The amygdala refers to an almond-sized portion of the brain that is responsible for screening the events and stimuli in our environment. (Actually we each have a pair of amygdala — right and left — located in the middle-lower portion of the brain.) When things are going well, your amygdala and your physiology remain calm; however, when a perceived threat arises, the amygdala triggers your fight, flight or freeze response and a cascade of uncomfortable chemicals in the body.
A “One-Size-Fits-All” Response
It’s important to note that a threat can be physical or emotional; a snub by a colleague can be felt as just as much of a threat as being cut off in traffic, as both are perceived as jeopardizing survival. The amygdala doesn’t forget, either; once snubbed by the colleague, for example, it partners with the hypothalamus to remember that person/situation and trigger a feeling of high alert if a similar situation arises.
When the amygdala triggers the stress response, we feel anxious and uncomfortable. Logical, nuanced thought takes a back seat. Therein lies the problem with the amygdala; while it was very effective in getting us out of harm`s way when faced with a saber-toothed tiger or dinosaur in years gone by, its stress trigger and blockage of nuanced thinking can prevent us from navigating out of more nuanced “threats” in modern situations. Our reaction can instead escalate into social anxiety, fears and phobias that feel impossible to navigate.
Taking Back Control
Fortunately, there are ways to calm your amygdala and “rewire” such responses through Energy Medicine. The next time you are triggered in a non-life threatening situation, take a pause; if possible, excuse yourself, get some privacy, and hold the front portion of your head and forehead with your hands; this will help to draw energy and blood flow away from the fight-or-flight mechanism and back into the forebrain where logic rules. Your nervous system will calm itself and new solutions/orientations to the stressor can be generated.
The Power of Intention
Calming the amygdala and activating the more resourceful forebrain can be done via intention as well. Simply visualize sending calming energy to the part of your brain just above the roof of your mouth where the dual-amygdalae are located. As you calm these almond-sized nodes in your brain, send energizing intentions toward the front of your brain to stimulate blood flow there, heal past traumas and generate more resourceful solutions going forward.
In many ways, human biology is still trying to catch up with the societal and technological advances of the last century. “Evolving the amygdala” consciously is one way to contribute and take back control of your quality of life.