Sometimes you encounter people along life's journey
and you have to STOP and say......WOW!
Then take a moment and be GRATEFUL
that this is NOT your life!
I just got home from my GRATEFUL Graduation Get-Away
in Hollywood, California where I had the most amazing time
with one of my dearest friends in all the world,
.....in the Airbnb condo next to ours was the most ANGRY woman
I have come across in a very long time.
I have not seen or heard anything quite like this
and had forgotten that there are people doing life
with EXTREME amounts of daily anger.
image from bravotv.com
All 4 days we were in California... you could set your watch by it....
there was going to be a nightly battle.
GRANTED... I do NOT live with these people,
and do NOT proclaim to know any of their history or their story....
so I can only give you a neuroscience perspective
of the ENERGY coming from that room,
and tell you a little about the inner workings of the BRAINs
of myself, and the couple involved during these OUTBURSTS....
image from computing.ece.vt.edu
When people fight.... (to the level of hostility), universal things are happening
in the brain (even in laboratory mice).... that you may not be aware of.
Each hostile argument, (such as those I witnessed in California), cause an increase in activity
and blood flow to the amygdala or reptilian part of our brain.
hence the terms.... acting like "an animal"
or "they were out of their mind"
Anger also activates the alarm system, or "emotional reaction" station in the pons
which is located in the brain stem. And... according to a recently published study
by Dr. Grigori Enikolopov, head of MIPT's Laboratory on Brain Stem Cells,
"The act of anger makes us angrier."
image by spectrumnews.org
In this MIPT research study, scientists were able to specifically study
the tendency toward aggression and volatility during an argument,
by tracing the brain activity (of the mice) all the way to the cellular level.
This study is groundbreaking in the efforts to understand human anger
and the universal epidemic of violent actions our species is taking
toward one another based on
Witnessing the arguments I overheard in California (from my 4 day neighbor)
following the heels of the terrible sadness in Santa Fe;
studies like these carry a great deal more significance and
stand to offer another perspective into hostile anger
as well as how to help those who tend to respond in a violent manner.
image by nature.com
During the course of the hostile mouse experiment, neurological research showed
that anger seemed to increase with each "winning" mouse altercation
and even created NEW NEURONS wired for anger and aggression in the "winning" mouse's hippocampus.
(this is where long-term memories are retrieved)
This is crucial information as it might correlate to "bullies",
particularly in adolescence, and how with each so-called "win"
could come an increase in the desire to repeat the behavior.
Another research study published in
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Volume 11
revealed that even flashing the written word ANGER for a split second,
as apposed to the word RELAX,
altered a participant's ability to perform simple cognitive procedures.
The study showed that even when there was no altercation
and the experiment was merely a list of non-invasive words,
simply seeing the word ANGER
changed the blood pressure of those in the study, as well as,
revealed a vast impairment in their decision making skills.
Professors performing the study said
"Anger compromises the cognitive process and skews neural activity."
image by mirror.co.uk
To test this theory, use the neuroscience of emotions on yourself....
I read about an experiment (used on couples who couldn't seem to get along)
in which they asked each of them to set a timer for 3 minutes
and visualize something someone does that makes you feel frustrated
and angry to the point of being upset enough you’d raise your voice.
(Use the visualization technique I spoke about a few weeks ago)
and imagine with great detail how you feel as you hold those frustrating images in your mind.
Then, replay "the angry story" your brain tells itself as the event is happening.
When the timer rings..... TAKE NOTE of how you feel and how your body feels
as the wheels run about in your angry mind.
image by shutterstock.com
NOW.... USE GRATITUDE to do the opposite.
Give yourself 4 minutes this time.... you will be surprised how angry you can get and how much time it takes to let go of something that you only IMAGINED in your mind!
Sit and think of all the things you genuinely LOVE about someone you care about....
Let your mind fill with detailed visualization of how grateful you are that they _f_i_l_l__i_n__t_h_e__b_l_a_n_k___!
Notice and FEEL the differences in
how Anger made you feel vs. genuine GRATITUDE
toward someone you love.
and.... even though the people we love
are usually the ones we tend to get angry with most often...
STOP and remember....
they get angry with you too!
In a world filled with so many angry people....
"be the change you wish to see in the world." Gandhi
Be the one who can STOP in the midst of a moment of frustration
and changes the loop you are running in your brain.
Focus your MENTAL IMAGERY on that which you are GRATEFUL for
rather than that which makes you angry.
Grateful people don't do cruel things to one another.
I truly believe a GRATITUDE Curriculum should be in place in each
and every one of the middle and high school classrooms in this country.
There are mounds of evidence showing
how it changes the adolescent brain in incredible ways: by
improving self esteem,
increasing overall health,
generating better sleep,
increased school pride,
and greater bonds of trust.
IT can do nothing but help!
image by cuteanimalpicturesandvideos.com
Anger only GIVES YOUR POWER AWAY.
so.....use your power to help BUILD a better life.
Help your brain work at its highest functioning levels.
Anger literally keeps people from thinking clearly...
when you hear the phrase "He was so mad, he wasn't in his right mind"...
you now know the neuroscience as to why.
Use your POWER to change your situation.
When people upset you, hurt you, or make you feel uncomfortable....
and remove yourself from trading negative brain patterns with them.
I am NOT saying to ignore something dangerous....
Don't EVER let someone mistreat you!
BUT... take an honest look at the things most of us fuss about (including myself)
1. laundry NOT in the hamper
2. who drank the last coke
3. not behaving like I WANTED
4. too much stuff on the counter
5. letting the dog out. etc.
THESE daily angers..... are NOT WORTH wiring your brain to be upset over!
keep your power,
remove yourself from angry environments,
go outside & JUMP for joy that you have A BRAIN that can choose to THINK differently,
and use GRATITUDE to create a Brain that works FOR YOU instead of against you!
Staci is a one-of-a-kind mix of JOY and Neuroscience who is teaching people all over the world to BUILD a BETTER BRAIN by using Gratitude to create a BRIGHTER future. She has a Master's Degree in Educational NEUROSCIENCE and 25 years of teaching experience where she developed a reputation for being able to uncover potential in others like no one else could. Let her teach you how to live a HAPPIER Life by using the neuroscience of GRATITUDE to rewire your brain and build a better future!