Is the brain a help or a hinderance when it comes to mediation? It can actually be a little of both. The brain was intended to keep us safe in the wild. In the world of today, the brain can identify things as a danger and can keep us from moving forward in a productive way. For example, if I have a difference of opinion with a co-worker, my brain may equate this to seeing a cougar, causing me to fight, run away, or freeze…very helpful in the wild but not so much in the middle of the production floor. You see there is a little thing in the brain called the amygdala which has a whole lot of power on human actions. Once engaged, the frontal cortex, where judgement resides turns off.
Have you ever heard the advice to count to ten when you are upset? Why does this work to calm you down? The ten seconds give you a chance to re-engage the frontal cortex so you can make smart choices about what to say next. The art of mediation includes the ability to slow the conversation down to allow the parties the time and space to discuss the issues. Mediators are well versed at reframing what the participants say in a way that can be heard by the parties to reduce opportunities for the amygdala to take over.
Written by | Magdalena Vigil-Tullar
HR Consultant | MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CLRP
Phone: 505-270-7494 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org