The Problem With TROLLS! by
Scott Warrick, JD, MLHR, SPHR Human Resource Consulting and Employment Law Services (614) 367-0842: Office ♣ (614) 738-8317: Cell www.scottwarrick.com
What are our workplaces really like? Well …
77% of all Americans HATE like their jobs, (Gallup Poll 2005)
20% more Americans have HEART ATTACKS on Monday morning than on any other day of the week, (CardioResearcher.com)
HOMICIDE is now the SECOND LEADING cause of DEATH in the workplace in the US, (However… HOMICIDE is the LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR WOMEN), (Bureau of Labor Statistics, or “BLS”)
THREE Americans are MURDERED in the workplace EVERYDAY (BLS) … and
Over 1,000,000 Americans are PHYSICALLY ASSAULTED in the workplace EVERY YEAR … which equates to 18,000 Americans needing first aid or emergency room treatment EVERY WEEK because some co-worker had finally had enough and hit them in the head with a trash can! (BLS)
Why are our workplaces so caustic? Well, according to various surveys, including those conducted by CareerBuilder.com and Scott Hunter, author of “Making Work Work” (Hunter Alliance Press, 2003), the number one reason Americans hate their jobs are:
Bullies Of course, my term for a “bully” is a “Troll.”
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Which is Stronger … Logic or Emotions?
IQ vs. EQ
Why Are Emotions SO Much Stronger Than Our Logic? Different parts of our brain do different things, as shown in the following diagram:
Frontal Lobes Hippocampus
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FRONTAL LOBES: LOGIC
Further from Brain Stem
Loses Blood Supply in “Fight or Flight”
Closer to the Brain Stem
Retains Blood Supply in “Fight or Flight”
FIGHT or FLIGHT What happens in your body? 1. We hear, see, taste, smell or feel a “danger” or stimulus. The brain instantly sends an alarm down our “Vagus Nerve” which goes directly to our adrenal glands, located right below our kidneys. We then get that “tightening knot” in our “gut.”
3. The blood in the body is re-routed to the lungs, arms and legs, leaving the frontal lobes deprived of blood and the face “flushed.”
2. The adrenal glands release epinephrine (adrenaline) into our body. This release of adrenaline will then speed up our heart rate. When our heart rate hits approximately 145 beats per minute, we go into full fight or flight.
As illustrated in the above diagram, a stimulus of some kind enters the brain, either through the skin, eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. Your brain senses a danger from one of these senses, so the “fear” response is initiated. This is the primary and strongest emotion experienced by humans. This emotion of fear initiates our fight or flight response.
Since your body thinks it is under attack, your vagus nerve is immediately activated. Your vagus nerve acts like a kind of “express elevator” that carries sensory messages directly to and from the brain and your adrenal glands. 3 “Solving Employee Problems Before They Happen.” 614-367-0842 (Office) (614) 738-8317 (CELL phone)
One set of adrenal glands are located in your brain, or more specifically, your adrenal cortex. This releases the adrenaline hormone norepinephrine directly into the amygdalae at lightning speed, possibly as fast as 1/12,000ths of a second.
At the same time, the vagus nerve sends its message of impending danger directly to the “adrenal medulla,” or your adrenal glands, which are located right below the kidneys. The adrenal medulla then releases adrenaline throughout the rest of the body. This is why you get that tight feeling in your gut when you get nervous, such as when you see a “Troll” coming towards you, or on Sunday evening when you think about going back into that “hell hole” on Monday morning. This is your body going into fight or flight. It senses danger and it is trying to get you ready for battle. Now you know why we have 20% more heart attacks on Monday morning than any other day of the week. (Outside the brain this adrenaline hormone is “epinephrine.” Inside the brain it is “norepinephrine.”)
Once enough epinephrine has been released into the body and your heart rate reaches about 145 beats per minute, your body will go into full fight or flight. What does that mean? Your body’s “alarm” will be “sounded” and your amygdale will commandeer your brain. Your blood will be automatically “re-routed” to the large skeletal muscles in your legs, arms, and lungs, preparing your body to either do “battle” or “retreat.”
As the “epinephrine” builds in our body and “norepinephrine” builds in our amygdalae, then…
FIGHT OR FLIGHT!
However, it is important to understand that the body did not make any more blood. Considering the fact that your body does not need your frontal lobes to live … but you need them to think, if your body just re-routed the blood in your body to the large skeletal muscles in your arms, legs and lungs … then where did the blood leave? That’s right: THE BRAIN! You are brain impaired! (This is also why our faces “flush” when we become angry. The blood leaves our face to go where the body feels it is needed … which leaves us with a “cold” sensation in our face. This is where we get the feeling that our “blood runs cold.”) How quickly can you jump into a state of fight or flight? Within a matter of seconds. Your heart can speed up anywhere from 10 to 30 beats per heart beat! Within seconds, we can go into full fight or flight and become emotionally hijacked. If your frontal lobes lack blood, then they will not function properly, which means you lose much of your ability to reason and make good decisions. We then go on “automatic” and “reactive” emotional functioning, which is why we revert to our primal instincts so quickly. This lack of blood in our frontal lobes is why we sometimes kick our cars when we get angry:
We’re nuts! To illustrate this effect, below are two nuclear SPECT scans of the underside of a human brain. The forehead is at the top and you are looking up into the underside of the brain… like as if you were looking at someone lying down in bed up through the bottom of their chin.
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The scan on the left shows how a healthy normal brain should look. Notice how nice and “full” this scan appears. (Don’t pay any attention to the coloring. That doesn’t mean anything.) There are not any “holes” in this brain, which means it is getting nice even blood flow. Again, if you do not have a nice steady flow of blood into the brain, it will not work properly. Most everyone understands this concept because this is the problem with a stroke. The brain scan on the right shows a very different image. In this scan, the person has become “agitated” and so it does not have proper blood flow to their frontal lobes … which is what we experience when our brain engages in the “fight or flight” response, to one degree or another. The blood has been “re-routed” to our lungs and large skeletal muscles. As a result, the blood flow to the frontal lobes has been greatly diminished so this person’s ability to reason and make good decisions is greatly impaired. When there is reduced blood flow to certain areas of the brain, the brain appears as if it has “holes” in it. These are not really holes. What these images reveal is simply a lack of blood flow to the brain, which appears as holes in this nuclear brain scan. When this happens to us, our emotions overtake our logic. The amygdalae takes control of our actions because it is capable of triggering our emotions long before the frontal lobes even know what is happening. In other words, when we lose our temper and go into a blind rage, we have been “Emotionally Hijacked.”
Why Do I Forget Things When I Am Stressed?
You can actually get a mental impairment, which means you have damaged your brain, in different ways. You could be born with a mental impairment. You could also have an injury or an illness that would damage your brain in some way, which would also give you a mental impairment. Your diet could give you mental impairment, which will be discussed in more detail later in these materials. And finally, the people around you can literally drive you crazy. 5 “Solving Employee Problems Before They Happen.” 614-367-0842 (Office) (614) 738-8317 (CELL phone)
Today, with nuclear SPECT scans, we can actually look inside your brain and watch it work. Healthy Brain
Brain with (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Cingulate Gyrus Basil Ganglia
Limbic System Base of Head Under view Above you will see two nuclear SPECT “activity scans” of two brains. An activity scan measures the amount of heat your brain generates. Since all of our thoughts are really chemical and electrical reactions in our brain, this is how it should look. Everything in blue is your “baseline temperature.” Anything in red is burning about 15% hotter so it is “overactive.” At the base of the brain, you can see the cerebellum, which controls all of our automatic functions, like our breathing, heart rate, balance and so on. This area is burning hotter because we rely on these need these functions to stay alive. If you then look at the brain on the left, you will also see in the center of the brain that the “limbic” system is burning a little bit hotter, which indicates a “touch” of depression. That is not unusual. Also on the brain on the left, you will see two little balls glowing towards the top of the head. These are the basil ganglias. This is a little bit of “anxiety” or “apprehension.” Again, that is not entirely bad for us. This is why we tend to look both ways when we cross the street, pull out into traffic, and so on. If you then look at the brain scan on the right, you will see a brain that looks “angry.” It is greatly inflamed. If you look at the center of the brain on the right, the limbic system is much more inflamed than the one on the left. It is actually inflamed approximately 50 times larger than the one on the left, making it much more “irritated” and overactive. (See arrow.) Whereas the brain on the left was a little sad, the limbic system on the right shows full blown clinical depression. If you next look at the basil ganglia on the brain to the right, you can see that they are greatly inflamed when compared to the brain on the left. Since the basil ganglia are inflamed 10 to 20 times their original size, what was previously a little “apprehension” and “anxiety” is now full blown “panic attacks.” And finally, if you look at top center of the brain on the right, you will see a little red stripe, This is the beginning of “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,” or OCD.
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The “cingulate gyrus” runs the length of your brain. It connects the two hemispheres to one another, which allows them to “talk” with one another. This is why humans are “bilateral,” which means our thoughts can flow from one side of the brain to the other. As a comparison, horses do not have a cingulate gyrus connecting the two sides of their brain. As a result, they are not bilateral. So, if you teach a horse to be mounted from the left, you have to start all over again if you want to teach that same horse how to be mounted from the right. (This biological fact made things very interesting when the U.S. Army used to take the Native Americans’ ponies and try to mount and ride them. Native Americans taught their ponies to be mounted from the right. U.S. soldiers always tried to mount a horse from the left. Many U.S. soldiers had very sore backsides from that experience.) You should therefore think of your cingulate gyrus like a chain link fence. Thoughts will flow through it to the other side. However, if our cingulate gyrus becomes inflamed, then the thoughts will not be able to pass through the “fence,” so they will get “stuck.” With our thoughts “stuck” in the cingulate gyrus, that is when we “can’t get off it, can’t get off it, can’t get off it,” and so on. That is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. If you connect these three different mental impairments, Depression, Panic Attacks and OCD, you will see a “diamond” shape emerge, as you can see in the following brain scan. This is what we call “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” or “PTSD.” Brain with (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
This is the condition so many of our soldiers have coming back from Iraq. Walter Reed Army Hospital reported that over 300,000 of our troops are “unfit” for duty, even though they might not have a scratch showing on them. They have PTSD.
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How did they get PTSD? Well, you go into an urban war zone and stay on “high alert” flooding your brain with cortisol and adrenaline for 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 15 months, 16 months, 18 months, 20 months for one tour of duty, and then do this all again for a second tour and for some troops … and unprecedented third tour … you would have problems too. This is why you are seeing so many of our troops returning from the war abusing drugs and alcohol. They are self-medicating a “red hot” brain. You would drink a lot too if your brain was on fire. This is also why you are seeing our troops suffering from a host of mental issues upon their return, many of which are ending in suicide. By the end of 2008, the suicide rate of our military veterans actually surpassed that of the general population. The moral is simple: If you continue to flood your brain with cortisol and adrenaline, you will one day have a mental impairment. This flooding will damage your brain, and depending on which part gets “scorched,” that will be the impairment you will contract.
The Affects of Distress
LEFT SIDE ACTIVITY VIEW 37 year old male attorney who, on several occasions, chased other drivers who had cut him off and on two occasions got out of the car and bashed their windows in with a baseball bat he kept in the car. After the second incident, he came to see me. He said, “If I don’t get help for this I’m sure I’ll end up in jail.” His Cingulate Gyrus was markedly overactive, causing him to get locked into the negative thoughts and subsequently be less able to control his frustration. His SPECT scan shows: marked increased activity in the Cingulate Gyrus and left temporal lobe (arrows), which correlates with irritability and overfocus issues.
Paul “Paul” was a 28 year old gardener who went to the Amen Clinic due to the stress he was experiencing on the job He had increasingly intense feelings of rage toward his boss, who was apparently bullying Paul because he was Hispanic. Paul would often day dream about killing his boss, but his thoughts of his wife and small daughter prevented him from going through with it. Still, Paul could not get the anger toward his boss out of his head. He could even envision himself someday being on the top of a tower shooting down at people. His EEG came back normal. A brain SPECT study was ordered by Dr. Amen. Below you will see Paul’s scans.
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Paul’s brain activity SPECT scan revealed much more information. The scan revealed that Paul’s left temporal lobe would “heat up” (short fuse), as would his cingulate gyrus (stuck on thoughts, which is “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,” or “OCD.”). Because of these scans, Paul was placed on the anticonvulsant Tegretol, and then Prozac several weeks later. After six weeks, Paul reported that he had acquired a new sense of increased inner control and inner peace. His angry outbursts decreased and he was able to go to work at a new job. In short, if you continue to flood your brain with these caustic doses of chemicals, you will damage your brain. These chemicals will inflame whatever parts of the brain in which they continue to come in contact. Over time, these areas will become damaged, as happened with Paul.
What Is In This For Me? YOUR HEALTH! HEALTH RISK #1: HEART DISEASE AND STROKE HEALTH RISK #2: GETTING SICK! HEALTH RISK #3: AGING BEYOND YOUR YEARS HEALTH RISK #4: MEMORY LOSS HEALTH RISK #5: MENTAL IMPAIRMENTS
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Scott Warrick, JD, MLHR, SPHR Human Resource Consulting & Employment Law Services (614) 367-0842: Office (614) 738-8317: Cell
WHAT DO I DO? Diet Have you ever heard the expression, “You are what you eat?” Nothing could be more true. Anyone who has ever seen the Morgan Spurlock movie, “Supersize Me” understands the drastic affect a poor diet can have on our health. In Mr. Spurlock’s film, he eats McDonald’s three times a day … everyday for 30 days. Before he began this 30 day trek, he had a complete physical. The final verdict was that he was in above average physical condition. His doctors predicted that he would gain weight, maybe not feel as good, and his cholesterol and triglycerides would rise. However, by the end of eating McDonald’s everyday for every meal for 30 days, Spurlock gained 24 pounds and developed the following health conditions: Heart Palpitations Liver Failure Depression Mood Swings Sexual Dysfunction Now, most people can probably understand the weight gain, but liver failure? Heart palpitations? Those are life threatening conditions. That’s right. Spurlock’s doctors told him that if he did not end this diet, he would do his body irreparable harm. He could die. Also astonishing were the mental impairments suffered by Spurlock, including depression, mood swings and actually becoming “sexually dysfunctional”? I mean, liver failure and heart palpitations are one thing … but sexually dysfunctional? Oh, my, God! How can your diet affect your mental health?
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Well, “diet” is also critical in maintaining good brain health. Your brain is very fragile since it has the consistency of soft room temperature butter. Your brain also burns 20% to 30% of everything we eat, even though it comprises less than 2% - 3% of our total body weight. Therefore, we need to think of food as “fuel.” In order to function properly, our brains need less fat and more protein. We must also make sure that we are consuming the appropriate level of vitamins and minerals each day. Sad to say, far too many Americans each week make very poor diet choices. Not only does that affect our waistline, but it has a direct affect on our mental health. Even more disturbing, however, is what our diets are doing to our children. Since your brain burns 20% to 30% of everything you eat, the food we use for our bodies fuel is crucial for our mental health … but it is even more important for our children’s developing mental health. If children do not receive the nutrition they need, severe mental impairments could result, such as “Attention Deficit Disorder,” or “ADD.” Below is a short list of some resources for maintaining a proper balance of chemicals for the health of your brain and body.
Anti-Oxidants Anti-oxidants can reduce the free radicals and toxins throughout the entire body, thus allowing better blood flow and nutrients to the brain. Commonly found in fruits and vegetables. Mangosteen 100 is an excellent way to ensure that you get your daily anti-oxidants. HTTP://WWW.A1SUPPLEMENTS.COM
Protein Proteins are the building blocks of healthy cells. Foods include chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, pork and cheese. GNC protein bars and drinks are excellent for people on the go. For a good supply of protein bars to review, go to http://www.gnc.com/home/index.jsp.
Fish Oil The Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and increase the growth and maintenance of cells in the brain’s frontal lobes, which regulates our decision making ability. Daily supplements are available just about everywhere. For vegetarians there is DHA Omega-3.
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Multivitamin XYMOGEN manufactures one of the most complete multivitamin packets on the market. It is called “Activ Essentials.” One is made for men and one for women. Just go on line and search for “Activ Essentials.”
Juicers We do not eat right because chocolate tastes better to most people than carrots and broccoli. This is also why it is easier to get an appointment with God than to get our children to eat right. However, getting a good juicer can be a great way to supplement your diet. You can add all kinds of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants to your diet by simply mixing up a pitcher of juice, putting it into the refrigerator and drinking it across the next few days.
Need Better Sleep? When you sleep, you emit excess cortisol from your body. You also transfer information from your short term memory (hippocampus) to your long term memory. Supplements such as “Ltryptophan,” which is an essential amino acid that is a precursor for serotonin, calms you down and makes you sleepy. Taking this an hour or so before you are ready for bed can be very useful. “Melatonin” is also a natural drug that can be very helpful in making you sleepy before bedtime.
Organic Avoid pesticides as much as possible. ORGANIC … ORGANIC … ORGANIC!!!!
Fast Food Nutrition Facts “Fast Food” and other types of restaurants play a vital role in our lives. However, you need to know what you are eating so you can make the best choices when you are perusing a menu. The following website can give you very useful information in making these choices. http://www.fastfoodnutrition.org/ For more information on the link between nutrition and your brain’s health, just go to:
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Scott Warrick, JD, MLHR, SPHR Human Resource Consulting and Employment Law Services (614) 367-0842 Office ♣ (614) 738-8317 Cell ♣ (614) 367-1044 FAX
www.scottwarrick.com CEO Magazine’s 2008 Human Resources “Superstar” Nationally Certified Emotional Intelligence Instructor 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2003 SHRM National Diversity Conference Presenter
PREVENTING Employee Problems from happening and
Training Managers and Employees ON-SITE in over 40 topics
Scott travels the country presenting his revolutionary “Tolerance & Diversity for White Guys … And Other Human Beings,” which focuses on the BASIC SKILLS needed to combat workplace bullying and harassment. Scott’s program teaches the importance of becoming an Emotionally Intelligent Communicator, which leads to a more tolerant workforce between managers and employees, men and women, odd people and “more odd” people and so on. Scott’s clients include the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, The Ohio State University, Area Agency on Aging, Skyline Chili, The Ohio Supreme Court, Heinz Frozen Foods, Boeing, Honeywell, International Truck & Engine, MTD Products (Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt & Bolens Lawn Products), Honda of North America, Utah State Workforce Development, etc. Scott’s academic background and awards include:
Masters degree in Labor and Human Resources: The Ohio State University
Capital University College of Law (Class Valedictorian (1st out of 233))
The Human Resource Association of Central Ohio’s Linda Kerns Award for Outstanding Creativity in the Field of Human Resource Management and the Ohio State Human Resource Council’s David Prize for Creativity in Human Resource Management
Solving Employee Problems BEFORE They Happen!
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