There are many fronts in the campaign against bias, both implicit and explicit, but they all have one thing in common: us. We are all potentially part of the problem--and we can all become a part of the solution.
The idea that the amygdala is the home of fear in the brain is just that--an idea. It is not a scientific finding but instead a conclusion based on an interpretation of a finding. So what is the finding, what is the interpretation, and how did the interpretation come about?
Lately, in my morning meditation sessions, I've been doing a mental happy dance every time I notice myself absorbed in and distracted by thought. Huh? Isn't the goal to focus on my breath and not let my mind run and wander?
There is a time and place for action and reaction, but there's also a place for the pleasure of stillness. You may not be able to get to the yoga mat, your barbells, or your sneakers. But you can take a moment to lean back and relax into the peacefulness of just sitting there.
There is a part of the brain called Amygdala that has only one job -- to react. Centuries ago, the job of the amygdala was to come up with a "flight or fight" response to threats. We have evolved now you generally don't need to exercise your "fight or flight" response often.
Stress is affecting your brain much more than you think. Sure, you've experienced the distraction, forgetfulness, negativity or anxiety that comes from stressful situations, but did you know it's also shrinking your brain?
In the current election campaign, Republicans are organizing their message around a theme of fear. That is hardly surprising given scientific evidence that the brains of conservatives are more strongly reactive to threats.
The decision to trust or distrust someone occurs instantly. That moment -- whether it is a handshake, a telephone call, or an email -- locks in a relationship trajectory that may last for weeks, months, or a lifetime.
The reason we react is that our alarm thinks there is a problem for us to solve or danger to escape. Don't let your brain make work feel like everything's dramatic and falling apart. Even on your worst days, you can refocus with just a little intention.
Of course, there is no way we can completely resist all the genetic, neurological, psychological, emotional and social forces that influence our decision making. But a few simple steps can prevent us from making truly appalling decisions.
Make a conscious choice to not go on the wild goose chase anxiety can launch, but know that you're better off without it. Instead, downgrade the importance of worry's messages and switch lines. The one without worry moves a lot faster.