Well-Being//

Negative Emotions Impair Your Ability to Trust Others

The Influence of emotion on trust

Courtesy of Nicoleta Raftu/Shutterstock
Courtesy of Nicoleta Raftu/Shutterstock

For better or worse, our emotions influence how we behave, how we think, and how we interact.

Sometime in 1861, Charles Darwin has a bad day.

“But I am very poorly today and very stupid and I hate everybody and everything,” he wrote to his friend.

On days like that, Darwin concluded, “one lives only to make blunders.”

Negative moods not only affect your life, but those feelings also have an impact on your ability to trust others and the quality of your relationships.

When you are in a negative mood, everything is far from normal — your rational thinking skill suffers, you talk badly, and do everything wrong.

Low moods can hijack your thoughts and robs you of your intuition and rational perspective. They make bad things look bigger and good things look smaller — everything and everyone around you suffers.

Imagine having a bad day multiple times in a month.

People become moody for different reasons — sometimes after hearing or reading bad news. Others become moody after a setback at home or at work. If you fall short of your expectations, you can also become moody.

Trust is crucial in almost every aspect of human social life. It plays a decisive role in relationships — both at work and at work. Trust can be difficult to establish, no matter how reliable the parties involved. When you are experience emotions most of the time, your ability to trust others suffer.

According to research (The neural circuitry of affect-induced distortions of trust), negative moods alter our judgments of others by making us more prone to stereotyping and forming less favourable impressions of others — even if these emotions were triggered by events that have nothing to do with the decision to trust.

These results show that negative emotions can significantly impact our social interactions, and specifically how much we trust others,” authors Jan Engelmann and Christian Ruff explain.

“They also reveal the underlying effects of negative affect on brain circuitry: Negative effect suppresses the social cognitive neural machinery important for understanding and predicting others’ behaviour.”

This means that they may not only make us less trusting but may also affect “our willingness and ability to engage with others’ point of view.”

When in a bad mood, your intuition, compassion, patience and acceptance slip quietly out the door. Perspective becomes impaired, but you can’t actually see that while it is happening.

“Part of the impairment is that your mind tells you your negative outlook is completely warranted. When you simply remind yourself that you are temporarily missing certain important mental qualities, you can consciously defer any bigger decisions and actions until you have your whole mind working for you again,” argues David Cain.

If you suffer frequently from bad moods, you can embrace activities that can improve your mood.

Acknowledge you are in a bad mood, and then start with the basics, like good sleep, moderate exercise, reading your favourite book, making time for gratitude journaling and spending a few minutes to meditate — meditation can boost positive feelings even when done in shorter durations.

Start spending more time outside. Research has shown that being in nature generates positive feelings while relieving stress.

Talk to a friend, a colleague or your partner about how you feel. Positive conversations can really shift my mood.

“We often underestimate how much we can gain from talking to others — even when we think we’d rather not. Since your emotional empathy might be compromised, you could put in a little extra effort to imagine their point of view (if the situation calls for it) to make a better connection,” says Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good’s book review editor.

Start a passion project. Making time to write, create, build, design, and making it a habit, can do more good than harm. Personal creative work can bring out the best and good emotions in you.

Bad moods shouldn’t last. Find ways to control your emotions in those situations. Do yourself and those around you a big favour by trying to shift your negative moods — you will maintain some emotional balance in the process. Good moods can influence trust development.

Negative moods will come and go your whole life. But always remember, it will be gone soon, and do as little harm as possible in the meantime. Seek professional support if you’re finding it hard to feel motivated about life.

Originally published on Medium.

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