Earlier this month we discussed our core beliefs, conditional assumptions, and automatic thoughts. These provide the framework for how we interpret everyday conversations and respond to the world around us. When we understand our body’s natural response to these events, we can “filter” them and react in the way we choose!

BODY/Brain interactive Cycle

When an event occurs, our bodies respond with a feeling. We react based on how we feel and our reactions influence future events. But what if we want to change our natural reaction to these events? What shapes our initial reactions and how we interpret communication?

First, we need to understand only 10% of communication is content, or what is said and the other 90% of communication is the process, or how it is said. Even though the process makes up such a large part of our communication, it is the aspect that we often pretend doesn’t even exist. We need to learn how to talk about this process!

Cognitive Cycle

What filters the way we interpret communication?

There are many variables that effect the way we interpret communication, but the area I want to focus on is our Core Beliefs. How we feel about ourselves has a huge impact on how we find meaning in day to day communication.

Humans have a space between stimulus and response, giving us time to respond in a way that is most appropriate in a situation. Our personalities play a major part in determining how much space there is between stimulus and response, but our Core Beliefs are what will inform the “knee-jerk reaction” to each situation. One of the best ways to break up the stimulus and the response is to check the meaning; our initial reaction to/or assessment of the situation may not always be the one that is the most accurate. So how do we check the meaning? Well, the first way is to ask!

“Hey! When I asked you where my shirt was and you said ‘Really?,’ what exactly did you mean by that? It hurt my feelings.”

It can feel a little awkward at first to ask, but it all goes back to the process. We need to normalize discussing the process of communication, not just the content! Another way to check the meaning is to consider the circumstances and try to give the benefit of the doubt. The different meanings we assign to the communication result in different responses and by extension–different actions on our part!


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Next month we will shift our focus to Conflict Resolution! You can follow us on instagram @become.healthyandhappy for daily insights.

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TMS Education Night will be on Thursday, August 19th. Mark your calendars — more information to come!