Book Review | Stop Overreacting: Effective Strategies for Calming Your Emotions

06 January 2017


Awhile ago, I read this quote from my friend Jeni:  

each new phase of life requires a new version of yourself. 

I love that!  Twofold.  First, it grants us permission to be a new person.  A reincarnation of our selves.  And second, it grants us grace.  Saying that you will be revealed to yourself in a new way, and for the bad that's revealed, forgive. 

Both of these have been true for me with each large transition I've gone through.  Marriage.  Now baby.  And going with the grace element here, each large transition in my life has uncovered a layer of neuroticism within me.  HA!  And the baby transition is an interesting one because you have less brain juices, both from actual cell depletion for baby, and also from lack of structured sleep.  Hello neurotic self.

Well, I am constantly striving for self-progression, so I came up with some ideas of how to stay grounded.  Then I found this book that matched my ideas to studies of neurologists.  YES!  I read this book in one evening and summarized my findings below  (there was a lot this book offered, but I noted the parts that resonated with me the most): 

(1) When flooded with emotion, your right brain is activated (the emotional half) and your amygdala is activated (lower, stress reactive area).  Connect the quadrants of your brain so you have optimal thinking and processing power to deal.  Even visualize the quadrants of your brain connecting, lighting up in different areas:
a:  Connect right brain / left brain. 
 Emotions happen in your right brain.  Feelings occur when you connect left and right brains and process your emotions deeper.  In order to get this connection, identify your emotion, and then identify a deeper core feeling associated with it.  See images below.  Feelings Awareness.  Your brain will settle simply from knowing where its punches are coming from.
 b: Connect lower brain / upper brain

The amygdala in the lower brain is the stress, reactive portion of the brain.  As long as you're brooding on past events or emotions (me me me!  neurotic self), you keep firing the amygdala.  It is best to put all your triggers back in the box and close the lid.  To move up into the prefrontal cortex where better thinking and processing occurs.  To do this, from your feeling identified above, think about a time when you really felt the opposite of that.  Write it down if needed.  Ex: if feeling unloved, think of a time when you really felt loved.  Instead, ruminate on that.  Those positive feelings will return, and your brain will settle.

(2) Beware of splitting and flooding -  visualizing larger, happy ending

Splitting is all-or-nothing mentality.  Imagine you have a two-drawer filing cabinet and you open the ALL BAD drawer.  Or even the ALL GOOD drawer.  You split reality to be all bad, and then you flood really easily.  Pull out of that by visualizing the larger picture of the situation and your larger goals. 

Mantras like "Stick with the story at hand."  "This isn't who I want to be"  "This is not how my life is going to go."

Visualizations of the future you want.  Visualize just the successful, happy outcome you want from this situation at hand.  Change the ending in your mind, and your brain will settle down to handle it and bring that to fruition. 

And now all my sidebar advertisements are pointing me towards books about neuroticism.  Google, don't tell me how to live my life.

Upward and onward,

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