Emotions Affect Critical Thinking

In the last few days I’ve seen: a woman visibly get upset after weighing herself at the gym, a daughter screaming at her mother in the mall, a father sternly tell his children a restaurant is not the place to run around & play, and various drivers honking their horns & flicking other drivers off. I’ve even changed the channel because I couldn’t take any more hysterics from Bridezillas and Intervention.

I didn’t go out of my way to see these situations. In fact I’m fairly certain that I’d have more examples if I actively sought them out.

It’s not my place to tell the woman at the gym she shouldn’t be so hard on herself or to ask the aggressive drivers what benefit they get from screaming and flicking off other cars. But I can’t help but think about the flip side. What would happen if they checked their emotions?

What if the woman at the gym acknowledged her weight loss or gain and objectively evaluated her fitness routine? What if the mother & daughter were able to discuss the perceived need for $250 designer sunglasses? What if the father was able to have a conversation that allowed his children to realize that a restaurant isn’t exactly prime playground material?

The ability to check your emotions is just one technique to improve critical thinking. Looking at these situations, the value of this ability becomes clear.  When you’re highly invested in the situation and emotions are running high it’s hard to get anything positive accomplished. Granted, the ability to check your emotions is difficult. I’m working on compiling techniques to make it easier but practice makes perfect.

I challenge you to spend the next few days becoming more aware of your own emotions in various situations.  Do you check your emotions or do they influence your decisions making process?

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Elizabeth Pauker-Silva

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