WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR BRAIN WHEN YOU GET ANGRY OR UNDER STRESSFUL SITUATIONS
Anger is one of the top stressors that shrinks your brain so it’s important to learn tricks.
Your emotional center, which includes the amygdala (part of the Reptilian we talked about in our previous blog) has a reciprocal relationship with your frontal lobe, also called Neo-Cortex, the thinking brain, the logical and rational center,
When you get overemotional, whether angry, fearful, or hyper-anxious, the amygdala dials up and the frontal lobe dials down.
Anger takes over, empathy and compassion decline and you lose the ability to accurately assess how other people feel. As a result, while angry, there’s a greater chance you’ll say things you will probably regret. You are less likely to make rational decisions, and more likely to make regrettable ones.
THE GOOD NEWS, YOU CAN SWITCH GEARS
You can easily do it with our brain training program but what can you do on your own?
You can stop this anger cascade of brain-draining neurochemicals and “inflation” of the reptilian center by quickly switching gears and letting your rational lobe put the brakes on the anger area.
Michelle C. was telling us that she was going outside and having deep breaths to give herself time to rethink the situation. But these waves of anger were coming too often, and it was becoming more and more difficult for her to balance her emotional center to be better able to respond rationally and with empathy.
INFLAMED WITH ANGER, WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR BRAIN?
Over time, the neurochemicals released by persistent anger gradually “shrink” the empathy center of your brain, impairing the ability to think and act with compassion even when you aren’t actively angry.
Especially people already suffering from immune system dysfunctions experience a flare-up of their pains, such as arthritis, following an angry outburst. Uncontrolled prolonged anger floods your brain with biochemicals that lead to neuroinflammation, the root cause of most brain illnesses. Following with forgiveness may quell these flare-ups says Dr. Sears.
Calm, cool, and collected is a classic wisdom summarizing anger management.
First, you calm down. You can do that with deep breathing, this helps put your frontal lobe back in control. Second, you stay cool and finally, you get collected.
I suppose you don’t want to be this person labeled as “They are such an angry person!”
WHY DOES YOUR BRAIN SOMETIMES JUST NOT WANT TO FOLLOW?
From our experience, if you have had trauma(s) that too often stay active or barely dormant, some words or attitudes of others easily re-activate these traumas.
In the case of Michelle, and of many clients we’ve seen and helped, she was experiencing what is called PTSD which she was oblivious to. Michelle had been emotionally abused as a child, and her parents were never happy with her. She got married and had kids, and now that she is a grandma when she sees the same attitude toward her grandchildren that she had suffered from, she becomes angry and frustrated. When the amygdala is inflamed, we see threats sometimes even if they are not there. Are her grandkids abused or is it her perception of it? Anyhow the Brain training program she is doing is helping her to calm down and assess the situation with more clarity. Now she can collect her thoughts and empathically imagine what she could say and how she could say it to make her, her son, and his wife feel safe and understood and be able to change what needs to change. As I told her “Nobody is perfect, as parents you and I haven’t been perfect, don’t ask them to be the way You want them to be. But compassionately share your thoughts!” And with our program, she can do it!
I like to say that trauma leaves a kind of wound and anything that even brushes on it or is too closely similar (or perceived as) and you will overreact. Neurofeedback can clean the emotional impact of traumas and help you to overcome over-reacting toward “provocative” situations and then you won’t be impacted by them anymore.
Below are some time-tested tips for Better Anger Management by Dr. Sears.
Tame the trigger. Identify what tends to set you off or light your fuse. Anger and tiredness can play a big role, so we try not to enter potentially anger-triggering discussions, particularly before bedtime. Be aware that social media and internet overload can upset your calm and trigger anger. Know when to turn it off. Alcohol, while a relaxant for some, may trigger anger for others.
Interrupt the flow. Reprogram your mood mind to take time between experiencing an anger trigger and reacting to it. Prolonging your reaction time gives your rage center a chance to dial down, better enabling you to offer a rational response.
Walk it off. If you are struggling to delay your reaction time, try quickly walking away from the scene of the crime-to-be, your anger outburst. Moving your body helps move your mind away from your anger response. Just tell your loved ones what you are doing first, so they understand.
Shield your anger center. Quickly think “no access allowed” to angry thoughts.
Imagine wrapping a protective shield around your anger center, the amygdala, to prevent it from firing brain-draining neurochemical bullets (stress hormones) all over your brain! This will help you from thinking and acting irrationally.
Gabrielle is working in customer service in the truck industry, and she is the one who receives clients’ complaints. Some of them are distressing calls and she tended to feel angry herself and this was happening too often. Today, after her neurofeedback training program she can stay calm, and her brain is not bothered anymore. Her rational thinking is very active, she doesn’t personally take any angry outbursts from clients, and her empathy centers always quickly come into action too. It’s life-changing for her, and she gets now very good reviews for her excellent attitude. She recently has been promoted to be the manager of this service.
Remember how persistent anger gradually “shrinks” the empathy center of the brain? Fortunately, the reverse is also true. As we know today, the more you think about or exercise compassion, the more you increase the blood flow and neurochemical stimulation of the empathy centers in your brain, making you less prone over time to the outburst of anger. One of the best ways to do this is our brain training coupled with visualization or imagery. Neurofeedback sessions are even more powerful with faster and easier results than meditation, particularly if you have distraction or difficulty to focus tendency.
What happens in your brain with targeted Neurofeedback sessions?
Neurofeedback sessions will calm down your amygdala and activate the Neo-Cortex and this will trigger higher levels of dopamine, which explain the sense of relaxation, happiness, and peacefulness our clients always experience. As well, Neurofeedback sessions, by dropping stress hormones, and rising calming hormones explain why our clients experience how easy it becomes to handle daily stress, in other words, to navigate healthfully through stressful situations. And our clients usually report making better decisions, which improve their relationships and better business decisions, increasing their wealth!
Schedule your complimentary session to see how we can help you! We all deserve to be happy, and successful, and see our loved ones do the same! With Neurofeedback sessions and our tailored programs, it’s easy and results are lasting!
Dr. Danielle, Marie-Laure, and their team