a decision on limited information

      • When we exaggerate shortcomings

    • The Fallacy of Causation

      • The irrational belief that emotions are caused by others rather than by one’s own self-talk

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Managing Difficult Emotions

  • Irrational Thinking

    • The Fallacy of Helplessness

      • Satisfaction in life is determined by forces beyond your control

    • The Fallacy of Catastrophic Expectations

      • The assumption that if something bad can happen, then it is going to happen

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Managing Difficult Emotions

  • Minimizing Debilitative Emotions

    • Monitor your emotional reactions

    • Note the activating event

    • Record your self-talk

    • Reappraise your irrational beliefs

    • Replace self-defeating self-talk with more constructive thinking

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Chapter Review

  • What are Emotions?

  • Influences on Emotional Expression

  • Guidelines for Expressing Emotions

  • Managing Difficult Emotions