If someone turns you down for a social event, you leap to the interpretation that they don't like you, not even considering that they may have had previous plans. You may be easily triggered, reacting in ways that seem inappropriate or out of proportion. You may get lost in ruminations. This is your brain reviewing information to make sure you're alert and safe. As an adult, I know that it's good to strive for success, but perfection should never be the goal. Iceberg Belief: I need to be taken care of at all times. Ice Breaker: There's that old iceberg floating up from my past again. As an adult, I have been looking after myself for years. I've been able to do it before, and I can do it now, too. Iceberg Belief: I work hard, so I should be allowed to eat as many treats as I want. Ice Breaker: Says who? By what right or entitlement should I be allowed to eat anything I want? Bodies and metabolisms don't always work that way. Mine doesn't, and lots of other people can't get away with that, either. Frequently this person is differentiated from the other members simply by his status, his superior knowledge, his age, his behavior, his dress, or any number of other factors. This is seen in groups that are formed spontaneously, such as a party group, an ad hoc committee, or an action group. Boys' gangs, play groups, informal discussion groups -- all seem to develop leaders that are often only perceived as such. The members of such groups look to particular persons for leadership, and accept their assumption of the leadership role. The perceived leader has a less secure position than the chosen or imposed leader, needless to say, for the perceptions of group members change much more easily than does the structure of an institution. Here the thesis has been advanced that leaders inhibit group growth, yet almost all groups, if not all, have leaders.

This appears to be a stalemate. The difficulty, however, probably can be found in the very nature of previous conceptions of leadership and the leader-role. A solution to this dilemma might be that a concept of leadership is emerging which would make it possible for a group to have a particular kind of leader who would facilitate the distribution of leadership, and would accelerate the development of a group toward the maximum utilization of its potential. A Concept of Leadership and a Paradox You may have difficulty sleeping, because you are thinking too much and sometimes feel a sense of dread. This is about keeping you prepared in case something terrible happens. Chronic activation of the stress response also amps up neural connections and activity in the amygdala, which, if you remember, is considered our fear center. High levels of stress make the amygdala larger, resulting in more fear and anxiety and heightened excitability. As cortisol levels rise, signals in your hippocampus (the area of the brain associated with learning and memory) deteriorate. Sustained high levels of cortisol can also cause your brain to shrink, resulting in a reduction of synaptic connections between neurons and a smaller prefrontal cortex. Excess cortisol also suppresses the immune and digestive systems, making energy available for more essential functions. On a long-term basis, suppressing the immune system can result in increased vulnerability to viruses like colds, increased cancer risk, susceptibility to developing food allergies, and possibly a higher risk of autoimmune disease, among other maladies. Suppressed digestive and absorptive functions also means you are more vulnerable to digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and colitis. It could also exacerbate ulcers. Even those who can eat all the treats they want and not gain weight aren't doing their bodies any good by getting away with it. STEER AROUND THE ICEBERG Sometimes, you'll bump up against an iceberg that isn't serving you, but it only shows up in one or two very specific situations. For example, many men have developed the following iceberg: A real man can fix anything. It drives them to don that toolbelt once a year and risk life and limb to fix the air-conditioning unit. When they fail to fix it, they get frustrated and down.

They've been found wanting as men! The good news is that they'll only hit this iceberg in these very narrow straits. Melting big icebergs can be resource-intense, and it doesn't happen right away. Challenge . What is emerging from recent attempts to utilize therapeutic approaches in group leadership and administration is both a new concept of leadership and a paradox growing out of this concept. The paradox may already be apparent from the previous paragraphs. It may be stated more explicitly as follows: The most effective leader is one who can create the conditions by which he will actually lose the leadership. Thus, the person who finds himself the leader of a group will, by creating the proper conditions, distribute the leadership function throughout the group. It seems that there may be a direct relationship between the degree to which the leadership is given over to the group and the extent to which the group will utilize the maximum potential of its members. The resemblance is striking between this principle and the belief of the client-centered counselor that the more willing he is for the client to assume responsibility and direction for his own life, the more rewarding is the release of the strengths and capacities which exist within the client. Why should it be true that leadership is distributed throughout a group only to the degree that the leader relinquishes it? It is known how dependence upon a leader operates to inhibit independent behavior on the part of group members. We have seen, too, how authority produces reactive rather than constructive and creative behavior. What's more, high cortisol levels can deplete you of dopamine, the feel-good hormone. When your brain is low in dopamine, you may feel lethargic, unmotivated, and unenthusiastic. It's as if low dopamine sucks the fun out of life. You may try to compensate with mood and energy boosters, like coffee or methamphetamine. An increase in cortisol can also lead to a decrease in serotonin production--that's the hormone that helps give you a sense of well-being. A decrease in serotonin can make you feel anger and physical pain more readily while also contributing to depression.

People who have had repetitive activation of their stress response also experience spikes in the stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol more quickly and disproportionately to a situation and take much longer to return to baseline than those who haven't. THE STRESS OF INJUSTICE I want to pay particular attention to the stress of injustice, as it can take a silent toll on your body. It isn't easy dealing with ongoing poverty, misgendering, ageism, ableism, or racism, whether you're facing overt discrimination or microaggressions, which are subtler and thus harder to identify and address. It's a process. So you want to choose the ones worth spending your mental energy on. Certain ones may pop up only in specific situations, like, say, when you visit your in-laws. These icebergs are not hitting a broad swath of your life, so they aren't worth the bother of melting. But you do need a map to help steer around them. Try to think of your situation-specific icebergs and when they might come up, which will enable you to plan ahead for hot spots. Do they happen when you need to fix something around the house, at events at your child's school, on tax day? Next, think of the steps you can take to minimize their effect in these particular circumstances. Here are a few examples: Iceberg Belief: I should be treated with love and respect by my family at all times. We have evidence of the reluctance of people to show their ignorance in the presence of the expert, or the well-informed person. People apparently must feel secure and free from threat in order to be themselves, in order to participate freely, in order to expose their ideas or feelings to others. Traditional leadership, it seems, rarely gives people such security and freedom. By giving up the leadership to the group, it might be said that the leader progressively becomes more of a group member. He becomes another potential contributor to the group effort. Thus, the goal of the effective leader becomes one of gradually getting acceptance from the group members as a person who is just one of them.

It should be pointed out, however, that this goal is often used by leaders simply as a technique for disguising the real differences between them and the group -- a technique that is often satirized as the buddy-buddy approach in group leadership. Just think of me as one of you, an administrator was recently overheard saying. The industrial executive especially goes to great lengths sometimes to create the impression that he is just one of the boys on the team. It is very doubtful that these techniques accomplish their purpose of changing group members' perceptions of the leader as the one who has more authority, status, responsibility, or skill. You may be dealing with it and getting by, but not without consequence. Each emotional (or physical) blow adds to your allostatic load. While a single blatantly traumatic event bumps up your allostatic load substantially, so too does the accumulation of small, less explicit stressors over time. Perhaps you hear microaggressions and dismiss them as insignificant, just little things that hurt people's feelings. Don't be fooled; Feeling dismissed, alienated, insulted, or invalidated has a biological impact. Each emotional insult may not stand out, but their accumulation over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience. It can be difficult for someone who doesn't share an identity to understand the severity of a particular individual microaggression without having that historical experience. It can even be difficult for those of us who are victims of those microaggressions. I get that kicked in the gut feeling sometimes for little things. When It Shows Up: When my teenager disobeys me, talks back, or takes out his bad mood on me, I get very angry. Ice Breaker: This is just a stage he's going through. He's a teen, so he's testing limits and trying to figure out the world and his place in it. It's part of his development. It's not personal; Let me wait until things calm down and then let him know what I expect without yelling.