Emotion’s Window of Opportunity

Emotion's Window of Opportunity

A window of opportunity opens after our emotions activate and after their message arrives in the cortex for evaluation. Only then can we begin to think about what is happening to us. When the window opens, the cooler breezes of rational thoughts blow in our minds — if we let them. To practice and learn the importance of immediately asking ourselves “What is the best thing to do?” and thinking it through is what our ancestors meant when they encouraged us to count to ten before we reacted to a sudden event. They did not know how our emotions functioned.  But they instinctively knew we had to think through the situation. They also knew that we could change our emotions after they had flared by reasoning with ourselves.

Apologizing Is No Putdown

When we need to change our emotion for a better path of action, we can, without undue embarrassment, introduce the change with simple phrases,  like:

  • “I’m sorry, I should be doing such and such.”
  • “Let me change that….”
  • “On second thought…”

Apologizing for a wrong reaction is no putdown, so we need not feel bad.

Gain Emotional Control “As Quickly As Possible” through the Window of Opportunity

Changing the “automatic” emotional reaction when we first feel its surge is when we have the best chance to do so. “As quickly as possible” should be the goal of any attempt at emotional control. When we catch and change our emotions quickly, it builds our confidence in being able to master our emotions.  It also engenders respect and trust from others. As we have discovered, the way we are built, we are not expected to always produce the right emotion immediately.  We simply have to end up with the best reaction we can muster — one that does no damage to others or us.

Seize the Window of Opportunity to Make Quick Changes

We can’t do better than our best.  But with practice, our best will improve. If the emotion continues and we can’t seem to arrest it to change our feelings when we know we need to change them, all is not lost. We must seized the next moment we can to think and evaluate the emotion. Then we must make whatever changes are needed.

Emotional Reactions Are NOT Inferior to Reasoning

Down with the ignorant thought that emotional reactions are somehow inferior to our reasoning powers or are a sign of weakness. Let’s remember: emotions make life rich and meaningful.  And these uncontrollable first surges of emotion warn us of needed actions.  They are part of our wise design.

Emotion is involved in our every thought and action, so building awareness of our emotions helps us to change them when we need to make a change. The trick is to be able to develop them, manage them, and use their power for the good of others and ourselves.  The trick begins with stopping them from escalating into a devastating storm. Grasping a window of opportunity offers our chance to achieve this goal. We will expand on this in detail in a future article.


Intelligently Emotional Book CoverMy hope is that this book will lead you, as its content has led many others, to be intelligently emotional. If it helps you to develop the intelligent use of your emotions and a rewarding lifestyle, my labor will not have been in vain.  You can access it HERE.  If you are subscribed to our weekly updates, our next issue will provide a link to purchase it with a 15% discount and free shipping.





Lean into the whole truth.  Discover the truth of who YOU are — the “Real You” — and who your children truly are.  Discover how to best engage your children in finding the whole truth.  INNERKINETICS, Your Blueprint to Excellence and Happiness, is a great resource.

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