Have you been in a bad mood recently. EQ research by the British Psychological Society says your behaviour could be at Risk!

At some time in our lives we have all reacted badly to our emotions – Like when you’re feeling angry and you drive home dangerously fast or you in a bad mood so write an email that you later regret sending.

Now a team led by Thomas Webb at the University of Sheffield have looked at whether our bad moods will always encourage riskier behaviour?

They put students into a bad mood by asking them to solve a probelm that was impossible to solve. Afterwards they asked them how they would behave in three imaginary scenarios – whether to drive an old car with brake problems, whether to disclose a secret to a room-mate, and whether to return deliberately damaged shoes to a shop for a refund.

Half the students previously had been asked to keep a mood diary and follow an “if-then plan”: ‘If I am in a negative mood, then I will … breathe deeply / think only positive thoughts / think how I’ve dealt successfully with previous situations’. The other students (the control group) were not asked to do this.

A second study examined the impact on students’ emotions on a gambling task. In this study the students had their mood (arousal) changed by listening to music whilst gambling. Again half the students were asked to form the “if-then plan” before gambling.

In both studies the control group’s emotions made them make riskier decisions than the group who’d formed a protective “if-then plan”. In effect the students were protecting or vaccinating themselves against risky behaviour by developing a “if-then plan”

The researchers said, ‘the findings of the two experiments suggest that people can strategically avoid the detrimental effect of unpleasant mood and arousal on risk taking by forming implementation intentions directed at controlling either the experience of mood or risky behaviour.’

So the next time you are in a bad mood or you are working with someone who is; think about this research, it may just stop you making the wrong decision.

Remember; using Business Emotional Intelligence is not just about being aware of emotions it is also about developing and focusing on the ‘if-then plans’ about emotions and that is being Emotional Intelligent.

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