You and I have five realms of health: Mental, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, and Social. When your emotional realm is hijacked the other four realms are affected, compromised, and even shut down depending on our existing supply of coping skills, belief systems and how we were taught to react. So that means when your emotional health is attacked, your mental health, physical health, spiritual health as well as your social health are all compromised.
The amygdala is an area in your brain that processes your emotions and your ‘fight or flight’ mechanisms. It is a great little part of the brain to have. It alerts you when danger arises and keeps you safe. It also can allow you to feel the miraculous love and joys in life. Did you know that your amygdala has a default programming? It all began when you were a little wee one. Watching your parents, grandparents, leaders and coaches created your default programming of your morals, beliefs and values. Since then your amygdala has been conditioned and groomed how to cope (react or respond) according to how you saw others cope.
Grief comes from the heart. It is a form of love. Grief cannot be reasoned or thought out. Grief must be felt.
You must work on creating harmony between your brain and your heart.
Question, as you are reading this, are you aware (key word, aware) of how you react or respond, hence how you cope with life’s adversities? How’s your default coping mechanisms working for you? There’s no right or wrong emotional defaults; However, there are healthy and unhealthy defaults.
AH and GB Definitions:
First let me explain what an amygdala hijack is. When the amygdala is hijacked, it hijacks ALL of the oxygen from other parts of the brain and shuts down the cerebral cortex frontal lobe that contains your rational thinking and problem solving. You can become irrational, impulsive, dangerous at times, mean, and angry.
Now let me explain what a grief burst is. When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, your heart is broken and shattered because you are missing that loved one because you LOVED that person. All of your emotions are all over the place intertwined with one another. You can burst into uncontrollable tears, sobbing, even collapse to the ground.
All emotions are either love based or fear based
Love Based – Happy, Joy, Kindness, Gentle, Grateful,
Fear Based – Angry, Disgusted, Hate, Betrayal, Guilt, Regret
Most amygdala hijacks are triggered by data collected and stored in our brains that are attached to memories, habits, rituals and conditions related to a particular incident or circumstance in the past that can be associated with hurt and anger.
Most grief bursts are triggered the same – by data collected and stored in our brains that are linked to memories, habits, rituals and conditions related to a particular incident or circumstance in the past that can be associated with happiness and joy.
Are AH and GB love based or fear based?
- AH is fear based, usually no love involved at all, pure anger, hatred, betrayal – all fear based.
- GB may contain fearful emotions but the base is LOVE. If you didn’t LOVE that person, you wouldn’t be grieving and experiencing grief bursts.
Are AH and GB learned behaviors?
- AH responses that are learned behaviors may include flipping people off and other hand gestures, colorful not-so-nice language spewing from our mouths, tantrums, destruction of property, slamming doors, hateful and attacking words. You get the picture. These are learned behaviors. We saw influential people in our life act that way more than once and our brain believed that was the way to react.
- Grief bursts are not necessarily learned behaviors like amygdala hijacks are. Grief bursts are usually weeping, sobbing, (yes screaming but in a much different way), cocooning in a fetal position. Due to our societal stigmas from many generations past, people who have grief bursts are very uncomfortable with them and think they are wrong because we were not exposed to this healthy way of processing emotions. Grief will demand your attention with no forewarning or predictability and usually at the most inopportune time – grocery store, bank, the middle of an important meeting, school, etc.)
What are the results of AH and GB?
- AH tend to be unhealthy and destroy people. (Training is available to help rewire the defaults to healthier defaults)
- GB tend to be seen as unhealthy but are truly one of the healthiest behaviors a person can honor in order to heal. (Coaching is available to assist the healing process)
- AH creates more stress and toxicity
- GB releases stress and toxicity and encourages healing.
Amazing how society is more accepting of angry outbursts that come from an AH but is very uncomfortable with GB that portray love.
How to Stop the Insanity!
In the middle of the hijack or grief burst may not be the best time to learn the fundamentals of a new way to cope emotionally. However, after the hijack and/or grief burst has passed, taking time to reflect is a vital step in managing your emotions better.
- What can I do in the moment of an amygdala hijack or grief burst?
- What skills can I learn and practice to help future AH and GB?
- How can I cope better emotionally?
To learn the answers to these questions and more, contact CG Coaching & Consulting Emotional Wellness and Balance Center today.