So, what is this interesting word?
Amygdala is a wonderful little part of our brain's limbic system. It is shaped like an almond and is responsible for emotion processing. We have one amygdala in each hemisphere of the brain. The amygdala plays a significant role in detecting and responding to danger, threat, and an emergency. Along with other functions, it also processes and stores emotional memories. Researchers are still studying this part of the brain to gain a holistic understanding.
There are times when the amygdala ends up responding to a situation before our cortex has the opportunity to think about it. Therefore, we react instead of responding. It is all about practice and improvement. In other words, training our minds to work efficiently by allowing the cortex to have the upper hand. If we all chose to let our amygdalae get away with their control, we would not be able to reason at all.
So, if you notice you are feeling emotional and reactionary to even the smallest, most ordinary situations and problems, it may be the time you intentionally trained your amygdala.
Let's look at it this way.
Stimuli > amygdala > autonomic and endocrine system activation
Autonomic system: regulates bodily functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, urination, etc.
Endocrine system: glands that produce hormones to regulate mood, sleep, growth, and development, reproduction, metabolism, etc.
Stimuli> Pre-frontal Cortex>analysis, planning, decision-making> responding
There is a massive difference in how your body will feel and manage through situations, and it all depends on which part handles the stimuli first. Although it seems preprogrammed, it is the opposite. Our minds get conditioned through experiences, which means they can be unconditioned by unlearning the damaging patterns.
Did you know that deep breathing is a great way to take a step back and slow down?
Simply focusing your attention toward your breathing can help shift the reigns from the amygdala to the pre-frontal cortex. Teaching this technique to children is so important because the more they practice it, the better their rational responses will become. They will learn to separate their emotions and think realistically instead of jumping to conclusions.