In situations of high stress, fear or distrust, the hormone and neurotransmitter cortisol floods the brain. Executive functions that help us with advanced thought processes like strategy, trust building, and compassion shut down. And the amygdala, our instinctive brain, takes over. The body makes a chemical choice about how best to protect itself — in this case from the shame and loss of power associated with being wrong — and as a result is unable to regulate its emotions or handle the gaps between expectations and reality.
That’s partly due to another neurochemical process. When you argue and win, your brain floods with different hormones: adrenaline and dopamine, which makes you feel good, dominant, even invincible. It’s a the feeling any of us would want to replicate. So the next time we’re in a tense situation, we fight again. We get addicted to being right.
Luckily, there’s another hormone that can feel just as good as adrenaline: oxytocin. It’s activated by human connection and it opens up the networks in our executive brain, or prefrontal cortex, further increasing our ability to trust and open ourselves to sharing.
Our Brain is hooked on being right most of the time, trying constantly to defend what we believe we are or what we have: our possessions,our title, our career, our image,etc.
But if we are in auto pilot mode all of the time, how can we change that and break the habit of being right? First we need to be aware of that, we need to realize every time we are in a discussion, or just talking with someone, and we start to feel the emotion of anger in our bodies, that is the time to realize we are feeling it, because we have just hooked in defending our point of view.
After we realized that, then we need to ask ourselves this:
What if the other person is right?, What if I am not right? What would it happen if I would agree with the other person? What if I could listen with empathy?
By doing this, your break the pattern of defending yourself, and activate the Oxytocin in your body, opening your state of mind and your awareness, and experiencing bliss instead of anxiety. By doing that you are giving the first step in creating a new habit, and with every time you do it, the habit reaffirms, until you break the old habit, because an old habit that is not used, dissolves in our brain, giving space to the new habit, which instead of anxiety, gives us happiness.