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Ø The source of our emotional hijacks centres on the ‘Amygdala’ that handles emotional responses, especially primitive, primal stuff like fear and threats...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article is an excerpt from our self-coaching Toolkit for staff: EI at Work. If you would like to purchase a copy of this guide contact The Change Forum…

Attack of the Amygdalas!

Article from CC E-News Issue 15, Winter 2012

by Bill Cropper, Director - The Change Forum

 

Download Print version here


Attack of the Amygdalas? ...Sounds like one of those 1950’s science-fiction flicks! But Amygdala attacks are science fact, not fiction. In situations when feelings run hot, they run away with us. We’re likely to be hijacked by them. Whether you retreat into silence, say nothing and just smoulder, or explode and say things that are blunt, abrasive or blaming, over-heated emotions wind us up and end-up in argument, acrimony, accusation or abandonment that can slowly poison good working relationships.

Under the influence of strong feelings we feel helpless to control, we act in ways we find unfathomable, bewildering, upsetting and certainly counter-productive to getting constructive outcomes at work or anywhere else for that matter. We become immobilised, overwhelmed and drained by negative feelings, we lose the ability to focus or do anything to control these feelings and they run amok – usually right at a point where we most need to keep our wits about us. When defences go up and emotions run riot over reason, we’re hijacked! Game over. And that’s an Amygdala attack!

The neurological culprit behind emotional hijacks centres on a pair of almond-sized neural nodes mid-brain collectively called the ‘Amygdala’. Think of it as your fear and anger centre. It handles many emotional responses, especially primitive, primal stuff like our ‘fight-flight’ response. It actually responds first to things it picks up going on around us, way before our rational brain kicks in. The Amygdala runs a potent chemist shop full of powerful drugs that trigger in us automatic responses like fight, flight, or freeze. Meanwhile our rational brain stands idle as the Amygdala defends us from detected threats or perceived attacks.

You can’t prevent feelings firing off emotional action-charges. We’re brain-wired that way. But there’s better ways to manage anger and self-calm. You can stop feelings escalating emotional take-overs by noticing the behaviours you’re about to act-out. paying attention to what feelings are telling you to do, naming them accurately and mindfully in the moment and even change them by telling yourself a more balanced or even-minded story than the one that’s winding you up right now.

Learning to control Amygdala attacks and manage disruptive emotions more mindfully is critical to work and life success. It’s just one of the topics we touch on in our Emotional Intelligence at Work seminar specially designed to help staff understand and use emotions more positively at work, decrease dysfunctional patterns like anger, apathy and anxiety that turn teams toxic and raise levels of emotional self-awareness, resilience, empathy, focus, optimism and joy so essential to building happy, productive, connected workplaces that are warm, welcoming, inspiring and supportive.

The Change Forum has specialised in producing practical EI programs for executives, leaders, staff, teachers and teams since 2001. Our current range of EI clinics include:

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Leading with EI – a 2-day in-depth, applied coaching-practice clinic for leaders

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The EI Leader – a 1-day fast-track to introduce leaders to essential EI concepts

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EI at Work – a 1 or 2-day seminar for non-managerial staff on working with EI

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Teaching with EI – a 1 or 2-day clinic for teachers on EI classroom applications

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The Executive EI Leader – adapted to senior managers, executives and directors

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Social Intelligence: EI in Teams – a team-based exploration of EI dimensions

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Compassionate Leadership – advanced course on empathy, connectivity, compassion

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Mindful Leadership – include mindfulness practices for improved leader focus, resilience & emotional balance

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Connective Conversations – 2-day applied EI clinic on how to use EI practices for improved conversations
 

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Article copyright © Bill Cropper - The Change Forum 2012

 

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More topics and tips about conversational 'hijacks' in our Conversational Coaching E-NEWS Issue 15.

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Links to information on our leadership and team development programs through our Programs page

 

Contact BILL CROPPER to talk over your change and learning needs

billc@thechangeforum.com    OR    +61-(0)7-4068 7591 or Mob: +61-(0)429-687 513

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The EI LEADER: 1-day fast-track clinic

Emotional self-management is a critical competency for all capable leaders. Emotions affect how we think, how well we work in with and motivate others and of course, how we lead. This 1-day fast-track clinic for busy leaders overviews 7 key practices of emotionally Intelligent leaders and takes you through selected tools to cultivate connectivity and more constructive team relationships. ... More information and course outline here

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Social Intelligence: EI in TEAMS

The more positive emotional connection there is in a team, the more people feel friendly and focused. The reverse applies too... Apathy, anger or aggression set off emotional chain-reactions that turn teams toxic. Lots of us lack the emotional and social skills needed to form and maintain healthy team relationships.  Join us to explore 5 keys of team behaviour that can make a real difference to working well in your team. More information and course outline here

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EI at WORK: Working with Emotional Intelligence

Emotions matter for good work. EI skills are essential for happy, productive workplaces. When they’re not there, we notice. It’s just as important for STAFF to learn to manage emotions as it is for leaders. Come along to our 1-day interactive seminar to find out how emotional self-management can make a real difference to your work day, your team and your life... More information and course outline here

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Personal Mastery: LEADING with Emotional Intelligence

Leadership success relies on connectivity. If you want people to take committed action and put in a superior performance, you have to connect with them first. In order to connect well with others, leaders have to be in tune with their own emotional patterns. EI is the key to working out what drives behaviour and what inspires people to perform at their best. This 2-day practise-intensive clinic explores 7 Practices of EI leaders to energise your leadership and create connectivity.  More information and course outline here

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