Tips to Navigate Polarizing Topics by a Neuroscientist
1. KNOW YOUR BLIND SPOTS
Your brain looks for information that confirms what you already believe aka confirmation bias.
When you come across information that differs from what you think is true your brain responds as if it were a threat.
Your brain sends the same signals as if your life were in danger - jolting you into fight or flight mode.
2. DOWNREGULATE YOUR LIMBIC SYSTEM
Take a few slow breaths.
Try inhale for 4, exhale for 6, to calm your sympathetic nervous system and get out of fight or flight mode.
When you’re running on emotion, you can’t access your frontal lobe to help you reason, see other perspectives, or practice empathy.
3. HARNESS YOUR FRONTAL LOBE
Become very curious.
Curiosity will engage your frontal lobe - the command center for critical thinking.
If you are curious when you encounter a differing opinion your brain will process it as a mystery or puzzle and your mind will be open learn instead of feeling threatened and closing off.
It is a challenging and healthy brain exercise to try to see other perspectives, especially those you disagree with.
Imagine the productive conversations we could have if we all set our brains up for success.
Instead of trying to show others they are wrong, what if you changed the goal to be about stretching your brain to see multiple perspectives?
This is your brain exercise for the week. Will you do the work? 🧠🏋️♀️