Imagine you’re pregnant. Imagine you’re pregnant with triplets. Imagine you’re considered a high-risk pregnancy and you’re in the hospital and you’ve just discovered that your regular doctor isn’t available and you’re giving birth six weeks early. You’re about to give birth with a doctor you don’t know and you’re terrified.
Watch how this doctor deals with the situation in the video below and then I’ll share with you how he’s doing what he’s doing and how you can do it too, and why you should.
I call it massaging almonds or amygdalas
In this scene from “This is Us” the doctor is, what I call, massaging almonds or amygdalas.
The Greeks named the parts of our brains. Our amygdalas are almond-shaped and amygdala means almond in Greek so voila. You now know how to say the Greek word for almond.
You have two amygdalas, one in each hemisphere of your brain. They play a critical role in several ways.
Your amygdalas become the size of walnuts when they’re fired up. Fired up meaning you’re (or your colleagues, training participants, etc.) angry, upset, anxious, nervous, ashamed, embarrassed, or in this case, giving birth to triplets six weeks early with a doctor you don’t know.
With fired-up amygdalas, you stop using your executive functioning and start focusing on the three F’s – flight, fight, or flee.
On the other hand (or head!) if your amygdalas are happy, meaning you’re relaxed, calm, feeling confident, safe, etc., (and the same with your colleagues, training participants, etc.) you can use your prefrontal cortex. That’s where executive functioning happens, things like strategic thinking, innovation, humour, etc.
Amygdalas are your best friend and your worst enemy
If you’re trying to make a point, communicate well, teach, train, facilitate, explain, or be otherwise reasonable, it’s critical that your amygdala and those around you are happy.
So how do you do that? How do you massage your and others’ amygdalas? It’s relatively simple.
Take some tips from the doctor.
Here is a list of how the doctor ‘massaged’ her amygdalas
- use of humour
- relaxes her before he delivers the bad news
- ensures she knows he’s up to speed, and has all the information he needs
- reassures her
- addresses her concerns
- helps her be focused (look at me)
- encourages her to breathe
- acknowledges her feelings, why she’s upset
- shares his credentials, and background, helps her get to know him
- use of humour (again)
What do you think? Which things on the list can you try the next time your or someone you’re working with have your amygdalagas riled up to the size of walnuts?
And what would you add to the amygdala massaging tip list?
With just a couple of tips, you’ll be massaging those amygdalas in no time and be headed toward better communication, conflict resolution, teaching, and more.
Now go on and learn, learn some more, and lead
- Think about which things on the list you can try the next time you need to ‘massage’ your or someone else’s amygdala
- Rewatch the video above for another chuckle.
- Share the list with a friend and/or colleague and add to it. Let me know what tips you’d add.
- It’s not too late to RSVP for this week’s Learning and Development Roundtable on May 25th at 10 am EAT Easy, peasy tech tools to save your sanity at work and at home. RSVP at this link.