Eric is a like a friend who helps deal with difficult situations. As male friends go, there are blokes and there are guys. Eric is a guy. Let me explain why.
ERIC is an acronym, that stands for
I first encountered ERIC when looking around a learning and development site (www.businessballs.com) that offers free resources for people and organisations. ERIC has since become a great friend to me and many friends and associates.
Emotions and control
I am currently working in a customer service role. At times, dealing with conflict is part of the daily routine. Conflict situations can be emotionally charged. Sometimes the passion and energy that is emitted by one person can inflame another. Emotions cannot necessarily be controlled. However, they can be managed.
The lesson ERIC offers is that if you can manage your own emotions, you can avoid escalating the conflict. As suggested, when you are emotional you may regret reactions that result in inappropriate things said or done.
Your brain’s role
The brain is made up of different parts that each work in different ways. The “emotional brain” or the part responsible for processing emotions is the limbic system. The limbic system is made up of the hypothalamus, amygdala, hippocampus and limbic cortex.
The amygdala assesses the emotional value of stimuli and determines a response eg fight or flight. The actual response is regulated by the hypothalamus. In a life-threatening situation, an immediate response of fight or flight might determine your survival. The same mechanism can engage when you clash with someone, even though there is far less at stake.
Do you get emotional or does emotion get you?
As humans have evolved, so have our brains. What has developed is our ability to self-regulate. Or has it? Eric highlights the potential to choose to exercise it. What this requires is awareness and taking the time to choose your next step. A useful tactic in dealing with conflict is to have POISE.
- Pause before you respond. This might mean taking a breath, thinking and/or asking a question to buy some time.
- Objective – try and take an objective view of the situation.
- Information – seek out facts and circumstances.
- Select your response.
- Exercise your choice.
The most critical step here is pause. By taking a moment to slow things down, you allow your higher-order brain functions to kick in and rational thinking and reasoning to catch up.
Conflict can arise in work, social and home situations. Dealing with them effectively goes a long way to managing effective relationships.
ERIC can be your friend
I like to think of Eric as a small friend who sits on one shoulder. A laconic companion, Eric sits beside you and has a word in your ear as necessary. He is no burden to carry but he does need to be recognised. Will you give Eric a go?
- Khan Academy: Three components of emotion and the universal emotions via Khan Academy on You Tube
- Shaw, Edwina. 2017. How to make friends with your reptilian brain in Uplift, posted 31 January 2017.
- Uttley, Caitlin. 2018. “5 Ways Your Brain Influences Your Emotions” 8 August 2011. HowStuffWorks.com. 30 August 2018