Thursday, April 18, 2013

Preventing a Hijacking

Have you ever said something and 18 minutes later you regretted every word? 

As the regulator of emotions, your brain’s amygdala serves as the Air Traffic Controller of external stimuli that come in through your five senses. The "hijack" occurs when your body reacts without thinking (without consulting the frontal lobe) when faced with a potential threat.

At times, this is extremely helpful: a car pulls in front of you and you hit the brakes without consciously thinking, "Look! I'm about to have a wreck. I better step on the brake!" or you see a snake and before you evaluating what type of snake it is, you jump a safe distance away.

The problems occur when you our amygdala continues to "fire" and we, in turn, continue to react defensively without stopping to think about whether or not I reactions are the best ones. A common example of this is when we are in a heated argument. We are feeling threatened and our amygdala is trying to defend us. In our perceived defense, we actually say and do things that are ultimately harmful to the relationship.

Reflect on a recent hijack in your own life. How did it develop? What was the end result?

The above post was taken from the Prevention Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP) and our workshop, Playing Nice in the Sandbox.

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