Intellect Over Emotion: Why Not Let Spock Command the USS Emotionprise?
Dear, blogosphere space travelers! You’ve just beamed aboard the starship ‘Psychology,’ on a voyage through the fascinating cosmos of the human psyche. Today, we are navigating to the depths of something we’re all too familiar with: our emotions.
Grab your Vulcan ears and stick with me: it’s time to fully understand why your intellect needs to start running the show.
If you want to skip all the fluff and jump right into the worksheet click the PDF link below.
With emotions more colorful than a Picasso painting, we humans can experience an emotional roller coaster ride (bumper cars…now that would be easier) every day. From the peaks of unbounded joy to the desolate valleys of anxiety, our emotional voyage can be quite tumultuous. Do you hear that Vulcan wisdom whispering, “Fascinating…”?
Why Should We Place Intellect Over Emotion?
While our emotions give us the ability to experience life in vibrant colors (and occasional shades of grey), they can also take us off course, especially when they bypass our intellectual GPS.
This is why it’s essential for our intellect to mediate these emotions, acting as the captain of our psychological starship.
According to psychologists (let’s say their Vulcan names are D’Amasio and Kahneman), our emotions cloud our judgments and decision-making (D’Amasio, 1994; Kahneman & Tversky, 1982). Ever tried wearing rose-colored glasses in a ship’s command center? Yeah, me neither – because that would be disastrous. Use your intellect, people.
Intellect steps into the feat of reasoning, sweeping away the emotional fog and helping us to navigate toward rational decisions. It’s like having your own personal Spock – logical, calm, and a green-blooded hobgoblin (look up Dr. McCoy’s quotes if you don’t get that one).
Another perk of intellect playing referee to our emotions is mastering the art of emotional regulation. Akin to Scotty yelling, “Ye cannae change the laws of physics!” our intellect shouts, “Ye cannae go on an emotional haywire!” A study by John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey confirms this, showing the role of wisdom in managing emotions and reactions effectively (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).
Intellect Over Emotion Doesn’t Mean No Emotion!
Feel like a Vulcan yet? Not to worry, humor drives this starship, too. Remember the times when you’ve reacted to something while riding an emotional rollercoaster? A giant teddy bear seems like a GREAT carnival prize until you’re lugging it around all day. Game over. That’s our emotions without intellect’s intervention.
And without intellect steering the starship of our emotions, we’re prone to crash into the asteroid field of stress, anxiety, and other mental health enemies. Use intellect, it’s there to guide us through the vast cosmos of balanced emotional health (Salovey, Bedell, Detweiler, & Mayer, 1999).
So, fellow space travelers, isn’t it high time to elect our intellectual Spock as the captain of our emotional USS Enterprise? Don’t worry, you won’t turn green.
Till next time – remember to go boldly where your intellect leads you!
Disclaimer: No Vulcan or Starship was harmed in the writing of this blog post. The Emotionprise continues to navigate carefully under the firm and logical hand of Captain Intellect
Damasio, A. R. (1994). Descartes’ error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York: Putnam.
Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1982). The psychology of preferences. Scientific American, 246(1), 160-173.
Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is Emotional Intelligence? In P. Salovey & D. Sluyter (Eds.), Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence: Implications for Educators (pp. 3-31). New York: Basic Books.
Salovey, P., Bedell, B. T., Detweiler, J. B., & Mayer, J. D. (1999). Coping intelligently: Emotional intelligence and the coping process. In C. R. Snyder (Ed.), Coping: The psychology of what works (pp. 141-164). New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press.