The Psychology of Intent, Impact and Trust — Dr Christian Heim: Preventative Mental Health – The Global Tofay

The Psychology of Intent, Impact and Trust — Dr Christian Heim: Preventative Mental Health - The Global Tofay Global Today

By saying it or showing it, we share our mind with another person. Actions speak louder than words; they have more impact. Through non-verbal communication – eye contact, tone of voice, posture, looks, touches and behaviour – we read each other’s intentions much more than we realize. We can almost read each other’s minds, but not quite. That’s why so many people are sensitive to bad intent and impact. All of this is influenced by personality: some of us are naturally more open, others closed; some more agreeable others less so; some very sensitive, others not; some more neurotic others less. Personalities can clash by being too different or too similar. This affects our intentions and the perceived impacts. Human interactions are psychologically very complex, so we need to rely on trust.



Trust is a feeling of comfort and ease with someone else. It feels very good when you can trust someone, and very uncomfortable when you can’t. The mind likes feeling comfortable. Because we all have the ability to hurt others, we all need to learn to trust and be trustworthy. With trust, micro-aggression and adverse impacts are unlikely; without it … well. As cliché as it sounds, people who have been hurt trust others less. This too is under-appreciated.

Studies show that trusting people have a larger prefrontal cortex (where we think), and a larger insula (for monitoring how we come across). Trust is mediated by the brain chemical oxytocin. The higher the oxytocin, the more trust. If we choose to trust, we raise oxytocin levels which leads to more trust. It’s a positive cycle. If we choose not to trust, we lower oxytocin levels and trust less. It’s a negative cycle. The more we trust, the more we see others’ good intentions. The less trust, the more chance of adverse impact and micro-aggressions.



Trust builds a bridge. Distrust erects a wall. Aim to be trusting and to be trust-worthy. This takes time spent with people – empathizing with them, crying, laughing, playing and sharing with them – rather than with screens. Studies show that the more screen time, the less your ability to trust and empathize. The more you trust and the more others trust you, the more chance your good intention will come across in a good impact. The less trusting and trust-worthy, the more chance that your good intent will be misunderstood and result in an adverse impact. Copious screen use is contributing to distrust, isolation and suspicion in society and, possibly, an increase in perceived micro-aggressions.

If your good intentions result in an adverse impact for whatever reason, remember to listen, apologize, and build bridges again for good feelings underneath.

 you’ll never go wrong when you listen and apologize.

Build BRIDGES OF TRUST rather than walls of distrust.

Aim for good ‘feelings underneath’.

It takes bridges of trust to carry good thoughts and good feelings.

Take Care

Dr Christian Heim


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