Don’t let your recent past mess up your present …or your future

A contact suggested that I check-out  Adam Fraser on YouTube.   Basically Fraser’s ideas seem to centre around the way we take our emotional states from one part of our lives to the next – and how helpful it is if we can avoid doing so.  So arriving at work after  a row at home might impact on our day – and similarly, arriving home while still pumped up over work issues might not be great for our evening!

I read  “The Up-Side of Irrationality” by Dan Airley.  Amongst the many fascinating insights into how we behave irrational, Airley described an experiment where they looked at the persistence of mood (“priming”) from one task to the next …and how it can cause us to adopt an “unhelpfully” position or actions.  In one experiment he “primed” some subjects to be “mean-spirited” and then asked them to make some unrelated  decisions… unsurprisingly perhaps, the mean-spirited took that attitude into their subsequent decision making.  What was more amazing was that when they went back to the task weeks later the subjects  still took the same types of decisions  in comparison with a control group – so this suggests that the effects of such “mood priming” can persist for months once established!

So if you have a car accident on the way to work – and then deal with the needs of some new client then you might let the one thing impact on the other –  and you may be little too harsh.  Yet Airley shows us that you may continue to “punish” the client that way… even when the traffic accident is a dim and distant memory… and your sleek bodywork has been fixed.

So what to do? – Well the US military has shown that practicing mindfulness means that soldiers need less decompression after stressful or high pressure experiences;   and are less likely to suffer PTSD.  And mindfulness can allow people to find “acceptance” for situations or for the actions of others. [NB: by “acceptance” I mean “accepting that these things have happened” rather than accepting that they were “fair and just” etc.]

So it seems  we need a kind of “emotional airlock” after torrid events… or when moving from one experience to another .  A brief grounding meditation – may take only seconds – buy might limit this emotional contagion.

In my next blog post I will look at how “Rajio Taisou” – Japanese daily “radio exercise”  practiced in factories –  might be doing just that.

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