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Resetting Your Primitive Alarms
Episode 321st April 2020 • The Art of Leadership • Dr. Niña Ellison
00:00:00 00:18:17

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Micro resilience: Part II: Resetting your Primitive Alarms

1.       Primitive Alarms: a physical response needed for immediate survival.

2.      The prefrontal cortex is best known for things like planning, and problem-solving.

3.      The amygdala are responsible for the perception of emotion; they scan for possible threats

4.      The amygdala hijack is a term coined over 25 years ago by Daniel Goleman in his book on Emotional Intelligence.

In a crisis situation every leader needs to be aware of this potential of being hijacked by their amygdala. 

One exercise to use your emotions as a resource is called Labeling – Relabeling.

The reality is that in any crisis there is always a challenging balance when elements of surplus and insufficiency coexist with extraordinary variability. 

·        Too many people/too little food

·        too many with acute illnesses/ too few critical hospital supplies

·        too many emails/too little time to read and process


  • The better you can label your emotion the more you distance yourself from the feelings and the emotions that are hijacking you. 
  • In just a micro segment of time you can choose to separate yourself from the emotion that is vying for control. 


  • Relabeling becomes a thoughtful mind shift. 
  • Relabeling your emotions moves you forward.  You are not changing how you feel but you are changing what the emotion means.
  • With relabeling, you can gain control of your perspective. 

Don’t be misled…  The problems are still as intense. The reality is still raw. But, you have poised yourself to lead more effectively.  

 This month the Mastermind experience I am facilitating is called “leading through crisis: staying the course”. Are you leading a group that you would like to offer a mastermind growth experience to? If so, head to my website at schedule a complementary call. I’d love to learn more about how I can support you and your team during these challenging days.

Goleman D. (1995) Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. New York: Bantam Books

St John, B. (2017). Micro resilience. Minor Shifts for Major Boosts in Focus, Drive, and Energy. Hachette, UK.