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How To Make a Healthy Change at Work

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The only constant at work is change. So why do we spend so much energy clinging to doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.

It's a brain thing!

Let me explain. We are all, and that means all of us, programmed for survival. That is our basic reason for being. That, and oh, I almost forgot, continuing to procreate. Unfortunately, I think with our exploding population we may have to rethink some kind of control there.

Back to survival; deep in the older parts of the brain is the amygdala. It is the fight, flight or freeze mechanism that had our ancestors run from the tiger or fight the man from another cave, or become the deer in the headlights staring and falling into the background so we would not be taken, or eaten, or beaten.

When we were kids in our original organization, the family, we learned what to do so we would not get in trouble, given a time out, or being punished.

These survival patterns are taken to work and if we think there is danger we revert back to fight, flight, or freeze automatically.

Here is what you can do if you feel those old behavior patterns beginning to surface.

1. STOP: Don't react. Take a minute, yes, that is sixty seconds, and stand still. That is called a pattern interrupt. It helps you begin to take charge of your actions rather than to respond in a knee-jerk fashion.

2. BREATHE: Deep breathing from the abdomen, maybe five or six breaths in through the nose and out from the mouth will give more oxygen to the brain so your thinking can become clearer.

3. REMEMBER: Ask yourself (I promise this happens in the blink of an eye) if the present situation reminds you of a situation from past encounters. Usually, a memory will jump up and you can quickly assess if the way you handled the past moved you forward in a positive or negative way.

You can train yourself to do this simple three step exercise so that when workplace conflict begins and the situation is at hand you can react in a “new way” rather than react to the memory of a parent or sibling from the past, who you thought was going to "get you".

Entrepreneurs move quickly, yet, taking a few minutes to tame the amygdala responses will give you better methods of tackling present moments of workplace conflict. We are all prone to respond in ways that were survival skills when we were three or seven or twelve. What worked then, won't work now.

Stop, breathe, remember; it's worth the time.

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