Red light is a really challenging place. When I first started working with this, my son and I were on red a lot. A lot meaning that we were on red most of the time. We each looked very different on red. I tended to be more shut down and he was more active, throwing things and yelling. I was trying to blend into the wall and he was trying to get me to connect with him, albeit in ways that didn’t work for either of us.
When we’re in red, we’re in survival. What do you need? Begin by slowing yourself down. Feel your feet on the floor. Look around the room you’re in right now and name 3 things you can see. What red requires of us is to connect with the fear, anger, or frustration of the other person while putting your own feelings aside, which is really difficult. The amygdala, the fear receptor of the brain, is connected to others’ amygdala. When you can calm your own brain, you can help others calm theirs just by calming yours and not saying a word. You’ll need to learn to move through the energy so you can connect with yourself and others. It is very difficult (impossible) to think in this place, so that’s why yellow is so important to begin to identify. You still have a chance there.
Someone on red isn’t going to be able to hear the words you’re saying. Words don’t help here. And if you’re on red, you’re going to say things you don’t mean when you’re in this part of your brain. It helped me to understand my parents and helped me to feel more compassion for how much stress they were under when I was growing up. It really helped me understand their behavior. And I learned that I’m not crazy, either. I was just on red.
You can teach your children about this and help them learn how to move through the brain stoplight and back to green. Good stuff!