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The Body and Brain Say: “We’re Warning You…”

colorful brain

“Are you Leslie Schreiber?” the stern, male voice demanded on the phone asked.  “This is Lieutenant S. from the Sheriff’s Department.”  Gulp.  My mind raced.  When was the last time I was in R-land and what did I do?!

“Yes,” I replied tentatively. My heart was pounding.  “I saw you on TV,” he barked.   I could feel my adrenaline kick in.

I quickly weighed my options.  Do I deny everything?  Ask for a lawyer?  Hang up?

“And we’re interested in hiring you for some training and…”

Whew. Deep breathes.  My body relaxed.  I could think clearly again.

Where did my mind go in those few seconds?  Guilt, fear, paranoia, etc…  And my body exhibited the behaviors of stress – increased heart rate and increased adrenaline being most common.  I’ve also experienced increased sweating, flushed neck and face, and feeling nauseas.

Why?

This is a reaction called emotional hijacking when the limbic or emotional center of our brain, specifically our amygdala, takes over.  It’s hard to think rationally and feel in control.  Our tendency is to fight or flight or freeze in these moments.  Our bodies prepare us for battle, for fleeing, or for camouflaging.

But when you can recognize your emotional and physical responses, then you are better prepared to handle your verbal response.  We are fortunate to have this warning system hard wired into our brains.  As you become more in tune with your specific warning system, the easier it becomes to communicate more calmly and clearly, keeping your emotions in perspective.

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