The Gecko & The Geek: Emotions Vs. Intellect

Our brain is often at war with itself. The primitive emotional centers (the Gecko) versus the advanced intellectual centers (the Geek). The Gecko gets us in trouble because it’s only capacity is to react, while the Geek thinks, then reacts.

The Gecko takes over when we are feeling stressed or out of control, and it reacts with fight or flight. Unfortunately, this does not happen consciously, and the Gecko causes us to fight first, ask questions later. When stresses pile up and we feel out of control, the Gecko takes over and we become less productive and lose our decision-making abilities. In fact, scientific studies have shown that when we experience too much stress, our performance tanks. Stressful things like financial loss are actually processed in the same area of the brain that responds to mortal danger (the Gecko area). We have all learned (often the hard way) that we make horrible decisions when we are under stress.

How can we be more Geek and less Gecko?

1) Self-Awareness

Studies show that when you put people under high levels of stress, those who are quickest to recover are those who can identify how they are feeling and express their feelings into words. Scientists, using brain scans, confirm that people who talk about and/or write about their feelings at the time they are experiencing negative emotions quickly overcome the negative thoughts and feelings, which improves their well-being and enhances their decision-making skills.

2) Take Control Where It Counts

Make two lists: things you have control over and things that you don’t. Burn the list that you have no control over — it is out of your control! Focus on the areas where you do have control. I have made it a habit of not reading the newspaper and watching the news on TV because it only stresses me out. Now I know why it stresses me out, and why it has been scientifically shown to be counterproductive. It fills my brain with things that I have no control over, allowing my Gecko to run wild.



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