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Train your brain and stop a bad mood resulting in poor performance

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Learn to vaccinate yourself against risky behaviour

At some time in our lives we have all reacted badly to our emotions.

I bet you can think of a time right now when you have let your negative emotions hijack your behaviour.

Like when you're feeling angry and you drive home dangerously fast or you are in a bad mood so you write an email that you later regret sending.

A team led by Thomas Webb at the University of Sheffield have looked at whether our bad moods will always encourage riskier behaviour.

They put participants into a bad mood by asking them to solve a problem that was impossible to solve. 

Afterwards, they asked them how they would behave in three imaginary scenarios:

  1. Whether to drive an old car with brake problems

  2. Whether to disclose a secret to a room-mate

  3. Whether to return deliberately damaged shoes to a shop for a refund.

Half the participants had previously been asked to keep a mood diary and follow an "if-then plan”: 

'If I am in a negative mood, then I will ... breathe deeply / think only positive thoughts / think how I've dealt successfully with previous situations'.

The other  participants (the control group) were not asked to do this.

A second study examined the impact of participants' emotions on a gambling task. In this study the participants had their mood (arousal) changed by listening to music whilst gambling. Again, half the participants were asked to form the "if-then plan” before gambling.

In both studies the control group's emotions made them make riskier decisions than the group who'd formed a protective "if-then plan”.

In effect, the participants were protecting or vaccinating themselves against risky behaviour by developing a "if-then plan”

The researchers said: 'the findings of the two experiments suggest that people can strategically avoid the detrimental effect of unpleasant mood and arousal on risk taking by forming implementation intentions directed at controlling either the experience of mood or risky behaviour.'

The EBW View

So the next time you are in a bad mood or you are working with someone who is; think about this research, it may just stop you making the wrong decision.

Remember; using Business Emotional Intelligence is not just about being aware of emotions at work but it is about developing and focusing on the ‘if-then plans’ to be able to deal with difficult emotions in the moment.

It is what we refer to as the Business EQ Paradox. Generally when you most need your Emotional Intelligence is typically when you have the least resouces or the motivation to use it. 

Practising and planning for the Business EQ Paradox moment will enable you to control those emotions that stop us all performing optimally.

Webb TL, Sheeran P, Totterdell P, Miles E, Mansell W, and Baker S (2010). Using implementation intentions to overcome the effect of mood on risky behaviour. The British journal of social psychology / the British Psychological Society http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21050527

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Based on over 20 years of worldwide use and research, it enables you to get leaders and teams to understand why they behave the way they do and use a highly effective 10 step framework to improve their occupational performance.

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