Let’s face it, culturally, emotions are frowned upon. Okay, not all emotions and not everywhere, but in general someone crying tends to make people anxious. And as a rule, we're just not that deep. For example when you say to someone “Hi, how are you?” the anticipated response is “good or fine or ok…How are you?” We’re not really asking how they are, it’s superficial.
It's as though we've been programmed to shy away from emotions and as nutritionists we have the added bonus of our science-based education to root us in logic. But here's the thing, emotions lead to behavior change.
Humans make decisions based on emotion and then justify that decision with facts. If your logical left brain needs evidence, take a look at all the product marketing out there. What you’re going to find is emotional hook followed by supporting facts.
As counselors we can be more successful in creating behavior change when we connect at the emotional level first. The idea is to engage with the underlying emotion that is driving that person to consider behavior change. Validate it, express it, get them to talk about it so they can recognize it as well and have greater motivation to change. Then, support that motivation with the nutrition facts. It takes a shift from the traditional approach to ensure we connect at an emotional level first and foremost. It means creating an atmosphere where our clients can trust us. And for some of us the hard part may be to not fear the tear.
But maybe this blog is too logical and what I should say is…Do you want to be remembered for sharing nutrition facts or for saving lives through emotion based counseling?