When you’re under stress, all your brain cares about is that it is on fire.
Not the work you are trying to do.
Not the lesson someone is trying to teach you.
Not the conversation someone is trying to have with you.
Not the goal you need to work on.
It’s too preoccupied with the fire.
It usually runs around yelling “I’m on fire! Alert! Alert!” causing the fire to grow, rather than go out.
It needs to put the fire out, but it can’t.
We can train ourselves to override our reactive fire alarms and respond to the fires in our brain.
We can learn to pause and find calm.
We can learn to breathe deeply when we sense the fire alarm.
We can also help others put out their fire by offering them our own calm.
And by not throwing fuel on the fire. This means:
Prioritizing calming down over teaching a lesson.
Prioritizing putting the fire out over doing a work task.
Prioritizing goals around reducing stress over other work tasks and projects.
You do yourself and the other person a favour when you stop trying to have conversations with people whose brains are on fire.