The Cycle of Adaptation adapted from Perry Belcher’s Cycle of Boredom
John Schinnerer Ph.D.
Thanks for stopping by my positive psych blog (or maybe an anti-positive psychology blog given the title of today’s post!). As a way of saying thanks, I’d like to offer you a free PDF version of my first book on the latest positive psychology tools when you visit my site at www.GuideToSelf.com.
Are you tired of your job? Do you feel trapped in your relationship? Do you fear failure? Does it sometimes feel like you will never make it to the other side? Would you like more happiness?
If so, you are not alone.
Check this out. There is a cycle that we go through with everything in our life – jobs, spouses, relationships, cars, houses, clothes, everything.
Here is the cycle…
3) Safe & comfortable
7) Seeking out new options or replacements
8) Fear of change
9) Fear of failure (stall out here if you’re unlucky)
10) Break through (if you’re lucky!)
One of the most interesting tenets in psychology is that of the hedonic treadmill…the idea that we adapt to change – good or bad. You can win the lottery and adapt to those winnings within a year. You can suffer a bad car accident and lose the use of your limbs and most people adapt to that tragic situation.
Play around with this idea. You can apply it to every situation in your life. It’s amazing.
Remember…if you are not a master of your mind, you are a victim of it.
If you are not a master of your emotions, you are a victim of them.
Do not wait. Do not procrastinate. Take the risk on yourself. You deserve it. Start reading this blog now to reclaim your life and take the first step on the pathway to happiness.
John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology Coach
Anger Management Specialist
Expert Consultant to Pixar
Founder, Guide to Self, Inc.
913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280
Danville CA 94526
Positive psychology blog: http://drjohnblog.guidetoself.com
Anger management blog:
Emotional power is maybe the most valuable thing that an actor can have. Christopher Walken
The most embarrassing, shameful, stupidest things I’ve done in my life occurred when my emotional mind was in charge of me…angry, anxious, excited, doubting. As a result, I’ve spent 25 years studying ways to manage my emotional mind.
Analogies are a powerful means to help us understand the emotional mind. One of the best analogies to help you understand your mind – the relationship between emotions, moods, thoughts and temperament is that of an intense broadway play.
If you think of your emotional life as a play on stage, emotions are the actors that move quickly around the stage, speaking in short and energetic bursts. Each of the actors temporarily acts out the role of an emotion such as anger, surprise, or contentment. The actors temporarily embody emotions that are positive, negative or neutral.
Perhaps most importantly, you can feel more than one emotion simultaneously, just as if you have several actors on stage at once. There are layers of emotions…afraid of your anger, guilty about your lust, curious about your pride, and so on.
As an actor, there is room for a certain amount of creativity, but you’re always ultimately going to be saying somebody else’s words. – Daniel Radcliffe
One theory of emotions is that they are action scripts that have been around for millions of years. Intense emotions, such as rage, dictate how one responds to certain situations. In a very real sense, you are ‘saying somebody else’s words.’
The actor is in the hands of a lot of other people, over which he has no control. William Shatner
Emotions are often experienced as a loss of control, something over which we have no control. Many clients have told me that anger overtook them in less than a second. Some have said that they don’t remember what they did while angry. Others have shared that it felt as if they were possessed.
Emotions are short in duration, lasting seconds to minutes. Emotions have a cause such as losing a family pet (grief) or observing earth from space (awe). And emotions have visceral, bodily sensations associated with them (e.g., throat constriction, heart rate increase, perspiration, shoulders pulled back, chin elevation, etc.).
Moods are like individual elements of scenery that are rolled on and off the stage with each scene. The scenic elements “set the stage” for the scene. The scenic elements may create an ominous and scary setting. Or they may create a peaceful, sunny and relaxed environment. The scenic elements change every act and may change many times during the course of the play. Moods are like emotions stretched thin over time. For example, anger stretched thin is irritability. Fear stretched thin is anxiety. Happiness stretched thin is contentment.
Moods don’t typically have a cause. They just are. Some days you wake up in a stressful ‘scene’ and other days a pleasant one.
Temperament is the large screen that serves as the background for the entire first act or the entire play. The backdrop separates the front of the stage, where the play takes place, from backstage, and the area where many activities are happening at a rapid pace to create the illusion of reality out on stage. Temperament ranges from pessimistic to optimistic.
The director is like the rational, thinking mind who has some control over the direction of the actors and the play. The good news is that the director can learn to have greater influence over the actors in the heat of the moment. Yet even the director can be overcome with emotion at times. And when the director loses her cool, it’s best to yell ‘cut’ and take a break so everyone can start anew.
About the Author
John Schinnerer, Ph.D., an expert in positive psychology, is revolutionizing the way in which people make sense of the mind, behavior and emotion. In December of 2011, he was one of three emotion experts (along with Paul Ekman and Dacher Keltner) to consult with Pixar on a feature-length movie in which the main characters are emotions. Much of his time is spent in private practice teaching clients the latest ways to turn down the volume on negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and stress. He has developed a unique coaching methodology which combines the best aspects of entertainment, humor, positive psychology and emotional management techniques. His offices are in Danville, California. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley Summa Cum Laude with a Ph.D. in educational psychology. He has been an executive, speaker and coach for over 14 years. He hosted over 200 episodes of Guide To Self Radio, a daily prime time radio show, in the SF Bay Area. He wrote the award-winning book, ‘Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought,’ which is available at Amazon.com. His blog, Shrunken Mind, was recently recognized as one of the top 3 in positive psychology on the web (drjohnblog.guidetoself.com ). His new video blog teaches people the latest ways to manage anger using positive psychology. (WebAngerManagement.com). He is currently working on a destination site to teach individuals paths to sustainable happiness via positive psychology and ongoing practice at HowICanBeHappy.com.
‘Aha’ Effect: New Hypothesis Seeks to Explain the Pleasures of Insight
ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2010) The sudden appearance of a solution through insight — the famous ‘aha’ effect — is a peculiar phenomenal experience that people have when they solve a problem.
Although many anecdotes exist about how discoveries were made by sudden insights, little is known about its nature. Based on recent research, Sascha Topolinski from the University of Würzburg, Germany, and Rolf Reber from the University of Bergen, Norway, put forward a new hypothesis that integrates the known features of insight experiences into a unitary framework.
The literature on insight lists four main characteristics of this experience:
Suddenness: The experience is surprising and immediate;
Ease: Compared to the obstacles experienced before, the task solution proceeds smoothly and easily;
The feeling of being right: After an insight, problem solvers judge the solution as being true and have confidence in this judgment, even before assessing its rightness.
Although the phenomenology of insight is well-known, no theory has combined the four characteristics. The authors combined recent research findings about subtle influences in judgmental tasks to combine the four characteristics. A recent study suggests that immediacy of an experience gives rise to feelings of rightness. Moreover, when the processing of information is fluent, people feel positive affect and think that the information is true, especially when the felt ease of processing comes as a surprise.
These findings combined yield the hypothesis that insight is an experience during or subsequent to problem solving attempts in which problem-related content comes to mind with sudden ease and provides a feeling of pleasure, the belief that the solution is true, and confidence in this belief.
Sascha Topolinski, Rolf Reber. Gaining Insight Into the ‘Aha’ Experience. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2010; DOI: 10.1177/0963721410388803
To life, love and laughter,
John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Award-winning author, blogger, and mental health coach
There is a battle going on in your mind. There are two factions in your mind. Sometimes these two get along and sometimes they are in conflict. At times, the two cooperate. At times, they act in direct opposition to one another.
The two factions are your rational, thinking mind and your automatic, emotional, subconscious mind. Here is the latest study to examine the differences between the two sides…
ScienceDaily (Nov. 8, 2010) Expert typists are able to zoom across the keyboard without ever thinking about which fingers are pressing the keys. New research from Vanderbilt University reveals that this skill is managed by an autopilot, one that is able to catch errors that can fool our conscious brain.
The research was published in the Oct. 29 issue of Science.
“We all know we do some things on autopilot, from walking to doing familiar tasks like making coffee and, in this study, typing. What we don’t know as scientists is how people are able to control their autopilots,” Gordon Logan, Centennial Professor of Psychology and lead author of the new research, said. “The remarkable thing we found is that these processes are disassociated. The hands know when the hands make an error, even when the mind does not.”
For a free PDF copy of the award-winning book Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide to Managing Emotion and Thought, visit http://www.GuideToSelf.com and enter your name and email address. This book outlines the latest proven tools for optimal human functioning – tools to manage your negative emotions (anger, anxiety, sadness and stress) and turn up the volume on your positive emotions (gratitude, curiosity, awe, love, joy, pride, hope, happiness and passion). It also helps you become more aware of your automatic mind and the shortcuts it takes without your consent.
To determine the relationship between the autopilot and the conscious brain, or pilot, and the role of each in detecting errors, Logan and co-author Matthew Crump designed a series of experiments to break the normal connection between what we see on the screen and what our fingers feel as they type.
In the first experiment, Logan and Crump had skilled typists type in words that appeared on the screen and then report whether or not they had made any errors. Using a computer program they created, the researchers either randomly inserted errors that the user had not made or corrected errors the user had made. They also timed the typists’ typing speed, looking for the slowdown that is known to occur when one hits the wrong key. They then asked the typists to evaluate their overall performance.
The researchers found the typists generally took the blame for the errors the program had inserted and took the credit for mistakes the computer had corrected. They were fooled by the program. However, their fingers, as managed by the autopilot, were not — the typists slowed down when they actually made an error, as expected, and did not slow down when a false error appeared on the screen.
In two additional experiments, the researchers set out to probe awareness more deeply. In the second experiment, they had the typists immediately judge their performance after typing each word. In the third, they told typists that the computer might insert or correct errors and again asked them to report on their performance.
The typists still took credit for corrected errors and blame for false errors in the second experiment, and still slowed down after real errors but not after false ones. In the third experiment, the typists were fairly accurate in detecting when the computer inserted an error, but still tended to take credit for corrections the computer had made. As with the other two experiments, the typists slowed down after real but not after false errors.
The research is the first to offer evidence of the different and separate roles of conscious and unconscious processing in detecting errors.
“This suggests that error detection can occur on a voluntary and involuntary basis,” Crump, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology, said. “An important feature of our research is to show that people can compensate for their mistakes even when they are not aware of their errors. And, we have developed a new research tool that allows us to separately investigate the role of awareness in error detection, and the role of more automatic processes involved in error detection. The tool will also allow a better understanding of how these different processes work together.”
The research was supported with funding from the National Science Foundation.
1. Gordon D. Logan, and Matthew J. C. Crump. Cognitive Illusions of Authorship Reveal Hierarchical Error Detection in Skilled Typists. Science, 29 October 2010: Vol. 330. no. 6004, pp. 683 – 686 DOI: 10.1126/science.1190483
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