One such experience is the impact of fear and stress on our ability to think clearly.
We have all experienced being ‘put on the spot’ and the dreadful moment when we realise that the answer we need just isn’t going to come. We know it’s is in there yet we just can’t access it when we need it most.
The reason is, to a significant degree, chemical. The part of our brains which interprets our experience sets off involuntary neurochemical responses to it fractionally before our rational brain starts to make sense of it. If the question in our example is interpreted as a threat, this instantaneous chemical reaction will prepare us for a fight, flight or freeze response. Not a ‘let me think that through and come up with an insightful answer’ response. Useful in ancient times. Not so much in a modern-day work context.
This might encourage us to treat each other with a little more compassion. The person asking the question may not have intended it as a threat. Nor can the recipient exercise any control over their brain’s neuro-chemical response to it.
To get the best out of each other, science confirms what we already feel: we need to communicate with care and help each other’s brains feel a little more loved, and a little less threatened.