Yesterday, on a walk in the woods with a gifted young leader, I once again saw his ethics, openness and willingness to become vulnerable in order to learn new skills. Without notice a mountain biker appeared on our winding path and startled my friend’s dog Jack, who in return snapped at the bikers feet. The 20 minutes that followed taught me again about the value of snipping an amygdala before you snipe back like Jack did.
Moods Trigger Cool Choices
As the biker diminished my friend, it was obvious the man’s favorite spot to walk his dog had suddenly lost its magic. From their daily wonderland – the woods became a dreaded encounter with a biker who indicated he planned to ride there daily, and did not expect to encounter the dog. Did you know that in such cases your amygdala reacts from stored responses?
What’s around your next corner that could hurt, or disappoint, or leave you feeling sad or guilty and in mental ruts for days? Any person who reaches out to others vulnerably, like my friend does, also opens pathways to cynics who reject, belittle, or ignore you because they disapprove of who you are or what you represent. Sometimes it’s merely a matter of forgiving a guy who ruined your walk with a dog – to regain good moods.
Snip Amygdala Before you Snipe Back
Even today, you might feel the sting of words spoken by a trusted colleague, open a card from a family member and find any affection obvious from its absence, or encounter a person you care for who makes plans that deliberately exclude you. Each encounter that stings, rejects, criticizes, or diminishes you also locks steel jaws onto your amygdala. Luckily though, jaws that create intense emotional pain, can also become a trigger to snip your amygdala before you snipe back and intensify the damage. How so?
Rather than judge a culprit’s motives, regret your own weaknesses, or focus on deciphering what that person could be saying in meta-messages spoken, simply snip away. Sure, use good tone, and name the problem honestly rather than deny it exists, but then take mental scissors to snip your well being from any tethers to maligning words or thoughtless acts. The snipping leaves you mentally in a place to grow from the experience, or even offer an olive branch in response – rather than in a place of depression.
Refuse to Replay Personal Hurt Narratives
Refuse even to argue with yourself about the fact that a hurtful person may be trying to improve, and instead snip your amygdala from all actions that add sadness or worry. Remember, it’s not about another person, whom you cannot change. It’s not even about the horrors of a toxic workplace. Instead it’s about replenishing your deep pool of inner wellness, so that you can speak and act with respect even to those who disagree.
Finally focus on alternative activities that offer you challenge, fun or adventure, rather than replay hurtful acts mentally, and increase inner wounds. That divergence offers your brain a gentle place to build new neuron pathways to a healthier you. Through your focus on an activity you value, you’ll also reclaim your sense of wonder about life. You’ll welcome back that fleeing inner joy.
Have you been confronted with a shattering experience, yet remained calm on your own winding roads of adventure like my young friend? How will you snip your amygdala?
Let it Go!
You can truly let go – and break from inner pain or confusion to prepare your brain for a confident and courageous response. Yes, even when you confront a bully’s taunt’s or golf a round that disappoints. Have you seen it happen?
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