The Atlas of Emotion and the Three Doors

Your emotions are messages from your inner world. They are advisors helping you navigate the complexity around you. They are neither good nor bad, simply there to focus your attention so you can care for yourself and others.

… just a little something that I believe based on the research into emotions.

I’ve been giving thought to my emotional responses over the last 12 months. Thinking back on those intense episodic memories where I was performing at my best .. and to be more frank.. at my worst.

As part of some further education I have been pursuing, I came across the Emotional Atlas. It’s an interactive online resource, which steps through how our core emotions show up, what the triggers are, and how this plays out for us. Here’s a little sample … honestly, it’s worth making a cup of tea and exploring.

The Emotion Atlas speaks to, what it defines as five core emotions: anger, fear, disgust, sadness and enjoyment. It takes you on a journey through how context, thoughts and all the unrelated noise can factor into your responses.

One reflection for me was how it categorises your responses at the end…here’s how I think about it ….

When you get that feeling …

When you’re deep in your feels and get the impulse to react, slow your roll and take 3 deep breaths. The deep breaths allow you to refocus your thinking, and put your Prefrontal Cortex (reason and logic) back in the drivers seat and your Limbic System (fight or flight) into the passenger seat.

Now, that your thinking brain is back, you can more effectively cognitively appraise the situation. Meaning, you can think about your choices, and there are 3 doors you can choose from.

You’ve got three choices, which will you pick?

Door Number #1 – Progress

This is the option that leads you towards your goal, rather than away from it. You’d think it would be the obvious choice but it’s not. Our behaviour is puzzling and if you look into research surrounding heuristics (mental shortcuts), we often make decisions, based on heart, not logic.

The path that serves you in the long run, might not be the easy path, you might need to confront people you’d rather avoid, or have to show up and admit you were wrong. But, it’s all in the interests of the long term game.

Door Number # 2 – The Hangover

I call it the hangover because it feels SO GOOD at the time. Often, because you are indulging your Ego. It’s the “screw them, I’m not going to help”, its the passive aggressive response – it’s you justifying that you are right, while feeling hard done by. However, it comes at a price, just like those vodka shots, it’s going to revisit you the next day.

Door Number #3 – Lucky Dip

This is the door, where you really aren’t sure what the consequences will be. It might be because you are taking a new approach to something. You haven’t got any information to qualify your decision making. Sometimes it’s worth taking the risk, sometimes you need to trust tried and true strategies. So this door, is all about balancing the odds.

Final thoughts …

How often, do you really think about what your options are? How often do you map them out?

If you want to check out the Emotion Atlas, you can check out the link below.

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