Amygdala? You might be asking what that is. To learn a lot more, look up Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. She is amazing!
To learn a little more, I'm posting an excerpt from a great OpenForum.com article:
The 90 second rule is a powerful tool for self-management. It gives our brain time to engage the left pre-frontal cortex which has an inhibitory circuit for the amygdala. We can then choose a more socially intelligent response.
While we cannot live in a bubble wrap when it comes to emotions, there is a lot we can do to manage an amygdala hijack. Besides the 90 second pause, here are a few, additional, cool-down tactics to prevent emotions from clouding our judgment:
1. Heed the physical manifestations. Before our amygdala hijacks our thinking brain, our body gives us plenty of signals: a clenched jaw, increased heart rate, a tightening in the vocal cords, feeling flush in the face or other similar reactions. These are alarm bells that we should not tune out. They are our first opportunity to intervene and prevent the emotion from escalating.
2. Take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing delivers more oxygen to the brain and helps us to calm down so that we can focus our attention and think more clearly.
3. Acknowledge the emotion. Take a moment to focus on what you are feeling, for example, telling yourself: “I am starting to get angry” or “I am feeling anxious.” In a research paper in Psychological Sciences entitledPutting Feeling into Words, Dr. Matthew D. Lieberman et al report that labeling feelings helps to weaken the amygdala response. In other words, it buys you time.
4. Reframe how you see the situation. Cognitive reframing or reappraisal is a conscious re-interpretation of a situation to shift our frame of reference to a more positive one. For example: “He is shooting down my idea to belittle me in front of my peers” could be viewed as “He is challenging me because this proposal impacts his bottom line.” Scientists have found that the conscious act of reframing engages the frontal cortex and dampens the amygdala. If you need coaching on how to achieve this, consider reading Coaching With the Brain in Mind: Foundations for Practice by David Rock and Linda J. Page.
5. Know your triggers. We are more likely to experience an amygdala hijack if we are fatigued from working long hours without time for renewal, or if we are experiencing stress at work or at home. In that state, a trigger can set us off. Become very intimate with your personal triggers so that you are not blindsided by your emotional reactions.
For example, if one of your deep-seated values is punctuality and you are meeting with someone who is habitually 30 minutes late for meetings, this could be a trigger to cause you to lose your grace. If harmony is something you value deeply and you are surrounded by negativity and excessive criticism, this could also be a trigger. Know your emotional hot buttons. Who are the corporate button-pushers in your life? Self-awareness precedes self-management.
6. Practice mindful meditation. Scientific studies reported in This Emotional Life, a PBS program, have discovered that meditation helps us cultivate the capacity to restrain our impulsive emotional reactions. A habit of meditating strengthens our ability to remain cool under fire. Just as music is referred to as the silence between the notes, so meditation is “the silence between thoughts.” If practiced regularly, it quiets the emotional noise in our lives, strengthens our self-control and can drop anxiety by 50 percent.
7. Help others restore equilibrium. If you are a leader, it is important for you to recognize the signs of the onset of an amygdala hijack in a constituent and to help him or her restore equilibrium. Make an effort to know the stressors and energizers for your people. For example, for some, having to cope with sudden change or lack of control over their schedule of work can be particularly stressful. Do your part in creating a good place to work by being a model of composure for your people. It is an admirable leadership trait.
- I take responsibility for my energy.
- I choose to raise my vibration for myself and the greater good.
- My ego doesn't control my actions, thoughts or feelings. I have a loving relationship with my ego.
- I empower myself to live in love.