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VITAL CONVERSATIONS –
THE FAB APPROACH
Grimsley says that we can learn how to handle difficult conversations better, not
by learning new conversational techniques but by learning to engage with our
conscious thinking. We need to use deliberate focus (meditation) to refocus our
unconscious emotive processes onto more conscious processes of thinking and
When we are in charged conversations we enter into an emotional loop. We are
unable to enter into fight or flight, so the emotion gets trapped. This is because
the trapped emotion sends data to the thalamus gland, which is responsible for
the panic messages of flight or fight.
We need to deliberate interfere with this closed loop, by breaking the pathways.
We can do this through The FAB Approach.
The FAB approach
Think ‘fascinating’, just say the word in your head. This is what Grimsley describes as
a trigger word. It’s a signal to our brain to do something differently. Using a signal to
the brain makes the brain think. It interferes with the flow of messages around the
brain. It then interrupts the signals from the thalamus to the amygdala. By thinking we
have become deliberately engaged with ourselves, so we go into conscious thinking.
And the beauty about the word fascinating says Grimsley is that just saying it silently
in response to the conversation is actually quite entertaining. It triggers a different
Now acknowledge your emotion. Say to yourself; ‘this makes me feel bad because…’
By deliberately thinking about your emotions you become more in control of them.
Now breathe. Breathing really does affect how you feel. Fast shallow breathing makes
us feel out of control and panicked and fast shallow breathing tells the thalamus that
our body is in distress. So says Grimsley by focusing on breathing slow and deep we
can take control of how we feel physically and it helps calm us down too.
Want to find out more about how to have those difficult conversations? Alex Grimsley talks about this issue in this short video.