All stress, emotion and behaviour is caused by how you think about your life.
Understanding how you and your child think about life and how other people around you think about life, is one of the primary focuses of The Parental Stress Centre.
Our other primary focus is helping you and your child change that thinking process and to effectively communicate with those around you.
Consider this diagram to help you get a further understanding:
When we encounter an event, the brain experiences it with one or more of the 5 senses. It then goes into evaluation mode.
The brain evaluates what it is sensing to get an understanding of it. What is it? Have I seen it before? Do I have a reference point for this? What does it mean about me? (pleasure or pain)
It searches for relevant information that links to what is being sensed from the present event. It sorts through stored information in the brain to find similar past experiences, relevant beliefs adopted or picked up from other experiences, or associated memories etc. It then determines whether this event means pleasure or pain.
As a result of what information was accessed in the brain in that moment, a response occurs.
This response usually (but not always) first becomes apparent via how we feel about the situation – our Bodily sensations. If the situation has been evaluated as painful, then negative emotions will be felt (eg anger, resentment, sadness etc), or if deemed to be pleasurable, then positive emotions will be felt (happiness, excitement etc). We may also feel these bodily sensations physically in the body as increased heart rate, the sweats, headaches, adrenalin or excitement etc.
At the same time that these emotions are felt, the brain has also determined what needs to be done about the experience – also from locating previously stored information from past experiences. This is where the REACTION comes into play – what am I going to do about this event?
The agenda of the reaction will always be self-serving – how can I restore pleasure or equilibrium to my body (by restoring it to my life) and how do I avoid pain? This is what we refer to as the ‘What’s in it for me? concept’.
Most behaviour management techniques focus on the RESPONSE stage of the thinking process. Its focus is on attempting to stop the emotion and treat (or punish) the behaviour.
I’m not disputing that we need to deal with the behaviour, but what we also need to address is the evaluation process that occurred BEFORE the behaviour.
When dealing with yours, your child’s or anyone else’s undesirable behaviour we can now see that the cause of the behaviour was not anger or emotion. It wasn’t even the event that caused the behaviour. It was the evaluation process – how that person perceived the event BEFORE the reaction took place.
This evaluation process is the focus of The Parental Stress Centre teachings. When you change or work with the evaluation process, you will inevitably change the emotions and the reaction.