Learn how to massage almonds and other critical Covid skills. Keep reading to figure out what the heck I’m talking about.
Repeat after me … amygdala (uh·mig·duh·luh). You now know how to say the word ‘almond’ in Greek.
Amygdala is the Greek word for almond. You have two almonds, or amygdalas, in your brain. And they are both your worst enemy and your best friend.
When sensory information comes into your noggin, and your amygdala decides you’re safe, calm, competent, and overall okay, then higher-order thinking, planning, and functioning can happen. You then use the most sophisticated part of your brain, your massage prefrontal cortex.
However, when information comes in and freaks your amygdalas out, a.k.a. you feel overwhelmed, anxious, scared, panicky, angry, upset, embarrassed, and/or ashamed, then your amygdalas put out a high alert and get this (!), they grow to be the size of walnuts.
When your amygdalas think you’re in danger, they put the kibosh on any higher-order thinking and rather focus solely on the three F’s → fight, freeze or flee. Blood starts draining from your brain and goes to your hands. Regardless of whether you’ve ever thrown a punch, your body is getting ready to defend itself!
Keeping you and your amygdalas feeling safe, and calm makes everything else so much easier. It’s the path to clearer decisions, better learning, and improved retention.
Which, in turn, is precisely why massaging your almonds, or amygdalas, is so critical. In other words, keeping them feeling safe so they don’t make you want to fight, flee or freeze.
Here’s some examples of how to massage your and your team’s amygdalas
- Those opening activities for your team meetings, the ones that are fun and bring everyone together? Those aren’t a nice-to-have, only-if-you-have-time, rather they’re an example of a critical way to keep you and your team functioning, especially during a global pandemic.
- Remember who’s birthday is when and acknowledging their special day, and other little things like this, are super important. They’re not just for when you have extra time.
- It’s the same with celebrating you and your team’s wins and accomplishments. Critical.
- Keeping folks engaged during meetings and workshops is also important. Doing activities that help people feel welcome and included means happy amygdalas and happy amygdalas make for better learning.
All four are examples of keeping you and your team’s amygdala functioning.
Fun fact: your amygdalas also play a role in deciding what gets shelved into long-term memory and what stays in short-term memory. Happy amygdalas mean better retention, better learning and higher functioning.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead
- Check out this wee one asleep half on and half off a bookcase. Her amygdalas are definitely massaged!
- Try your hand at almond massaging using the four examples above at your next team gathering. And stay tuned for next week’s post about almond massaging using Anne Lamott’s ketchup, mustard, relish technique.
P.S. I just launched the online version of my Life Lenses® online assessment – which clients from all over the world have benefited from, including many UN agencies. Check it out for outta sight insight!