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Why You Can’t Stop a Tantrum

Closeup portrait displeased angry pissed off aggressive woman driving car, shouting at someone, fist hand up in air isolated traffic background. Emotional intelligence concept. Negative human emotion

Did you ever hear a child screaming bloody murder in a public place and the parents act as if they barely notice. It’s because they know they can’t reason with their child at that point, and such is the case for adults when under the control of their lizard brain. As a chemical fire storm transpires in our brain, all common sense is put on hold, we behave like that child; act out and think unreasonably.

The newest part of our brain the prefrontal cortex, ideally should enable us to over ride our lizard brain and be calm and reasonable in the face of problems and disappointments. However, that takes maturity and our brains aren’t even fully developed until we are about twenty-seven years old. By that time we are pretty adept at allowing our rage and frustration to over take us. This prefrontal cortex is our awareness system; it is where we decide, plan, and make responsible choices. I referred to it earlier as our “head office” This is what gives us the capacity to think out into the future, back into the past and then evaluate both to make sense of the present.

Right now the one who is in charge of your behavior/feeling center is your back office, not your newer reasonable thinking front office as you might hope. In my book I teach you how to switch the control over to the thinking part of your brain so you no longer have to feel like you are possessed because some idiot just flipped you off. (But I don hope that idiot is reading this so we can all behave better)

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DO YOU KNOW WHY YOU REALLY GET ANGRY?

anger-management-e1350559463885Wonder why you get angry so easy? The average person has between 32 and 48 thoughts per minute, according to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern California and the National Science Foundation. That can add up to a total of 70,000 thoughts per day! However, what is scary is that several studies have also shown that 80 percent of those thoughts are negative, and 90 percent of those are similar to the ones you had the day before! 90%!  Now we all have genuine situations to deal with but at those times when your brain pushes the panic button and has you yelling over something small, I can assure you there is something else going on in your mind creating the firestorm, and probably something unrelated. At the early stage of getting upset, you generally have an inaccurate perception of what is angering you. Underlying thoughts and memories from the past often attach themselves to the things happening in the present, causing you to overreact. You may be ruminating on something upsetting that took place yesterday when you suddenly spill something and let out a stream of expletives. All the while, you are completely unaware of what really triggered your outburst.

In my new book I teach you how to separate an upsetting event from your ongoing undercurrent of worrisome thoughts. Only then will you be able to figure out what you are really feeling, and therefore how to feel better. Because that’s your brain, a never-ending stream of what ifs and worry about how life did or will go wrong. Welcome to the Worry-Go-RoundThe average person has between 32 and 48 thoughts per minute, according to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern California and the National Science Foundation. That can add up to a total of 70,000 thoughts per day! Several studies have also shown that 80 percent of those thoughts are negative, and 90 percent of which are similar to the ones you had the day before!

BUY NEW BOOK Wired To Worry on Amazon

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YOU CAN THANK THE AMYGDALA FOR THE RIOTS IN BALTIMORE

Like a gladiator jumping over a wall into the middle of a battle, that uneducated, ancient part of your brain has the final say regarding what you need to do to survive. Simply trying to think your way out of a panic will not help. Once the amygdala releases those fight-or-flight hormones into your system, it is all systems go! Have you ever tried telling someone who was yelling to calm down? A lot of good that did, right?

How long does it take for your amygdala to have your head spinning? Less than a second. For my women readers of a certain age, if you have ever had hot flashes, you can verify that they seem to come out of nowhere, very quickly, without provocation. Actually, hot flashes are due to a thought that just triggered a fear or concern, and it happens even when you are sleeping. You never noticed it because even a small concern causes your amygdala to react. While these chemicals are in play, you will feel very justified as you yell or have a tantrum, but when they dissipate, you wonder, “Why did I react like that and get upset over something so trivial?” You did it because your brain thought your life was in danger, and in the blink of an eye, you reacted instinctively.

In a social context, people with similar fears and frustrations will feel validated as they join together in groups, gangs, or cults. When the dreaded “group mentality” kicks in, a dangerous momentum can take place.

Your brain likes to be in agreement with others because staying with the crowd thousands of years ago gave you protection. Have you noticed that when you have a disagreement with someone, each of you is in defense mode? Your brain reacts as though the physical you—and not just your opinion—are in danger!

In this context, people may even join gangs or other groups with which they have very little in common other than their outrage, yet that one common factor can result in them taking violent political positions or engaging in all out war. All of the violence in the world can be traced back to an amygdala that screams, “Kill or be killed!”

BUY NEW BOOK Wired To Worry on Amazon

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