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Monday, February 4, 2013

Your Brain@Work: Post #8--Threats & Rewards

Threats and Rewards: Dr. Evian Gordon, founder of the Brain Resource Company (world’s largest brain database) says: “Minimize danger, maximize rewards is the organizing principle of the brain.” The limbic system constantly switches between these two—either toward or away from stimuli. This switching takes place in about a half a second or less. When we get overaroused, the limbic system sends out a flood of emotional warning flashes. Those flashes have the following effects: Our ability to use the PFC is reduced significantly; our ability to solve problems drops; we get more negative, defensive and less willing to agree; and, we become much less appealing or attractive to others. Labeling emotions helps you dampen down the effects of this emotional arousal. Repressing emotions takes a lot of cognitive bandwidth and is very hard to do. Interestingly, such suppression gives off a subconscious vibe felt by others and makes them feel uncomfortable. It’s like second-hand emotional smoke. When you feel emotions coming on, rather than trying to suppress them, give them a label to recognize what’s happening and reduce the threat response. When you feel anger creeping in, you might say to yourself, “I’m just knee-jerk reacting.”  The quicker you can intervene when you feel strong emotion coming on, the better. Reappraisal is a key tactic to suppress limbic reaction and ensure higher functioning PFC and better control.

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