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National elections are tough times for those of us with a bi-partisan nature. They’re even worse for therapists who try to help people access the Adult brain under stress. (That’s the prefrontal cortex, which regulates impulses and carries out our more profound and humane cognitive functions.) Staying in the Adult brain consistently is hard enough during non-election years. Under stress, the Toddler brain (emotional, all-or-nothing, “Mine! No!”) hijacks the Adult brain, impairing its ability to take other perspectives, weigh evidence, see nuance, plan for the future, and create value and meaning. The Toddler brain is highly susceptible to emotional contagion; toddlers take on whatever negative emotions are around them, as any parent who has been tense or irritable near one can attest. …

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Steven Stosny ©2016

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