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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

When Does Your Lizard Brain Turn Into Godzilla?


Photo by Francesco Ungaro from Pexels

by Catharine Hannay

A lot of mindfulness teachers talk about the “lizard brain.” That’s because when humans feel frightened or stressed out, we can react the same way as primitive creatures like reptiles. The lizard brain gets scared even when you really aren’t in any danger, and it can make you lash out and do or say things you regret.

Have you ever experienced something like this? Maybe you were really worried about something that didn’t happen, or you got angry and said something you regret? 

Because you’re not a reptile, you can use your creative human brain to figure out ways to respond more skillfully.

Think about a time when you overreacted and what you could have done differently. Then answer the following questions.

1. Why was I upset? 

2. How did I overreact? What did I do?

3. Were there any signals that my lizard brain was getting out of control? 

4. Have I noticed these signals before?

5. The next time I start to overreact, what can I do to turn my inner Godzilla into a little baby lizard?

Adapted from Being You: A Girl's Guide to Mindfulness, by Catharine Hannay. © Prufrock Press, 2019. Used with permission.

About the Author

Catharine Hannay is the founder of and the author of Being You: A Girl’s Guide to Mindfulness, a workbook for teen girls on mindfulness, compassion, and self-acceptance. (Sales of the book help me continue to run with no sponsorship or advertising.)