Use this test created by Master NLP practitioners Karen Meager and John McLachlan from Monkey Puzzle Training to help you distinguish where your emotional regulation might be out of balance.
- You are driving down the road and someone pulls out in front of you. You are able to stop in time, but only just. Do you:
A) Feel angry at the other driver for being so incompetent and not looking.
B) Think of all the possible disastrous consequences that could have happens if there had been an accident.
C) Feel shaky and become hyper vigilant for the rest of your journey.
D) Feel bad that you might have been going too fast, and that was probably your fault.
E) Feel nothing, it’s just one of those things.
- Your friend is having a bad time with their partner. Do you:
A) Feel annoyed that they have been so badly treated and when you speak you end up both recounting all the bad things the partner has done. If you could you would help them to take revenge.
B) Worry about them a lot because they are feeling so bad. If only you could help them to feel better.
C) Feel concerned for their future and think through all the possible bad endings in the situation.
D) Report the story to people you know in common, it might feel a bit indiscrete but it saves your friend having to tell them.
E) Respond to any requests for help, but it’s their problem not yours and so best to let them deal with it themselves.
- You are having a meal out for a special occasion and the service is really bad and a few peoples’ meals are not very good. Do you:
A) Complain of behalf of the table, even if your dinner is fine. Someone has to sort this out.
B) Feel sad, the occasion is ruined now.
C) Worry that someone might get food poisoning.
D) Try and keep the peace. It’s not too bad and you don’t want to make a scene.
E) Decide to yourself you won’t come back, but not get involved.
- Regular words or phrases your vocabulary include (just pick the nearest to you – you won’t use them all):
A) Must, obviously, fight, attack head on, intervene, tackle.
B) Need, understand, useless, pointless, hopeless, dark.
C) Concern, worry, mustn’t, avoid, fear, disaster, catastrophe.
D) Should, sorry, fault, blame.
E) Possibly, observe, think, logically, fact, you (rather than I – uses third person a lot).
- Your boss has been absent for a while and you’ve just learned they will be off sick for a number of months. Do you:
A) Feel angry that they have let you and the team down at an important time.
B) Hope they get better and that it’s nothing serious.
C) Worry about how the team will cope, hope we don’t drop the ball, keep running through all that needs doing in your head.
D) Feel the weight of responsibility fall into your lap, as always.
E) Immediately start making a plan for their absence or don’t think it will affect you.
Total up your answers and below see where your emotional regulation develop lies. This is not an exact science, it does give you an indication especially if you answered strongly in one area.
You most likely have overactive Fight chemicals running around your brain and body. Therefore you are at risk of overreacting to circumstances which trigger anger or frustration and you are likely to jump in and take over sometimes when it is not needed.
You are most likely to get excessively sad. Excessive sadness comes when your mind looks for the sadness in situations, often outside of your conscious awareness, leading you ruminate over worst case scenarios, excessively bad outcomes and over empathise with others in bad situations.
You are most likely to have overactive Flight chemicals running around your brain and body. You are likely to see danger in more situations than most people, have disproportionate fears about peoples reactions and worry about things you can’t control.
You are most likely to feel excessive blame or responsibility. You are very concerned about being wrong or doing wrong and can be overly concerned about other peoples’ opinions, even to the point of doing things specifically to avoid criticism.
Whilst a lot of these responses appeared rational, if you answered 4 or 5 in this category then it is likely that your emotional regulation issue lies in not feeling, rather than over feeling an emotion.
You can find out more about how your brain works by downloading our guide
Understand How Your Brain Works.
About the authors: Karen Meager and John McLachlan founded Monkey Puzzle Training in 2007 and are co-authors of Time Mastery: Banish Time Management Forever (£12.99, Panoma Press). As master trainers of Neuro Linguistic Programming they hold a wealth of experience between them, and run courses on NLP in Bristol and Glasgow, as well as offering free regular webinars. Karen and John take the latest in academic thinking, and convey how such schools of thought may be beneficial in both business and individuals personal lives.
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