Are You Suffering From Lack of Emotional Reward?

Are you giving yourself adequate emotional rewards? Do you give yourself a pat on the back, a high five, a WaaaHoo or ceremonial congratulations for a job well-done? If not, you are suffering from inadequate emotional rewards.

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was awarded the Nobel Prize for the study of animal/human behavior stimulated by rewards, his most noted research on the laws of performance by conditioned reflexes. His discoveries paved the way for an objective science of behavior. Pavlov’s research proved that animals and humans can be trained to respond to a certain way by a particular stimulus. An important principle in conditioned learning is that an established conditioned response (salivating in the case of dogs) decreases in intensity if the conditioned stimulus (bell) is repeatedly presented without the unconditioned stimulus (food). This process is called extinction.

In practical terms Pavlov proved that when animals or humans are rewarded for their efforts they are consistent in performance. Thus, when you reward yourself for your efforts to achieve a goal you continue to consistently perform. When the reward is withdrawn, the performance is extinguished.

Pavlov proved that you can predict behavior based on positive reinforcement or lack of it. Can you sense your enthusiasm cells reacting to the concept? There are four factors that apply in a behavior to create positive reinforcement.

• Positive reward frequency
• Positive reward needs to fit the person/circumstance
• Duration and continuation of reward needs to be on-going (no hit and miss)
• The reward needs to fit the effort required to produce the expected behavior/performance: the greater the effort the greater the reward.

It is clear that if your rewards are infrequent, too conservative and/or prone to stop even though the behavioral demands continue, you will suffer, possibly becoming discouraged, losing enthusiasm, or quit.

Even more critical, if the effort to perform increases, the behavior to reinforcement ratio, also, needs to be increased and, if not met, results in an inadequate reward state.

The bottom line is that the quality of your life and health highly depends on your ability to reward yourself consistently in proportion to the effort you put out. When the output and rewards are balanced you stay motivated and remain positive about the tasks at hand, even though some tasks are more challenging.

As an entrepreneur or employee chances are you are focusing on the bottom line rather than your emotional needs when you are deciding whether to give yourself a reward consistently in proportion to the effort you are expending. However, rewards are not about whether you give yourself a new toy or a frivolous expenditure. Intrinsic rewards are as important as monetary rewards – a pat on the back, a high five, a ceremonial congratulations or time off. Monetary rewards, however, do not need to be expensive.

The point is this – work, play and reward proportionately. The cost of not giving yourself rewards as you go is far greater to your emotional, psychological and biological health than the cost of the reward itself in time or money.

When setting a goal, also, set the reward, thus, you know what you will enjoy when the task is completed. I started my reward system when I was nine-years old. Each day I had a number of chores to accomplish. I rewarded myself with reading, playing a board game or going for a walk Not, that I couldn’t do those things anyway, but, I timed when I could do it by when I completed the task. Therefore, if I completed a task in less time I was able to reward myself sooner than later. I still give myself delicious rewards. Now that this article is completed in less time than I allowed, I can spend more time relaxing doing nothing while listening to music.

Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, Metaphysician – Certified Hypnosis Practitioner, Author and Speaker. Dr. Dorothy facilitates clearing blocks, fears and limiting beliefs. You can live the life you desire. She brings awareness to concepts not typically obvious to one’s thoughts and feelings.