Wednesday, April 19, 2006

How does the brain react when I'm feeling angry or upset? Do I have any control over these responses? (Candy)

You could be feeling angry or upset because, through your senses (ears, eyes etc), your amygdala has perceived a threat. So your limbic system triggers the distribution of adrenaline and hormones to literally prepare your body to fight off the threat or flight, run like crazy away from it. Your heart starts thumping to get the blood to the large muscles in your legs, you might even go pale as the blood streams there too. You might feel sick or you might need to run to the loo - because your body has suspended digestive functions to concentrate on the fight or flight necessity. You may shake, become tense, get a headache - all symptoms of your body's preparation for fight or flight.

If it is a real life threatening situation, then you'll be pleased all this is happening, it's life saving. Often however it is not - it's just that the amygdala has reacted without waiting for the neo-cortex - thinking or rational part of the brain) to let it know what the real situation is. And then we can just 'go off' and do or say something we regret and this is The Almond Effect.

You can train yourself to control these through a number of ways. The first and most important one is to develop strong self-awareness, to be able to instantly realise when your body is showing signs of stress (adrenaline flow etc) or you find yourself reacting emotionally not rationally. Then you can immediately deploy the strategy that most works for you to calm yourself down.

I am about 3 weeks away from completing an e-book and a CD on a more detailed look at how to control The Almond Effect. Email me if you want more details.

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