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  • Midtown Mediation

When in Stress, We Regress

I just shared an post with this title on Instagram, and thought it may be worth doing a deeper dive here.

Stress, we all know, puts us in a heightened state emotionally. It renders us useless in making rational decisions and during mediation, rational decision making is paramount to the process!

You may have heard of the amygdala? It is a part of the brain that process emotions - it triggers our fight/flight/freeze response and is sometimes referred to as our reptilian brain.

Enter the frontal lobes - they are a part of the brain that developed later through evolution and is what sets humans apart from our predecessors. It is here that our emotions are processed and rational thinking occurs.

When our bodies are stressed, our amygdala hijacks the frontal lobes and all rational thinking goes out the window!

So now picture yourself in mediation and you get triggered by something and immediately and often subconsciously, you flip into fight or flight or freeze and are unable to control your impulses or reactions to things.


This is not a time to negotiate in good faith, this is the time to step back and take a minute, or 5, or 10 get the idea.

You are literally not in control and you need to take a step back. It is a primordial response, nothing to be ashamed of, and something your mediator will support you through.

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