In this tumultuous and fast-paced world in which we are permanently immersed, where everything is subject to change, there are few certainties for mankind today. Once, it was believed that the earth was flat, until man proved it was round; in politics, what was the norm yesterday is necessarily no longer so today; scientific advances make us modify concepts, theories; new discoveries are made and ideas come and go. But what has not changed is that this man has always been sure of his mood, of expressing that he feels good or bad through his emotions, sometimes even without the use of language.
What are emotions? Emotions are reactions that represent ways of adapting to certain outside stimuli. If we feel emotions based on our interpretation of reality, we will act based on those emotions. For example: a change in our perception of reality automatically brings about a change in our emotional state, which in turn brings about a change in how we act.
The word emotion comes from the Latin emotio, which means movement or impulse, which invites us to act. How and when we act is determined by the type of emotion. Emotions trigger responses from different biological systems, such as facial expressions, muscles, the voice, etc.
Emotions, from a behavioral perspective, serve to establish our position in terms of our surroundings, may alter attention and may activate relevant associative networks in our memory. Hence, when we smell, hug, remember...we get a series of ideas in the form of emotions that are accompanied by images of what we have already experienced.
For a long time, it was believed that thoughts and emotions were different things that could even be separated, that the mind functioned better without the interference of emotional states; i.e., it was believed that emotions were a hindrance. It was not until late last century that we understood that a person’s emotional state is related to how he sees things from his basic paradigms and the way he perceives the world. We all tend to think that we see things as they are, that we are objective when in reality that is not the case. We see the world not as it is but as we think it is. In reality, we describe ourselves or see the world through the prism of our personal history and our ideals.
No one can go through the day without expressing an emotion. One would have to be dead because the feeling of being alive is not just a matter of waking up, breathing and moving our bodies, but also of the emotions we feel. For example, when we open the window and see the sunrise surrounded by a beautiful landscape, when we smell the scent of fresh-mown grass in our yard, or simply the emotion that overcomes us when we feel our kids' warm and tender kisses first thing in the morning.
Emotions influence and change the way we act. We may be happy or sad, depending on the manner in which our bodies react when faced with dissimilar stimuli based on how we interpret the reality perceived. If we are depressed, our heart beats differently; however, if we’re in love our immune system improves, there is a sparkle in our eyes, we are more motivated and hence our sense of life is enhanced. This all depends on the way we respond based on our emotional philosophy. In other words, our mood or our emotions are good or bad depending on what we think when we perceive a stimulus. The issue is not how we control our emotions, but how we perceive the world so that those negative emotions do not arise and positive ones multiply; when we experience negative emotions we our behavior becomes strained and they hurt not just others but also ourselves. Therefore, we should practice an exercise: to learn to channel our emotions the best we can.
There are two theories about how we experience emotions: James Lange’s theory which states that emotions happen when we perceive a stimulus, which produces a response which, in turn, produces an emotion. The second theory is Cannon Bard’s theory, which posits that when a stimulus is perceived, it elicits an emotion and a physical reaction simultaneously.
In managing emotions, it is important to point out the role played by the environment in which an individual grows up and develops. We are referring to the first spaces of significance to the individual, that are, first, the family and, later, school. We are born with an innate way of responding to what we like or dislike, but it is unquestionable that these responses are influenced by the process of socialization and of its models.
Studies have shown that human beings feel and suffer before they can express themselves; let’s not forget that starting at five and a half months of pregnancy, a fetus can perceive stimuli such as sound and light from the outside world and can enter into a particular relationship with them that may condition future responses outside the womb.
It is well-known that in a family environment where good relationships predominate among family members, where learning stimulates greater independence and interdependence, where emotions are channeled in a healthy and proper way, where there is respect for others, there is fertile ground for successful growth. It is in that space where today’s child who will be tomorrow's adult learns to perceive reality and respond based on that way of perceiving, which generally is not rigid, stereotyped or single-minded but rather flexible and open to change and transformation.
It is precisely this man who has grown up with a healthy attitude and has acquired methods for social interaction through his family and his school the one who will later enter the labor market and be a member of an enterprise or institution. How will he react if he joins a business where there are predominantly good vibrations or, in the contrary case, bad vibrations? The following anecdote illustrates these two different scenarios at a restaurant:
A man arrives at a restaurant and the waiter approaches him with a drink to welcome him. While the man walks towards the table he drops the drink, which upsets the waiter who rushes towards him recriminating him and demanding that he pay for the damage, while the other costumers look somewhat upset, some getting up and walking out of the restaurant. The waiter has been rude and unpleasant to the customer who dropped the drink. He acted impulsively, letting himself be led by a first impression of the customer and manifesting negative emotions such as anger and dissatisfaction. In contrast, how different it would have been had the waiter approached the man calmly and asked him if he was ok, and when the man explained that he had felt dizzy the waiter had comforted him and helped him to a seat and brought him some juice to help him recover. Seeing the waiter’s reaction, the other customers continue eating calmly rather than being upset by the incident; on the contrary, the waiter made them feel safe, that they were in a place where people are heard and taken care. In this instance, the waiter has not allowed himself to experience negative emotions but rather he has practiced empathy, transmitting good vibes to the other customers.
Good customer service is an emotional skill based on empathy (the ability to interpret other’s feelings beyond words and to handle those feelings adroitly in social situations); therefore, an entrepreneur needs by all means to have good emotional intelligence that allows him to manage his emotions correctly and, beyond them, see life according to his vision, his world and his emotional philosophy.
The way we react is related to our personal experiences and our emotional memory. There is an interconnection between what we think (cognition), what we feel (emotions, feelings) and our behavior or actions that is manifested by our conduct or our acts of volition.
According to experts on the subject, human happiness consists of feeling as many pleasant emotions as possible that will allow us to interact in a healthy, happy and contagious manner at the same point where thoughts, feelings-emotions and actions converge. Free of any kind of so-called emotional toxins (persons who inhibit our capacity to feel good, happy and spontaneous and to have a positive attitude that will allow us to live a more worthy and responsible life).
Positive emotions and good actions are contagious. From Aristotle to present-day scholars, it has been shown that human beings tend to learn by imitation, and studies have discovered that when someone looks at another’s face he or she tends to repeat the other person’s gestures. When we are with a person who smiles and is happy, these positive emotions become contagious and draw us to them; on the other hand, in the contrary case, we tend to reject persons who are negative and ill-humored wo only transmit bad emotions. Emotions are energy that is transmitted by electrical impulses. In this regard, a person’s emotional state will radically influence his environment in the same way in which everything that we see, hear, touch and taste is absorbed by us and drives us to act. Previously, we had talked about the function our feelings play in relation to our emotions; e.g., an unpleasant odor drives us away, while a pleasant aroma invites us to experience pleasure. The big issue is feeling good or feeling bad, turning away or moving closer, hence the importance of contributing to creating a satisfactory emotional climate in our work and family environments.
This is why it is indispensable to generate in our business an atmosphere that invites the flow of good emotions and that our customers will choose us. What we may attain through different strategies. First, let’s mention the importance of image, not only the entrepreneur’s but also the one generated by the business atmosphere itself and the presentation of the product or service, without disregarding that of the person providing the service. Creating a climate of closeness, safety and trust can be achieved with the very setting and design, the use of special sounds or music, colors, textures, particular smells and aromas, taste and good humor, among others, that make our customers feel comfortable. All of these elements are perceived by the senses and trigger emotions and positive behaviors in association.