Feelings as facilitators: Emotions can either enhance or impede communication

From Stephanie West Allen’s blog on Neuroscience and conflict resolution .

Jeff was interviewed on national radio last week when he was in Australia. Several of the points he made are very useful for conflict resolution. (Click to listen to Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz. Jeff begins right about one-quarter of the way in.) Just one example: he talked about the role of emotion in communication.

In the interview, Jeff described self-awareness, and the observing self, and explained some of the benefits of watching what your brain is doing. One of these benefits is the positive use of emotions. Awareness of what our brains are up to allows us to use emotions wisely—instead of them using us. The wise use of emotions is probably one of the most important skills in conflict resolution. As Jeff said in the interview, this awareness allows us to  "use emotions in a way that enhances communication rather than perhaps getting in the way of communication which emotions sometimes do."

Yes, they sometimes do, don’t they? Emotions are often an impediment to resolving a dispute. So the more people’s minds are in charge of their brains, the more they are watching and directing their brains, the more easily disputes typically can be resolved.

Think of the last conflict in which you were involved and of each of
the people there. Could you tell which each brought to the table: their
mind or their brain?

If more people were harnessing their brains with their minds, the
number of disputes would likely decrease. The tone of the remaining
disputes would be different because you have in the room all that
self-awareness. And instead of impeding communication, emotions could
be an enhancement. Sounds good to me. How about you?

Note: In the interview linked to above, Jeff mentions two other interviews of him by Dr. Robert Lefever.
The topics of those interviews include neuroplasticity, attention,
habits, and inspiration. I recommend that you watch and listen. As Dr.
Lefever says, Jeff’s is such a message of hope. Here are the links . . .


Stephanie West Allen

Stephanie West Allen, JD, practiced law in California for several years, held offices in local bar associations, and wrote chapters for California Continuing Education of the Bar. While in CA, Stephanie completed several five-day mediation training programs with the Center for Mediation in Law, as well as a two-year intensive… MORE >

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