A viewer recently suggested that the 2020s are less roaring and more raging – the Raging 2020s. We recently saw Will Smith lash out on a national broadcast, and this month we take a moment to reflect on amygdala hijack, the triggers, and what we can do to avoid them. What can we learn from both Will Smith’s and Chris Rock’s behaviors?
I am joined by fellow authors and coaches Kimberly Layne and Twiana Armstrong.
Kimberly Layne: https://www.kimberly-layne.com/
Twiana Armstrong: https://linkedin.com/in/twianaarmstrong
I recently read the following quote, “Resilience requires the ability to learn from and bounce back from failure.” What does that look like when the failure is suddenly our inability to show up as our best self? From healthcare to self-care, some would argue that the evolution of American medicine from the Roaring 1920’s to the roaring 2020’s, is challenged to provide a complete cornucopia of care. “Throughout the 1920’s new technologies and new science led to the discovery of vitamins and to increasing knowledge of hormones and body chemistry.” In the 2020’s, the cornucopia of medicine must include self-care breakthroughs that promote resiliency. Resiliency for emotional and mental well-being, especially during trauma inducing episodes, is at the heart of the evolution of medicine. Traumatic events are often triggered by incidents referred to as amygdala hijacks that sometimes activate a fight or flight response to highly emotional and stressful situations. Situations characterized by fear, anxiety, aggression, and anger that can generate illogical and irrational comebacks. Whether leading self or leading others, identify and establish self-care goals that not only build your emotional intelligence, but will also drive your ability to be resilient.
Yes, Twiana, self-care is at the heart of our wellness. We all can act out with an emotional response or impulse when we are triggered by someone or something, that “attacks” ourselves or our connections; and we fail to do the “self-check” before we react- to this “amygdala highjack.”
Recently we had all witnessed the “Will Smith Moment,” at the Oscars Ceremony and Will’s emotional response to Chris Rock’s comment.
I imagine the Chris Rock also had an amygdala hijack – “I was just hit by Will Smith.” Yet, his response was quite different than Will Smith’s.
What sets us up for those reactive, unprofessional, emotional responses that put our emotional brain in full absolute control? Could it be the visually and globally connected world, the prevalence of self-promotion or self-display on social media, our own health, wellness and stress levels, and ceaseless “noise” of monumental expectations?
How can we come from a different place in those moments, or catch ourselves before we do or say something we might regret?
Chris Rock appeared to catch his amygdala hijack moment. He paused with a moment of self-awareness which led to his self-regulation and restraint. Moreover, in his recent public engagements, he continues to state “that he is processing and will continue to process what happened that night, and his response to it.
I believe National Televisión provided us with this poignant moment as a “Learning Lesson” for all of us to take inventory of our own emotional health and wellness and determine if we have our own self-awareness and self-control running at the highest capacity or show up as the best version of ourselves?
This topic reminds of Robert Sapolsky’s book Behave. Not only does Sapolsky talk about the brain chemistry of amygdala hijack at the moment of the hijack he also talks about the preconditioning of the brain leading up to the hijack and the influences that result in these predispositions.
When your amygdala is hijacked, the emotional part of your brain takes over and disconnects from the reasoning part of the brain.
In this state, we can lose our ability to assess the consequences of our actions, and can lash out in highly inappropriate ways.
Many times, our amygdala is hijacked out of our very strong fear of experiencing feelings of shame. Humans will go to great lengths to avoid feeling shame. Ironically, their behaviors often lead to a greater shame than the one that they were trying to avoid in the first place!
Twiana mentioned that greater self awareness can help us identify our triggers for amygdala hi-jack. I think that the Enneagram is a terrific tool for becoming more self-aware. In fact, there is an Enneagram type that is highly sensitive to feelings of shame, for instance.
Once you know your Enneagram type, you will better understand your possible triggers. That self-awareness can help you recognize when your amygdala is at risk of hi jack and help you avoid taking an action that you may later regret.
Chris Rock’s behaviors have served as a great model of self-restraint—holding back on lashing out with an emotional response. I really applaud Chris Rock’s conduct throughout this entire incident. And we all have a lot to learn from this.
#emotionalintelligence #enneagram #amygdalahijack #EQ #selfawareness