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Getting Stuck In A Negative Mindset

Negatives can affect us at any time, and it’s not just about being in a positive or negative mindset.  As per my previous article, getting the right balance of emotions at any given time is key, especially for self-regulating our emotions as leaders and for when we’re working with others.

For instance, when we’re angry, frustrated, anxious or stressed, our instinctive primitive brain will take over.  Any discussion that goes against our values or sense of fairness becomes what our minds determine as a “threat” to our sense of self.  This in turn triggers the amygdala to send stress hormones round the body and we default to one of four responses:

  • Fight (keep arguing the point)
  • Flight (hide behind group consensus)
  • Freeze (keep quiet and disengage from the discussion) or
  • Appease (agree with your challenger).

To be able to take back control and remain calm in difficult situations, we need to be able to access our “reward” system.  But, as you can see from the film below, as humans we often get trapped in the negative “threat”.  It takes us considerably more work to get us back out of a negative thought spiral.

I ask my clients to build their “reward” brain muscle by practising a few simple daily tasks.  Just like building our physical muscles to be able to work better and achieve great results, the same goes with the brain.  It takes effort, but the rewards are worth it.

Find out more by contacting us for an initial discussion about how executive coaching can help you develop greater emotional intelligence for the home and the workplace.

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