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  • Writer's pictureAlisa Collins

Two Ways to React

I have a miniature poodle named Bella.

She spends most mornings lying on our bed, looking out the window.

If there is activity outside the window (i.e., a squirrel), she goes completely nuts.

Bella's brain tells her the squirrel is a significant threat to our existence, and she gets angry and upset and acts accordingly.

Her eyes see a squirrel.

Her brain tells her we are in trouble.

She responds by barking fast, loud, and at a very high pitch that is impossible to ignore.

The same thing happens to us, but we have tools she doesn't.

It's human nature for our brains to judge things in our world, and our emotions get our physical bodies in a state of high alert!

And when our bodies start reacting to what our brain is telling it--the heart beats faster; our blood pressure rises--and it often isn't easy to pull up out of that. We want to yell, kick, scream (or bark!)

The animal (primitive) part of our brain works like Bella's.

Bella sees a squirrel, decides she is in danger and goes nuts.

We see something that we don't like, decide it is terrible, and get mad!

Unlike Bella, you get to decide what kind of "mad" to get.

You can let your brain behave just like hers by reacting to something without running it through any filter.


You can pause for just a second to think this through.

Unlike Bella, you have a human brain.

Human brains can analyze. (Is the squirrel a danger?)

Human brains can plan. (If I move the bird feeder, the squirrel won't come by the window.)

Human brains can weigh risk vs. reward. (If I move the bird feeder, I won't see the beautiful birds, but I also won't have a squirrel problem).

We can react to things we don't like (like Bella does), or we can use our brains to think through any situation before we react.

When someone says something you don't like (imagine that!), you can react like Bella OR use your human brain to decide on purpose how to respond.

If someone cuts you off in traffic, do you want to use your animal reactive brain and flip the guy off and risk a road rage incident, OR do you want to use your human brain and decide on purpose if that brief moment of anger response is worth the risk?

There are two ways to be angry: reacting to your animal brain OR using your human brain to think first and act with purpose.

Don't be a Bella.

If you would like to learn more about managing your "Bella" brain, I'd love to show you how.


Alisa & Bella

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