Do you find yourself feeling on top of things emotionally during this time of COVID-19 or do you find it difficult to regulate your emotional responses? Hi, this is Grant Herbert, International Influencer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and today, I want to continue our conversation around going beyond COVID-19. One of the things that I'm finding in myself and in others, the many people I speak to is that there are two places that we can operate from. We talked about this last week.

The first place we can operate from is a position of fear where we're concerned and worried and anxious about what might happen in that unknown space, that place where we're not getting the certainty that we need. And then on the other hand, there's operating from a position of faith, faith in yourself, faith in the doctors, faith in the people leading you, faith in what it is that is true and logical and actually happening and faith in the fact that you will come out the other side, and in most cases, a lot better off in certain areas than you were before you went in. And these are two totally different places that we can come from.

Now within this as well, that creates a different kind of emotion, whether we're operating out of fear or whether we're operating out of faith. And learning how to regulate those emotional responses is the key to being able to stay on top, solution-focused, and go from being a consumer of all things that are creating anxiety and fear to a creator of what's going to take you through and beyond COVID-19.

Now, let me introduce you to my little friend here. It's called our brain and it's not actually my brain. Mine is there and it's working, but I want to give you a little bit of neuroscience 101 just to help us to understand how the brain works and how we can then adjust, tweak, change, what it is that we're currently doing to empower us to be more in control. So if we have a look at the brain and we pull it apart and we have one of the hemispheres of the brain, this is the left hemisphere and it is very similar and indeed identical and a lot of makeup to what's on the other side on the right.

And if we have a look at this here and I just get a little pointer to help me and we go into the bottom of the brain here, that's the brain stem and that connects to the spinal cord and messages are sent to and from the brain and that's connected to the nervous system and we don't need to go too deep into there right now. And then as we go deep into the center of the brain, right in the deep center of the brain is what's known as the limbic brain, and this is where a lot of the information around fear and aggression and anxiety comes from.

Now, I just want to keep this at a very basic level so it's easier for me to explain and for you to understand. And then the white section here is the corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres of the brain together and allows information to pass, neuropathways to pass between both hemispheres of the brain.

And then on the outside of the brain, we got the neocortex and the neocortex is a thin layer of grey matter on the outside of the brain. And that in particular, when we're talking about the front of the brain, the prefrontal cortex is where a lot of the logical, creative decision-making happens and emotional regulation. Now, the brain is very powerful in the way that it operates and we can learn how to use the brain to either help us or hinder us. And a lot of times in our reaction to what's going on around us, we can use it and it hinders us.

So, what I want to do very quickly is just teach you a simple process for you to be able to come up out of the emotion of a situation and get back into the logical brain, get back into the part of the brain where you're going to be able to make a logical decision.

Now, our brain works in conjunction with our heart and our gut. There's information that passes backwards and forwards and some of it is very visceral and a lot of it's very emotional charged and in our brain, in the limbic system, we've got the hippocampus where our longterm and memory's stored and a lot of those memories, if they are stored there or placed there or experienced in a very emotionally charged way, they are deep, ingrained memories. And also in the limbic brain, we've got the amygdala and there's two of them, one on each hemisphere of the brain, and it's a little thermostat that's there to let us know when there's a danger.

So, what happens is all the data comes into the brain, all the sensory data comes into the brain via the thalamus and that's in the limbic brain. And what it does, it distributes that information to the limbic brain, the emotional brain, and to the cortex, the logical brain at the same time.

Now, the amygdala, it's job is to do a threat assessment. And in doing that threat assessment, if it determines based on an emotional memory on a past experience that there's something that we need to be concerned about, then what it does, it goes, "Warning. Warning. Danger, Will Robinson." And it actually cuts off all the slow logical thinking going to the neocortex. So, what ends up happening is we end up having an emotional reaction to what's going on rather than having a logical solution, a logical response. And that's just a little bit of neuroscience 101 to help you to understand.

So, how do we use that during this COVID-19 situation? So, here is a couple of little tips. So firstly, as I said, what we want to do is we want to recognise when we are going into the emotion of it, we're going down into that limbic brain and we want to be able to recognise that so that we can then shift it and get back to the prefrontal cortex and make a logical decision. And over the next few weeks, I'm going to introduce some other strategies to help you with this. But today, I just want us to get a grounding and an understanding around that.

So, here's the thing in our brain, if we can get our brain to light up for the neuropathways to work in a certain part of our brain, that's where the energy flows and that's where the focus will be. So, a little tip that's helped me and I help my clients work with is to be very clear on the language that we use. So, what does that mean? Now, you've all heard about count to 10. Just count to 10 and relax and you'll be able to give yourself that space and come up with a solution in that instead of reacting.

So, let's talk about the science behind that in relation to what I've just talked about. So, a situation happens and we need to give ourselves that space so we don't react in a negative, unhealthy way, whether it be for us and or for those around us. Counting not only gives us the space, counting is a logical process. So, the part of the brain that is operated in counting is the neocortex. So, we're setting up the brain to operate and light up in that area.

The second thing that we can do is make sure that in these situations we ask ourselves "what" questions rather than asking ourselves "why" questions. Why is this happening? Why do I have to stay at home? Why are my clients leaving me? Why? Why? Whatever those whys are, you can see, and I did it on purpose, you can see I actually went down into the emotion of that. So if we're asking ourselves "why" questions, then we are going to be lighting up the limbic brain, the emotional brain.

So, let's ask ourselves "what" questions and allow that to light up the logical part of our brain. And then the neocortex in particular, the prefrontal cortex, the executive command center of the brain can actually come up with a solution to whatever the challenge is for you. This is all called emotional intelligence, and I do a lot of work all around the world helping people to become more emotionally intelligent. That simple process that I just took you through there, when I take people through that, and I know it's happening for you right now, it lights up and they go, "Oh, okay, that's why it happens."

So, whenever you're feeling like you're going down into the emotion of it and you're not able to bring yourself to get a solution and you start to experience even stronger and stronger emotions as you go down into it, what you can do is check yourself and go, "Let's get back up into the logical brain." And as I said, over the next few weeks, I'm going to give you some more processes that will help you to do that. So, that's it from me for another week. Join me again next week when together, we navigate this pandemic and we go beyond COVID-19 by becoming more emotionally intelligent. I'll see you then.

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