The pie graph to the side shows the components of communication from Albert Mehrabian's studies. When communicating with another person, we do not just communicate using words. We also use tone and body language. The studies showed that the actual words we use are less significant than the tone and body language (including facial expression) in order to get the full message from the speaker. Our emotions (emotional brain states) show in our body language and tone and we may end up communicating more through these than the actual words. We give the clearest communication when our words, tone, body language and facial expressions are all communicate the same message.
We encourage couples to shift out of protective brain states during conflict because research has shown that those who can shift out of protective brain states have greater success in relationships. See Brent Atkinson's description of how emotional states control our brains rather than our thinking at times and how protective emotions hijack our communication.
Our goals in providing this tutorial have been to demonstrate to anyone how to perceive emotions, how to use your emotions, how to understand emotions and how to manage emotions in a way that is true to yourself and promotes bonding. Your ability to know and regulate your emotions will have a direct impact on the level of connection you share with your friends or romantic partner.
Ask yourself these questions about each of the Emotional Brain States.