Life Moods, Emotions, Feelings, Neuroscience, Coaching
The exact cause of many mood conditions is not known. Many researchers believe that it is caused by chemical changes in the brain. This could be the result of your genetic make-up or be triggered by stressful events. Newer research in neuroscience suggests that there is a direct co-relation between the limbic system and the left pre-frontal cortex of the brain that affects the emotional style we adopt based on the strength of the connection between these two sites.
Stressors have a huge impact on our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Various events such as death, the loss of someone close, serious accidents, long-term illness, financial pressure, problems at work or school, and relationship break-ups can negatively impact our ability to function in daily life. Stressors are not always negative; for example, life events such as getting married, retiring, or moving can also precipitate an emotional style of low mood or mode. There are two main schools of thoughts in psychology regarding mood conditions, described below.The first school of thought is behavioral theory and it claims that low mood is a learned behavior. Because it is learned, behaviorists suggest that it can also be unlearned.
They argue that people tend to repeat behaviors that get reinforced. For example, many people show up at work on a regular basis in order to receive money or insurance benefits. Children study in order to help ensure that they will continue to receive good grades. In these examples, working and studying are behaviors that are motivated by money, benefits, and good grades, which act as positive reinforcement. (Mentalhelp.net)
Behaviorists did not pay much attention to people’s thoughts, perceptions, or expectations and instead focused solely on their external and directly observable and measurable behavior. Thoughts, perceptions and emotions and feelings were not considered relevant in influencing behavior.
Behavioral therapy is focused on helping an individual understand how changing their behavior can lead to changes in how they are feeling. The goal of behavioral therapy is usually focused on increasing the person’s engagement in positive or socially reinforcing activities.
More recently, research has shown that internal events such as perceptions, expectations, values, attitudes, personal evaluations of self and others, fears, desires, etc, do, in fact, affect behavior.The second school of thought, cognitive therapy, is based on the theory that much of how we feel is determined by what we think. Conditions such as low mood are believed to be the result of faulty thoughts and beliefs. By correcting these inaccurate beliefs, a person’s perception of events and her emotional state will improve. For example, research has shown that people affected by a mood disorder often have inaccurate beliefs about themselves, their situation, and the world.
If you are “down in the dumps” you may be relating negative events to yourself when there is no basis for it. You may be seeing things as black and white, all or none. This is usually detected when a person can generate only two choices in a situation. You may be focusing only on certain aspects of a situation, usually the most negative. Cognitive therapists work with the person to challenge thinking errors like those listed above.
In both schools, the therapist’s typical functions are to help clients fix problems and overcome issues. The therapist usually helps the client figure out “why”.
Personal or life coaches help people to focus on “how” – the solutions. Coaches do not dwell on the client’s past nor try to analyze behavior. Clients may come to the realization that their past is directly affecting their present situation, but the past is only used as a tool for learning and growing. Coaches aim to release the grasp the past has on clients so that the client can move forward. Professional coaching helps people think and create win-win scenarios for all involved. The process is done by emotionally connecting the client’s inner purpose and passion to outer goals to bring about sustainable results (Bruce D. Schneider, founder of The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching).
An important advantage of coaching is that it tends to be short, taking (on average) four months for most emotional problems. Clients attend (often by phone) one session per week, with each session lasting approximately 50 minutes. During this time, the client and coach are working together to develop a new strategy for connecting the client’s inner purpose and outer goals and find a more suitable or optimal emotional style for the client.
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