Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Living Lab

Yes, you too can be a scientist in the great lab called life.

As my husband and I work on my new website, we are provided with another excellent opportunity to observe science in the making. As we interact, it is interesting to note how we work together. Or at times, don't.

By becoming aware and getting curious you begin to notice how you do things. Like stress, for instance.

A certain mannerism, a sigh or a groan, even a tone of voice may trigger a stress response, fueled in part by the amygdala - a tiny gland that is big on recognizing patterns. Unfortunately, the patterns only have to be "close enough" to a previous fear/anger-producing event in order to implement the flight or fight response and release a cascade of 1400 chemical changes.

The great news is that you can circumvent this cascade by:
  1. Being aware that this cascade occurs.
  2. Getting curious about your triggers in a non-judgmental way. Beating yourself up about how you responded only serves to add to your stress.
  3. Learn techniques that are heart-activated. For example, use feelings of care and appreciation for oneself and the other person as you work together.
  4. Lots and lots of practise with your new behaviours. Don't worry, the fact that you're alive means you'll have plenty of opportunities to review in your daily interactions.
As for our living lab, we'll continue to practise! Life is a process, after all.

Photo courtesy of H. Berends

4 comments:

  1. Boy, did I learn from this post. Now that I know how triggers bring on harmful to health hazards, I'll be more aware.

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  2. BHB,
    It makes my heart sing to know that you benefited from this post. Thanks!

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  3. I totally concur that being aware of this cascade can help even save marraiges(;>.

    It reminds me that my mother used to say - don't cry for everything you have to save your tears. I guess when you become aware, you can choose whether to let something cause you to go to anger or to respond in happiness.

    marcie

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  4. Marcia,
    You are exactly right! We do have a choice in how we respond.

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