Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat?

The difference between a thermometer and a thermostat is fairly obvious. A thermometer merely reacts to the temperature around it. It rises with heat and lowers with cold.  I think this can be a useful metaphor to consider regarding your ability to manage your emotions as well as those of the people around you. 

A thermostat works to keep the temperature within a healthy, safe or comfortable range, as the case may be. If things get too hot it sets into motion a cooling process. Too cold? A well-adjusted thermostat insures that some warmth will soon be available.

Are you a thermometer? Do you react to the emotional 'temperature' around you in such a way that you are simply going in the direction the energy around you dictates? Or are you more like a thermostat? Can you maintain a fairly stable range of emotions that allows you to both calm yourself when riled up as well as challenge complacency and conflict avoidance before it chills your bones?

A thermostat isn't intelligent, but it sure seems to operate a lot more effectively than many of us do at times.


Atlanta psychotherapist, counselor and life coach Bill Herring LCSW, CSAT offers advice, direction and feedback to people seeking guidance for sensitive personal concerns.  He especially values the opportunity to help people make sense of difficulties they have managing their sexual desires in a way that is healthy, empowered and fulfilling.