There are more cells in the brain than stars in our visible galaxy, yet the brain is a mystery we’re barely beginning to unravel. Understanding how the mind influences our reactions, relationships, and emotions can boost our awareness and productivity.
Where do Emotions Come From?
Your perception including your sense of self, habits, behaviors, and even your ability to remember important phone numbers, is hard-wired.
Our ups and downs are directly linked to the chemicals swimming in our brain activating certain regions that house emotional responses. Chemicals known as neurotransmitters, as well as hormones, can determine whether we wake-up feeling stressed (cortisol), relaxed (serotonin), or ready to take on the world (dopamine), to name a few.
Green Light, Red Light, Go!
If you’ve ever jumped out of bed, panic-stricken because you thought the belt on your mattress was a snake…you’re not alone! You can thank your amygdala, an almond-shaped mass at the center of your brain, for all your emotional reactions based off fear.
Even a situation that isn’t inherently dangerous or life-threatening can activate police sirens. Since reactions are registered with the amygdala before your rational mind, the frontal cortex, can talk some sense into you.
Is Fear Hard-Wired?
Yes! Whether you’re the bravest soul alive or a first-rate fraidy cat, over time non-threatening situations are logged as red alerts.
For example, let’s say your boss is barking at you for clocking in late and simultaneously, the phone rings. If it happens enough times, you’ll find yourself cringing every time you hear the phone ring even though your boss is nowhere in sight.
It may not seem like a big deal, but these associations anchor to connections we’ve made as far back as our childhood and even determine how we act in new experiences.
3 Ways to Override the Brain Police
The good news is every 25-30 years your brain is completely new again! Here are three ways to kick old fears and say hello to new neural connections:
1) Beware of Mind Games!
Becoming aware of the little voice in your head that screams “danger!” when danger isn’t there is the first step to starting fresh! Override your automatic reflexes by doing the opposite of what you feel. Got stage fright? Join a theater class!
2) Work Smarter Not Harder
When you’re stressed out, you tend to error more and can’t think outside the box. Prioritize yourself accordingly by making important decisions when you’re in a good head-space.
3) Use Your Energy Wisely
Your brain requires a lot of energy to operate on a daily basis. Whether you like it or not, your brain power maxes out! Adjust your schedule to meet your biggest needs first, because by the time you check the last thing off your list, you’re likely running on fumes.
When you learn to notice the subtle ways you’re reacting vs. responding to a situation, it becomes easier to convert problems into solutions! Understanding your own brain and its quirks will let you focus on what’s really important.
To learn more about emotional intelligence click here!
By: Genesis Moreno