The following is taken from the PREP (Prevention Relationship Enhancement Program) and the workshops Playing Nice in the Sandbox and Winning the Workplace Challenge.
Last Thursday, I discussed the Amygdala Hijack. In today’s post, I want to show you the four steps to preventing an Amygdala Hijack or how to get control of your temper before you lose it.
Stop. Simply stop the discussion and cease traveling down the road that is going to damage your relationships. Yes, it’s just like hitting the brakes.
Oxygenate: breathe. By taking a deep breath, we force oxygen to our brain, which in turn, soothes the amygdala by telling it there is no real threat.
Pause and Appreciate: “think grateful”. When we think of things we are thankful for (especially in connection to the person we are starting to argue with), our brain, again, ceases to see the other person as a threat.
Seek information: ask questions. Making emphatic statements (“You always!” or “You never!”) causes our amygdala firing. Asking questions switches our brain into learning mode which allows our frontal lobe to re-engage.
Reflect on a recent hijack in your own life. Take a moment to write down how applying these four steps could have changed the outcome of that conversation.