Rushing, Frustration And My Brain


Have you ever made a turn through a break in traffic that was way smaller than normal because you were running late?

We all have at some point.

But why did you do it?

The reason is that rushing and frustration impact our brain’s physiology.

So, what is happening in our brain when we rush or become frustrated?

It all starts with a cue for the rushing or frustration registering subconsciously. This includes when we are late, when people get in our way, when things do not function as they should, as well as many others.

Our brain responds quickly and automatically to cues – especially those that relate to physical threats (like a snake) or mental threats (like how people will think of us if we arrive late for a meeting). The physiological response releases a cocktail of neurochemicals that alter the way our brain functions.

The Conscious Mind Deactivates

This Is Your Brain In Meltdown outlines research that discovered neurons disconnect and stop firing in our Conscious Mind after being exposed to high levels of noradrenalin and dopamine. This “shuts down” our rational and executive brain. Even small changes in these levels can instantly weaken neural connections. What this means is that as we get more impulsive, we find it more difficult to control what we do.

Other research discovered that we become more alert in the presence of high levels of noradrenalin and cortisol. This enhances our ability to create new memories, so our experiences can encode more vividly for better recall in the future. Simply put, when we register a cue for a threat:-

Neurochemicals deactivate what is not needed for survival, the ability to reason, while enhancing what is needed, quick action.

This explains why we are so impulsive when we are rushing or frustrated. Our ability to reason is being left “idling” making it more difficult to control what we do.

Rushing and frustration are a part of life, especially modern life. However, that does not mean that we cannot manage them better.

This blog is an excerpt from Third Generation Safety by Cristian Sylvestre.

Cristian takes what neuroscience is revealing about how the brain functions and explains how our human limitations impact our personal safety and what individuals and organisations can do about it. Download section 1 for FREE

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