To be effective at controlling our urges and making sound decisions, the prefrontal cortex needs to be looked after. Like muscles it needs enough energy and oxygen to be able to soothe the fears of the amygdala.
Remember the 6-second rule. It takes the chemicals that are released during an amygdala hijacking about 6 seconds to dissipate. Take 6 seconds to take 6 deep breaths or focus on something funny you heard (anything that will help you focus on something else) until the initial overreaction reduces.
Count your blessings. It is hard to be in two emotional states at the same time, and gratitude counters an amygdala hijack. It is not always easy to appreciate the person who is the source of your reaction conflict, so focus on other parts of your own life, such as your family and friends. People who cultivate an attitude of daily gratitude see their stress hormone cortisol reduced by 23%.
Stop negative self talk. Listen to what you are saying to yourself. If you hear yourself saying things like “I’m not worth it.”, “I can’t do this”, “They won’t listen to me.”, “He doesn’t value me.”I should have prepared better.” , “This is always happening to me.”, ” I will never get this right.” , ” She doesn’t trust me.” , be sure that you are heading for an amygdala hijack. Ask yourself if what you are saying is true. Do you have facts that prove that the negative things you say to yourself are correct? Are you 100% sure that what you think others think about you is actually what they think? Of course not! Snap out of it!
Click here for last weeks strategies.
Part 1: Stop and breathe – Observe the situation – Say what is going on.