Neuropsychologist Explains How We're At The Mercy Of 'Reptilian Reactivity'


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It’s important for us to regulate our emotions, whether in the workplace or anywhere else. In a stressful environment, this can be particularly hard, because it can put us over the edge.Neuropsychologist Dr. Charlotte Tomaino explains what happens when we let emotion take over in a column at Psychology Today.

“When we let emotion take over, we are at the mercy of the reptilian reactivity that is deep within us to protect us,” she writes.

“Unfortunately, that is a protective mechanism that is designed for emergency use only, but we are currently activating it as a daily lifestyle. Not a good idea!”

It’s all part of the “complex survival chemistry” inside us. According to a study cited by Dr. Tomaino, high stress levels hinder our ability to stop and think about what we’re doing, because less grey matter is revealed in the prefrontal cortex — the region of our brain that does that.

So what can you do to prevent your inner reptile from taking over?

You can’t totally avoid stress, but you can be self-aware. If you’re able to recognise how close you are to breaking the fight and flight response barrier, you won’t activate all that adrenaline, stress hormones and cortisol.

NOW SEE: 39 New Scientific Concepts Everyone Should Understand >

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