Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki are all ears in a scene from the TV series The Big Bang Theory.
Kaley Cuoco, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki are all ears in a scene from the TV series The Big Bang Theory. PHOTO CHANNEL

When minds align

YOU'VE probably heard of cortisol, (the stress hormone), and you may have heard of oxytocin, a hormone released when we're doing something pleasurable, including hugging (for at least 20 seconds). Apparently cortisol lasts up to 26 hours in the body and oxytocin about two to three hours. So if your life is full of modern stressors and you're not topping up your oxytocin regularly, then cortisol might be controlling you. Not helpful.

I was listening to a webinar this week about conversational intelligence with Judith E Glaser. It's an approach to coaching that enables the person being coached to get the most from the coaching conversation.

Glaser spoke about what's happening when someone is pushing their point of view wanting to be right while not acknowledging the other person's opinion or perspective.

The person who is pushing their point is releasing large amounts not only of oxytocin but also two neurotransmitters, dopamine and adrenaline, which add to their elevated mood and sense of elation - they're feeling good. As they continue with this and deny others their opinion, it will trigger in those others the fight/flight threat response and their body releases cortisol and adrenaline as a result.

Depending on the duration and how much other stress they are already experiencing, they may display a fight reaction (become verbally or physically aggressive) or flight reaction (run away or shut down). Again, not helpful.

It's easy to see why some people may become addicted to being right or proving a point - it feels great to them, but there is huge cost to those around them.

Understanding that that's the case, we have a choice to make in every interaction and conversation. Is it your intention to help the other person be heard and acknowledged or to have them feel threatened and miserable because of your need to be right?

Most relationships would benefit from the former which builds a conversation from a base of trust and respect, and offers the opportunity for both parties to openly discuss their thoughts, share their ideas and come to a mutually considered outcome. That would be helpful and save a lot of stress, wouldn't it?

Rowena Hardy is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned: http://www.mindsaligned.com.au.

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