Our body chemistry influences our behaviour

Summary: We may be born with a certain neuro-chemical sensitivity and this shapes a big part of our behaviour, but with deliberate practice, we can learn how to positively react to various situations triggered by our sensitivity.

One of the surprising things that I became aware of, when I was listening to the book “Emotional intelligence” by Daniel Goleman, was the fact that we are born with a certain brain chemistry that influences how we behave in certain situations. This is, of course, not the only thing that influences us.

What does this mean?

That means, broadly speaking, that we’re not all born equal from this perspective. Some will be born more shy, some more outgoing. Some more anger-prone, some more calm.

Some will need to work to be a bit more outgoing or more optimistic and that’s gonna be a great win for them. And it takes time, if effort is put in. At the same time, an outgoing person is already at an advantage and they can use their energy on something else.

Why does this matter?

A few reasons why our brain chemistry sensitivity matters:

  1. We are not fully in control of our reactions — we’re born with certain predispositions.
  2. People around us are also not in full control of their reactions — so we can offer our help. And also cut them some slack by understanding they’re clumsy, just like us.

What can we do about it?

The great news is that we can learn to be more skilled at how we behave and react. Our brain has the capacity to adapt, even for adults. It’s called neuroplasticity.

Here’s a few things we can do about it to help ourselves:

  1. Reflect one what these predispositions mean for us and what are the consequences. It can be a good investment.
  2. Take any course or lesson on how to work on our behaviour. For example, one such short course that I took is “Leading with Emotional Intelligence” by Britt Andreatta on Lynda.com. It took two hours, but it was time well spent.

Reflection time

What are your positive behaviours that help you daily at work or in your relationships? Are you maybe kind, well organized with tasks, very analytical or good at talking with people?

What about your negative behaviours? Think about the past 12 months and the situations that triggered you to react in ways that you’re not the most proud of.

A short list of that can be a good way to raise awareness on yourself and start working to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives.