Coping Strategies

Affect Scale

”Affektbilanz” developed by Dr. Maja Storch, Dr. Frank Krause;

Sometimes, we have mixed feeling about something, but we cannot quite grasp it. That is because we have two different systems in our brain, which work simultaneously. The first one is called Nulceus Accumbens. Its focus are positive emotions and “rewarding” when you feel good about something. The second system is called Amygdala and targets negative emotions and “punishing” when you (seemingly) made a mistake or generally feel bad about something.
The problem is, that does to system work unconsciously, meaning that we cannot get a hold of them with logical, systematic thinking. That is why the Affect Scale focusses on intention. It looks like this:
It is important to notice that those two scales - one for positive emotions 😄 and one for negative ones 😣 - don’t have any scaling. Scalings are for the mind; we are focussing on what your gut says.
How to use the Affect Scale

It’s pretty simple: just draw a line on both scales where it feels right. Be quick. Where is your negative feeling and where is your positive one? My Affect Scale for math, for example, looks like this:

Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 22.43.45.png
I obviously don’t really like math. But there is also some positive emotion, because sometimes (I have to admit) math can actually be fun.
If you use the Affect Scale when it comes to more important matters than whether you like math or not, especially when it comes to decision making (”Do I want to buy this bike, or not?”) the question you have to ask yourself is:
What can I do to lower my minus?
Ex: “I could apaint the bike in a different color so it doesn’t look that terrible.”

And how do I increase my plus?
Ex: “I could plan a fun bike tour right after I bought it.”
By asking these questions you include your logical thinking. In order to make good decisions we always have to include our gut and our mind. If we only make decisions with pro-cons lists, we will end up unhappy and stumped. If we only decide on what our gut tells us to do, we become unorganized and - in the worst case - lose control.
The Affect Scale is an effective tool to figure out your emotions and make effective and fulfilling decisions.
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