Karen Malcolm working on computer

Hijacked by Your Amygdala

by Karen Malcolm

Brain anatomy with amygdala highlightedArlyn Anderson presented a workshop on the final day of the symposium that left the participants with hearts and minds opened. Entitled “Amygdala Hijack: A Crash Course in Managing Strong Emotions in Critical Settings”, she achieved her goal of “shining a light on the work we do”. She noted the importance of staying in touch with our purpose and the meaning of our work, and our lives, and commented that we get used to setting ourselves aside while interpreting, which can start to affect our lives, and make them smaller.   Arlyn presented information on the neuroplasticity of the brain, and how the amygdala is on the lookout for threat; it’s the emotional brain, and reacts first. There is a 12 second surge of emotion, but it has a shelf life, and if we can recognize it, and know that it will pass, we will be better able to make decisions from a more reasoned place.

She guided us through an exercise called silent witness that was profoundly moving for many of us, and really validated the many times we are emotionally affected by our work. I won’t try to describe it because I urge you to seek her out when she is presenting and experience her work first hand.

On a final note, she offered two possible times for free online follow up sessions for participants. How generous!

Check out her work at www.wholeinterpreter.com.