I just heard Mario Alonso Puig speak at the Entrepreneur’s Organisation University at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona. Mario Alonso Puig is a brain surgeon who has spent 30 years looking at the changes in the brain caused by stress, negativity, depression and the role of the “little voice”.
There are 3 “little voices” that are highly dis-empowering when we are confronted with difficulties, mistakes or failure:
It was amazing to see the rapid chain reaction of one negative thought of the hopelessness, worthlessness or helplessness variety (begins in the right prefrontal cortex, just above and behind your right eye) to triggering the Amygdala and Hypothalamus to release ACTH (signalling “in immediate danger”) to the brain and leading to release of AD, NAD and steroids (“enter survival mode”). The immediate effect of the release of steroids is to divert blood flow from the cortex, or human thinking brain, to the brain stem or animal brain. One negative thought can change the whole chemistry of the brain.
Mario Alonso’s advice for when this negativity “kidnaps” us (a normal response when cancer tumor is diagnosed, we confront loss of job, reduction in value of assets) – Get control of three things:
- Body – Don’t allow depressive body posture, stand up straight. Get moving, do exercise. Breath deeply and fill the lungs with air.
- Attention – We need to shift our attention to regaining control. The initial question when we confront a negative situation is “Why me?” This is a useless and meaningless question that will only waste resources. Ask “What can I do? What can I learn?”
- Sharing – We need to talk about how we feel with others. He suggests that this is particularly difficult for men who tend to react to negative feelings by closing down and definitely not sharing the way they feel. Chemical studies of the brain show the powerful positive effect of just speaking about how you feel to another person.
So, when we are overwhelmed, the ACTH and steroid drug cocktail hits the brain and we feel helpless and hopeless we can stand up straight, ask “What can I do?” and share the way we feel…