When you’re in a situation where you feel like you don’t have control, it can be easy to become paralyzed by fear and unable to move forward. This often leads to bad decision-making. But understanding how your brain works can provide you with a path for getting back on track and sticking to your goals, says Dr. Mark McLaughlin, author of Cognitive Dominance: A Brain Surgeon’s Quest to Out-Think Fear.
“It’s possible to train your brain to think differently when events make you feel stymied and you don’t know what to do,” he says.
As a practicing neurosurgeon, McLaughlin is no stranger to intense situations. To deal with the stress of his job and enhance his performance, he created a quadrant system to harness the strengths of the brain’s hemispheres. While most of us don’t make life-or-death decisions in an operating room, McLaughlin says the methodology can be applied to any situation that induces fear.