AdvantEdge Joy@Work Podcast:
AdvantEdge Joy@Work Podcast:

Episode 117 · 3 months ago

Are you In Control or Controlling? Part 2: Digging the Roots of Controlling, Stress and Performance Anxiety

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is Part 2 of a four part series asking the question: Are you In Control or Controlling?

In this guide, we are digging into the roots and what is happening in our brain when we enter the Controlling Cycle.

We'll learn what happens inside our brain when we face a challenge and how your unconscious mind immediately reacts to this challenge as a threat - triggering your freeze, flight or fight response.

We'll learn how our brain then shifts the challenge into worrying and anxiety UNLESS your frontal lobes put the brakes on and you choose to be In Control rather than attempt to fruitlessly control others or the outside world.

We'll learn that EVERYONE on the planet faces the same choices every single day and we'll learn how worrying gives us the illusion of control making us feel good about worrying - as if it ever did us any good.

We'll learn why the Pre Frontal Cortex struggles to intervene and shout down the worrying cycle.

See the previous episode for Part 1 if you have yet to do so. And remember to subscribe on your preferred platfrom and please rate this episode, it helps others find it and learn too.

Are you in control or controlling? This is part two, digging the roots of controlling stress and performance anxiety. Thank you'll be helpful if we have a quick recap of part one of this series, where we learned how your locusts of control impacts the choices that you make, the extent to which you believe that you, as opposed to external forces, have control over your life, and how someone with an external locusts of control is more likely to react to challenges and anxiously worrying, giving them the illusion of controlling those external forces. We also learned that we all face challenges every day and that, whilst we may like them nor enjoy facing them, they are essential to our growth and...

...learning. In this guide we're digging into the roots and what is happening in our brain when we enter the controlling cycle. What happens in my brain when faced with the challenge? A new challenge is something that you see here, feel, smell or taste. It's new and unknown, and thus your brain and body consider it a threat until proven otherwise. COURTISOL and adrenaline are already triggered, and then your conscious mind can kick in. Some sensory information takes the longer more thoughtful route from the Thalamus in your brain to the CORTEX and your frontal lobes. Your frontal lobes decide whether the sensory information warrants the fear...

...response that has already being triggered at first your response to a new challenge is unconscious and processed in the limbic region of your brain, in particular the Amigdali your response to the fear of this new challenge is typified by the freeze, fight or flight response. You might get angry and blame others, or hide your head and pretend the challenge isn't there, hoping someone else will deal with it, or you flee the scene and get away from the challenge. These responses are brilliantly designed to keep your cave dwelling ancestors alive and avoiding death by...

...enemy, Predator or environmental change. Not Quite so useful in the modern organization when your colleague dumps extra work on you or your boss is having a bad day. Not so useful on a suburban street where your neighbor lets their dog dump its business all over your pristine lawn for you to clear up. As emscott Peck begins his seventies, classic the road less traveled. Life is difficult. What remains most surprising is that for many people this is a revelation. Why do we snap hair? Modern Life is filled with challenges that trigger our threat response. Some big any more small and on their own insignificant. That multiplied a thousandfold and your brain and body chemistry literally eats away at your otherwise...

...calm and gracious soul. Day driving, for example, a normally upright decent human being is sat behind the wheel of their car, patiently queuing in a morning rush hour traffic jam, when another motorist suddenly cuts in front of them. This irritates our driver and they suddenly explode with an aggressive, violent outburst. It may be expressed in explicive's hand gestures and golf forbid. There's a loaded gun in the vehicle, or someone barges into the elevator as you're trying to exit, or someone brings that bicycle bell incessantly behind you in what seems to be a demand that you get out of their way on the foot path. You get the blue screen of death on your laptop just as you need...

...it to present, or your phone battery dies after twenty minutes, or your car breaks down on your way to the airport, or a man tries to rob your daughter as you boat emerge from a metro station, or the government decide that you are not allowed to leave your home for the next month because they forgot to shut the door of a research lab or your husband left tissue paper in a shorts pocket that have been washed and now said tissue is in a million pieces on every piece of clothing. There are nine triggers of why we snap into rage, and you can follow a link on the show notes to learn more. In the meantime, it's worth remembering we judge ourselves by our intentions. We judge others, is, by their actions. Why do...

...we snap? We snap because the signal never got to our frontal loads. There is no conscious thought involved. It's your PFC that needs to take a charge here, your prefrontal Cortex, the PFC, does not switch off this fear response. It continues. It may perpetuate as a fear response or move on to anxious, worrying, which is where we get controlling, entering the coulder woulder shoulder zone. When we do not choose the in control cycle, we default to the controlling cycle. This is when you consider how inadequate you are to have coome this challenge because you have the resources you think that you...

...need, or you fear failure because this or that or something else entirely might, maybe, perhaps, happen. You could have done something had you more tools or weapons available, and you would have done something if you were much stronger, younger, prettier, richer. And you know that you should have done something about this sooner, before it became such an enormous challenge. Your mind is in a whirl of what if as you fret and fear the future. Or maybe your theme song is yesterday by the Beatles, and you lament if only some people think there were given two hands to weigh yesterday against tomorrow. And all this simply creates noise in your head, conflicting voices for some,...

...the devil on one shoulder with an angel on the other, tuning into fifty five point five FM or sixty six point six FM or both at the same time. It's enough to drive a person over the edge, and with no firm intervention from the PFC, you can then suffer an overwhelming and make dela hijack, where your own brain has triggered a much more significant emotional response than the actual stimulus warrant. For example, you might get angry with yourself for not having done something. These can turn into the hunding out of control rage moments. Or might go completely silent and withdrawn or run off to your favorite hideaway and pray the time will make everything better and is inborn to know here. If, if you find that you are regularly going into these cycles...

...of worry and fear and anxiety and you don't seem to be able to get out of it, then please speak to a professional and get yourself some help, a pastor, a medical practitioner, a counselor or a therapist. Only, time itself doesn't heal all challenges and you achieve less than optimal results in overcoming this latest challenge, you might wallow for a while and invite others to join your pity party. Hopefully you have someone in your life who listens to you and bring you some comfort. You can put the poor results down to bad luck and complain about your lot in life, or decide that next time you'll do something about the challenge. This response can easily perpetuate. We all know someone who is emotional, that is, they have a tendency to allow their mote emotions to be manifest easily and regularly, and for many individuals are...

...emotional response can be disproportionate to and sometimes explosive, which, from an outsider's perspective, far exp exceeds the response necessary to deal with the situation. Doesn't the PFC intervene? There is a lot of research into emotional reactions during and after traumatic events and such cases require special attention, as do people who suffer adhd or suffer mood and anxiety disorders, which are beyond the scope of this guide. But the very act of worrying gives us the illusion of control. Notice this the next time that you choose to worry about anything. It makes you think that you have some control over the situation or the other party, but you are not in control of that or them. You are trying to...

...control something or some one else. That's not your job. The covid pandemic has been an excellent reminder to every person on the planet that we are not an unable to control anything outside of ourselves. Of course, we post rationalize our disproportionate emotional response. Some people post rationalize their explosive fit of anger has been righteous anger, for example, or they justify why they hid under their desk to avoid the boss, or explain that something much more important suddenly occurred and you just had to leave for somewhere else. And then then there's the guilt, which is self criticism for a mistake or behavior when we have achieved less less than optimal result. We know it and we feel guilty about it.

And, odd as it may seem, guilt enhances our sense of control. And then we might be adding on some deep shame, which is complete self condemnation for an act or behavior, possibly the most difficult and painful emotion, causing feelings of disgrace and dishonor to the point where the sufferer may feel that they don't deserve to be helped even by themselves. Yeah, likes that a bit dark and forbidding. Well, every person on the planet has gone through this cycle and gone through it multiple times. Few truly master always being in control. Just one bit of pressure, too much had on, a little exhaustion, bit of a zoom, fatigue and the straw that blow brokes the camels back and our unconscious brain swiftly begins controlling. We've all lost our...

...temper at some one or something. We've all hidden from something or something. We've all try to run away from my problems. We've all pondered if only, we've all considered what if? We've all overreacted to someone or something. We've all felt guilt and we've all felt shame. It's a human condition and we live in a fallen world. So what do you do? You have an issue, an obstacle or a challenge. Is Daunting, is difficult and it's something you don't want to have to deal with, but there it is in your path. You don't want this obstacle, you don't have time for it and you don't deserve it, but there it is any way. Your limbic system is plowing through the available energy. Worrying it's exhausting. Anger is...

...exhausting. Hiding petrified in a corner is exhausting. There's no energy available for your PFC to put the brakes on and break you out of the cycle. But there is one thing you can do to interrupt the flow, and there are two points where this is easiest to affect, although you can do it any time and you do need to be ready, because one thing is for sure, your next challenge is just ahead. So what is the antidote to remaining in the controlling cycle? Tune in to our next edition for that antidote. It's going to be useful. Be Blessed.

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