skip to Main Content

Every holiday the media starts in on the relentless messaging about the joys of the season and the happiness that fills the air. And while I hope that is true for all of us, sometimes that just isn’t the reality of the meetings that happen at work at year end. Often year-end meetings look at ways the company and individual players can make last-minute Hail Mary plays to increase sales, improve morale, or decrease costs. These topics are stressful and often make attendees feel on edge waiting for the focus to turn to what they can do or what they haven’t done so far. When this happens to us, our fight-or-flight center of our brain lights up like a Christmas tree. Our brain knows when it hears a threat; it has over 400 billion brain cells and five times more of these cells are focused on threat detection than on happy thoughts.



What happens to you when you feel threatened? Well, close your eyes and spend 1-minute thinking of something stressful in your day – emails, phone calls, meetings, etc. What happens to your body? Most of us notice any or all of the following symptoms – an increase in the speed of our breath while we decrease the depth of that same breath, flushing of our face or neck, a sense of agitation, foot tapping, you may begin to notice the noises around you more than a moment before, etc. These physical symptoms are the body’s signal that your fight-or-flight mechanism has turned on and is ready to go!

What is happening is that your brain has to send signals out to push the hormones adrenaline and cortisol into your system. These hormones shunt blood away from your major organisms to provide blood to your muscles to prepare you to flee or fight. These hormones also narrow your peripheral vision and heighten your other senses ready to take in information on if you should flee or fight.

Over time, the rush of these hormones in your system when there isn’t a resolution with fleeing or fighting can put your body into an unwanted stress state. In this state, you can experience an inability to fight off colds, absorb nutrition, recall mental functions easily, and more.

So if every year-end meeting puts you in the fight-or-flight mode, you may begin to feel fatigued and may notice symptoms of unwanted stress. But you have the power to manage this reaction by calming your fight-or-flight center and upregulating your executive thinking center. In order to do this, all you need is 5 minutes in the induction phase of the Neurosculpting® process before stressful meetings.


Here is what to do:

  1.     Quiet the fight-or-flight response by focusing on safety, support, and security. To do this, notice your breath coming to you naturally and without effort or maybe you notice that you’re supported where you sit.
  2.     Engage the prefrontal cortex with benign novelty. To do this, think of a shape only you can create in your mind or maybe picture a green elf riding a candy cane around your head.

By dropping into these two steps before stressful meetings you increase your ability to be focused in the meeting using your higher executive functions like logic and empathy. These naturally downregulate the fear-based reactions brought on by the fight-or-flight functions.

Give it a try before your next meeting and see how you feel calmer and more at ease during the course of otherwise stressful events.

For more information on the process, you can visit the Neurosculpting® Institute library at

neurosculpting_institute_susan_aplin_pogue.jpgSusan Aplin Pogue

Susan focuses on the development and support of our corporate client programs.  Joining our team after extensive time in both the natural foods and financial services industries, she brings over 20 years of corporate management and training to the Neurosculpting® team. Her experience in strategic planning, human capital assessment, training program design and delivery, and execution-focused project management gives our corporate clients an internal partner at the institute who creates results-oriented, skills development programs. If your organization is looking to develop a resilient, focused, and effective workforce, please contact Susan at to start a solutions-based conversation on how our Neurosculpting Corporate Programs ® can be a cornerstone in your human capital plan.

Back To Top
×Close search