Amygdala Hijack!

January 11, 2014 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Play by Play 

Before yesterday I would not have had a label for it…  amygdala

Today – I experienced it.

This term was coined by Daniel Goleman.  He is behind EQ – Emotional Intelligence.  His work is based on the neuroscientist Joseph E. LeDoux’s focused work on the mechanisms of fear.   In a high level description, it is the activity that takes on in the brain when one experiences something that scares them.  Often this can be something that is not even rational.  Based on our own dysfunctional upbringings we have things that we are overly sensitive over.  Someone can say or do something that flips a switch inside of us and we find ourselves reacting irrationally before we have the ability to get a hold of the emotions.  Voices may raise, our physical bodies react – our heartbeat quickens, we stop breathing, our blood circulation and blood flow is actually reduced, there are chemicals released into our body.  When we experience that hijack and we feel a reaction and go into a flight or fight mode the adrenaflightfightl glands release hormones called CATECHOLAMINES – adrenaline and noradrenalin are released when our bodies experience this Amygdala Hijack.

From the thalamus, a part of the stimulus goes directly to the Amygdala while another part is sent to the thinking part of our brain. If there are experiences recorded in our memory that tells us this is a flight or fight situation, the Amygdala will take over the thinking part of our brain by releasing the hormones. The emotional brain registers activity milliseconds earlier than the rational brain so we end up reacting before the rational thinking responses can be activated.

Goleman explains that this hijack exhibits three signs:  “strong emotional reaction, sudden onset and post episode realization that the reaction was inappropriate.”

I was having a loving, nice conversation with a family member when suddenly they said something that triggered this response in me.  My reaction actually caused the same reaction in them; which took the conversation into a very ugly drama filled experience.  Afterwards, I worked to capture the things said and done by myself and them so I can review and work to find a way to respond rather than react when something like this happens again in the future.   Although I believe my thinking brain did re-enter the scene the hormones within the body made it very easy for the thinking brain to be slow to the respond to their reaction.  What a vicious circle.

circle

It is quite the coincidence that discussion in a leadership class I attend discussed this hijack yesterday.

So…. I can label it – now to be able to find the ability to always be present enough to let the thinking brain be faster than the Amygdala!!!!

 

Thanksgiving and Family Complications

November 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Play by Play 

I do love Thanksgiving – it is cool to see everyone giving gratitude for things in their life. I know it is important for us all to do this everyday and I do, every morning I spend 5 minutes giving gratitude for the awesomeness that is my life, but I still love the extra love in the air around this holiday. If just FEELS good.

We have found a very comfortable routine for the holidays. A routine on where we go, who comes over here and what we do on each of the holidays around my divorced parents. We are fortunate that we have only these two local family obligations. And it doesn’t feel like an obligation. At least until one particular “newer” family member – gets angry that we aren’t doing something they want us to do.

I don’t want to feel guilty. I refuse to feel guilty. My life is different today. I do things that I love, things that make me comfortable, things that make me happy. Our lives are busy, it is important that we ensure that we arent doing things out of obligation but because it makes us happy. I want to be me, I want to be around others that I am comfortable with during the special times of the holiday. I do not want to be crazy busy only to make everyone happy. Our holidays should be filled with love, with beauty and with enjoyment.

How do we tell those that we love that we don’t want to be with them? How do you make someone understand that just because you don’t want to do what they want you to do, that you care deeply about them?

My answer, show the love. Ensure you do what you need to do for you and show others that you love them. To spite their anger, show them you love them. Be strong, Be you, Be happy – and do it in love. If we act Right From The Heart, it can’t be wrong!!

The Holiday Season – Getting Overwhelmed

November 24, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Play by Play 

It is that time of year!  As the weather gets cold, Thanksgiving is around the corner and as soon as Thanksgiving hits the holidays and holiday parties are right behind that.  And, if you are like me, a daughter’s birthday is in between all of this!  In addition to the normal routines and things that need to be done we become busy with meal planning, gift buying, social calendar organizing, baking goodies and for many – this also becomes a time for numerous volunteer activities and needs from schools, work, and in our communities.  It is a normal time that we over commit and over do.  We over do our commitments, we over do social activities and we over drink and eat.  Or at least many do! 

If we always do this then it is important to find a way to deal with the emotions that arise during this busy time of year (and can also be applied to other busy, overwhelming times in your life). 

One thing is Definite

Not everything will get done.  It is fact. And.. life goes on! It always does.  I have never heard of  someone being physically hurt because something that had been planned  didn’t get done.  Keep this in mind as you start feeling overwhelmed.  Often, something that you have in your mind, on your list to do, that does not get done – will not even be missed (unless you choose to lament about it!!!) 

Prioritize

Put your things to do in a priority.  Most important to least important.  This should follow your values, it it doesn’t you will find that you will not accomplish what you really want and need to, or at minimum you will continue to beat yourself up for not getting everything on your list done. 

Perfection

Perfection can be looked at in two ways.  It either NEVER happens or – alternatively it is always perfect.  Obsessing over perfection not only drives you crazy it also drives everyone around you crazy.  Your family, those you count on helping, etc.  If you do YOUR best everything will be just the way it needs to be.  And again, depending on how you are more comfortable looking at something, it will either never be perfect, or, you can choose to look at it and know that it is perfect just the way it is. 

It IS a busy time, it is a time where we have many things to do, but remember, it does happen to us often (not only at this time of the year) and it ALWAYS works out.  Being able to choose a place of knowing this… will make you (and those around you) feel so much better and in the long run, is better for your health!

Enjoy this season, be grateful for all the wonderful things in your life and listen and watch for the wonderful, the beautiful, and the extraordinary.

Controlling People

September 13, 2010 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Play by Play 

In my last post I talked about how to deal with people that always have to be right. During my work on this I ran into mention of a book called Controlling People by Patricia Evans.

This book greatly added to my work around this issue.  The first that that she did was describe the relationships.  She described the controller and the witness.

A controller is a person who, as a child, they were created from the outside in.  Menaning that this child was not allowed to get in touch with their inner intuitive feelings and inner self.  They were constantly told how they felt; what they wanted and if they tried to exert themselves they were put down.  She used an example of a mother taking her daughter for ice cream.  She asked her daughter “What kind of ice cream do you want”;

Her daughter replied “Vanilla”

“Oh, you don’t want vanilla, look at all these flavors”

“Vanilla is fine”; repeated the daughter

“How about cotton candy?”

“No, vanilla”

“Just Vanilla? You are a strange one”

This little girl stood her ground.  How often do kids do this?  This little girl was told that she was strange because she doesn’t like vanilla.  So, if the child does not go ahead and choose another kind, they then take on this complex that they are strange, or some other “name” that the parent chooses.  This ultimately builds the child from the outside in.

So controllers are built from the outside in; they are disconnected from their intuitive self; thus they need desperately to be connected to something thus the control aspect kicks in.  Someone that isn’t connected to themselves – they work to connect to others from the outside in and they connect to what Patricia Evans referred to as a witness.  They are a witness because they often experience the controller doing or saying things that are irrational.

The connection a controller has with another becomes their safety zone.

For someone that is built from the outside in also builds others from the outside in.  They have a picture of the “perfect” spouse, or the “perfect” child, or the “perfect” employee or the “perfect” friend.  When this person doesn’t act perfect the controller acts irrational.  This behavior happens basically because the controller becomes afraid of disconnection, they see that the person before them and the person in their mind is not the same therefore they feel loss.  Controllers will see things that don’t exist, they have conversations that never happen, they fight desperately to prove that they are right.

I saw myself in both roles, both a witness (thus my current work) but also in the controller role.  As I have done work on growing and becoming a better person, I believe that the controller in me is easing up; however – I often look at myself and others from the outside in.

Working with this information about controllers and my previous work on dealing with others that always have to be right I am not focusing in on ensuring I continue to do my personal growth and personal development work.  It becomes even more important that I know who I am, what I want and what I stand for.  I need to live my life from my truth thus being able to be the spell-breaker that Patricia Evans also describes in her book and ensure that I am letting others do the same. 

The ideas that Patricia gave on how to break the spell is to

  • live from ones own inner truth
  • respect boundaries
  • do not react to the irrational actions as if they were valid
  • build your life on truth
  • protect your children
  • speak up
    • ask questions of the controller when they say something irrational
      • What?
      • What did you say?
      • Nonsense.
      • I heard that
      • What are you doing?

Would love to hear your thoughts about this post; other recommendations? Comments?  Additional Information?

3 Ways To Improve Your Life

August 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Play by Play 

Everyone has challenges.
Everyone has problems.
Everyone has road blocks.
Everyone has conflict.
Everyone experiences a rocky road from time to time.

Not everyone works on making their life better.
Not everyone decides to own their part of their problems.

Everyone that decides to own their part of their problems makes their life better.

There are millions of ways to make improve your life, but here are 3 actions you can take that steps towards making your life better.

Taking ownership or accountability for your problems.

It is only when you look at things in your life and decide to change yourself and the things that you control that things can take a turn. You can’t change other people – you can only change yourself. Give up all excuses; give up blaming and complaining.

Looking for the root cause/core issues.

It is likely that a cause of the problems in your life have to do with resentment, fear, criticism or guilt. By looking at the problems you have in your life you can start to uncover the core issues. This is a bit easier said than done. Looking at ourselves and trying to see through our limiting beliefs is much harder than judging others experiences. Start by noticing themes. Do you always meet people that do X to you? Is Y always happening? Once you find a theme; look to see how you feel about the transgression. Think back to being a kid – did you ever have this same feeling?  Once you can start pinpointing the core issues you can start working on the healing.

Choosing to be positive.

Choosing to be positive does not mean you ignore reality; it doesn’t mean you don’t work at fixing things that are not right. What it does mean is that you realize that there isn’t anything that you can do about something that has already happened except for change the way you look at it right NOW. Look for the positives in what happened and look for the ways to try and heal yourself. Many times this starts with forgiveness.

What are your feelings on these steps?  There are many things that one can do, but we all need a place to start… how about with these 3 ways to improve your life?

.

New Ideas Need Gestation

April 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Play by Play 

I seem to go through different cycles of the type of reading or things I pay attention to, or perhaps it is the Law of Attraction at work giving me the things I need to hear and read.  Recently my attention has been centered more on spirituality.  I have been listening to a really great series put on by Feminine Power called Women on the Edge of Evolution.  The speakers they have for this are just great and they are all free and downloadable for play.  (Click here to register and access the recordings!

Today I heard a piece that really made me think.  It made me think – because of the space I find myself in right now.  If you know me or are following the blog you know that I set out on a path 8 months ago to move away from the corporate world.  In that, I became very excited about one opportunity that I am involved with.  This opportunity led me down a road of education.  LOTS of internet marketing and Web 2.0 education. And it has been a blast.  I have loved doing this.  It also led to reading several books one of which (EMyth) took me deeper into thought around the exact business that I was going to start. (Here is my review of The EMyth Revisited and the review of The EMyth Enterprise.)  After reading these books and moving through the education, I have created a slight modification of what I had been originally looking at doing – both in my mind and on paper.  Then I hit a vacation, a couple projects at the J.O.B. and another week off and to my surprise and dismay – no real movement forward on my business. I spent my vacations totally unplugged.  (Many have said this is a good thing – however – there is a voice inside me saying if I want to start a business then I need to spend some time on it.)  I have been vacillating between beating myself up and telling myself all is as it should be.  The recording I heard that impacted me so much on this subject was the teleseminar with Mary Manin Morrissey. 

The conversation was focused on having ideas, passions and feelings of purpose and the feelings of impatience around this, that can settle in when working towards something new.  She said something that made an impact on me and resonated with me.  She indicated that every idea, every change, has an evolution.  Like everything in our universe – everything has a path that it follows from creation to birth, whether it is a seed that is planted in the ground or a baby growing in a mommy’s tummy.  There is a period of time that things go through gestation.  This is the time that something sits and prepares to be born.  Trees, babies, and yes, even ideas.  So, we come down again to patience. Patience has never been easy — I remember hearing  “Patience (Patients) are for doctors!”  Through this way of thinking about it, I am reminding myself that things take time, not everything can be rushed (to spite how the world pushes everything) and to give myself the ok for this break.  When this is ready to be born, things will activate again.  I need to focus on what matters and be grateful for all that I have in my life today.  Remember the power of NOW!

Would love to hear anyone else’s ideas on how they remain patient waiting for things to take their own time.

30 Day Challenge – No Gluten

My next 30 Day challenge will actually be one of two challenges I have going on at the same time. I decided to do two this month. All of my previous challenges have dealt with NOT DOING something. This one falls in line with that same challenge. I will have a diet that does not include Gluten which means NOT eating anything with gluten (wheat). My other challenge (Meditate 30 minutes daily for 30 days) will deal with DOING something every day for 30 days.

I officially started on April 6th; thus day 30 will be May 5th. No Gluten will be huge for my diet. Bread, tortillas (my mexican food!) and pasta are items that play large roles in my meals. I believe that this challenge will be my most challenging one thus far and I also expect that it may have a large impact on my health.

Would love to hear from others that have gone through the elimination of gluten from their diets!

30 Day Challenge – No Alcohol – DONE!

March 24th marked my 30th day of No Alcohol! It was completed successfully.

Out of all my challenges thus far this year, I thought this would be the hardest. This challenge was definitely challenging but I did find it easier than I had expected it to be.  As mentioned in a prior post, my drinking habits consist of a couple glasses of wine – 5 days a week on average.  In addition to my normal lifestyle there were several extra-curricular social activities over the month that I would have normally had a drink that would have helped me feel more comfortable. Being able to go through these events without this crutch was satisfying. It was satisfying to have made it through these without drinking and dealing directly with my typical feelings of inadequacy while in these types of social settings.  (Something that I continue to work on!)

As far as health, this challenge made very little impact here.  I didn’t have any weight loss however what I did notice was that I was able to sleep much better – deeper really.

Going forward I will be cutting back my intake for two reasons. One, I do believe it is healthier for me both for my physical health but also my mental health and two, as we work to pay off our debt this will definitely help us save some on outgoing expenditures (did I ever mention that we tend to like more expensive wines?)

These challenges have been great for me on different levels.  I have felt that exercising this “will” is good for me.  I do find that I am finding some other impulse activities being easier to slow down and make real decisions around.  So, on to my next challenges!

No Alcohol Challenge

No Alcohol – My New 30 Day Challenge

On February 23rd I started Day One of my new challenge — No Alcohol. Out of all of my challenges I think this one may be more difficult than the others. I am not a big partier, full-bottle-wine-glass-1however – I definitely like having a glass of wine. So as of today I am on Day 8 and it hasn’t been too difficult. This last weekend was the first weekend. Friday was a bit hard but after that… it was all good. It is really special that my husband is so supportive of all these challenges as well. With all of them he has either cooked without the item or has gone without as well. Just one of the millions of reasons I love him so much! My history consists of having one or two glasses a wine five days a week on average. I also enjoy a margarita with my Mexican food.

So, the new challenge is on!