FREE Thinking: Ambrose Bierce is often quoted as saying, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”.
Humans are emotional beings with brains designed to react to real or perceived threats to ensure our survival. The challenge is to distinguish between perceptions that trigger survival impulses and alternative perceptions that can motivate effective actions that move us forward. How can we and others make this empowering distinction?
Learning how to take a healthy “time out” to calm a perceived threat and to cool down an emotional impulse allows us to reflect and focus. It can buy us some needed time to consider possible new narratives and perspectives before taking action.
Delay Response is a self-management practice to help us shift our thinking and emotional state to choose the actions that move us forward from being stuck in a challenging situation.
“Who is powerful? He that governs his Passions.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
When an event or circumstance occurs, our brains take in this sensory experience and begin to immediately process whether this situation is a threat to our survival. Our perceptions and beliefs activate emotions which then motivate behaviors or actions.
Powerful emotions such as anger, frustration, resentment and anxiety make it challenging for each of us, as humans, to override our automatic impulses.
These emotional reactions or amygdale hijacks are often triggered by a variety of external circumstances called Hot Buttons.
When a Hot Button gets triggered, the resulting amygdale hijack biologically limits us to three (3) possible options; to fight, flight (avoid) or freeze for the sole purpose of survival.
Each of us has unique experiences from the time we are born that form our respective brain patterns. Neuroscience research proves that our experiences, perceptions and memories are frequently inaccurate; yet, we believe what we think and feel to be the only truth.
Unfortunately, this “all or nothing” thinking often fails to consider other possible ways to interpret the situation and we miss discovery of effective options to move forward.
“All or nothing” thinking as defined by Bill Eddy, in his book, It’s All Your Fault at Work, (www.highconflictinstitute.com) sets the stage for the automatic cycle of extreme emotions that typically unfold into predictable harmful conflict dynamics.
How can we recognize when our Hot Buttons get triggered and what it would take to “cool down” that Hot Button before taking actions we are likely to regret later?
The goal is to break out of the cycle of “all or nothing” thinking which is focused on blame and personalities with a shift to flexible thinking. Flexible thinking can open up new perspectives that focus on ideas, goals and objective issues to be resolved. Delay response allows flexible thinking to occur in challenging situations.
Preview of Part 2: Peace in Chaos With Delay Response Vs. Avoid