Create a healthy balance of neurochemicals
Did you know that whatever neurochemicals are activated just before you engage in an activity or serious conversation, can have a dramatic impact on the outcome? For instance if you just experienced a stressful situation, it is likely cortisol was released, your blood pressure is elevated. It takes from twenty minutes to two hours (every person is different) for your cortisol level to return to its normal state. This can affect your disposition and how you would respond to other situations. Imagine what happens when your brain releases, each of the different neurochemicals and how it would affect your disposition.
I find the brain very fascinating, and the health of our brains deserves so much more attention than it gets, but that's another story. I've been reading the book Habits of a Happy Brain by Loretta Graziano Breuning, PHD. In it she describes how the chemicals of our brain work together to promote our survival. She states, "our brain doesn't release a happy chemical until it sees a way to meet a survival need, like food, safety, and social support.
We need a healthy balance of these neurochemicals for our survival. When we understand and recognize how and when each chemical is released it enables us to better manage our own emotions, even help others.
Have you ever had a conversation that went south really quick and it caught you by surprise?
It is likely they had something happen to upset or frustrate them just before you approached them. The experience elevates their cortisol level, triggering the brain to kick into survival mode, closing off the pathways to higher level thinking (cortex). You are then responding from the limbic system which is your emotional core, so the reaction will likely be emotional, it is when people snap, lose their cool, say things they don't mean.
So what can you do with all this information?
My hope is that with this new awareness you feel empowered to find healthy ways to boost your mood and the moods of the people around you. For example, have you ever tried to make someone laugh? You are intentionally trying to lift someones spirits. There are many ways to boost the flow of positive neurochemicals in the brain, here are a few more ways.
At work . . .
Include more people when you go to lunch.
Look for, recognize and personal acknowledge peoples strengths
Create a team atmosphere, so people "feel" genuinely cared for, one for all and all for one.
Plan to do more together to build social bonds.
Experiment with physical activities as team building events. (bowling, softball, local hikes)
At home . . .
Differentiate between the person and their behavior to protect their self esteem.
Be genuine, encourage and recognize positive behavior in specific terms. For example, "Wow, an apple, I've noticed you are making really healthy choices."
Appreciate and recognize the simple things.
Find more ways to be active together.
Discover the power of siting down and eating meals together (with no gadgets)
Hi I'm Karen, a certified life and ADHD coach. I partner with creative, energetic professionals to develop strategies for making life and work more manageable.