Have you ever had the feeling that no matter how much you try to change your thinking you still feel anxiety? You wrestle with your thoughts, you expose yourself to your fears, you study yourself an incredible amount only to still feel ‘icky’ most of the day? Welcome to the amygdala. A walnut shaped structure located within the limbic part of your brain that resents positivity.
The Amygdala Looks For Bad News… In Everything!
It’s like your grandmother who just won’t stop talking about how groovy the 40’s and 50’s were and how awful life looks today. It’s true, your amygdala sorts for bad news and finds it. Upon finding it, it relays the bad news to the rest of your body causing you to misinterpret threats in your daily life.
Our emotions, bodily symptoms, imagination, verbal communication, vocabulary, and inner dialogue all succumb to the negativity bias held by the amygdala. Soon, we begin thinking that this is just the way life is! A struggle from one moment to the next. Avoidance behaviours grow and we forget about the idea of healing long term. We rest our attention instead on coping and managing anxiety (the difference between coping and recovering).
Around 70% Of The Amygdala’s Cells Are Organized Around Negative Stimuli.
You can stop beating yourself up now.
It’s not you, it’s our organic make-up that’s the problem. We feed into the negativity bias more and more as we lose touch with reality. Soon our identity is anxiety, panic disorder, depression, or whatever label you’ve been given or have given yourself. We then adjust our entire lives around this label, it’s like a permanent tattoo stuck within our spirits.
Anytime we attempt to defy this anxious identity we find ourselves stuck in the middle of a desert. Foreign territory with no water, no food, no ‘friends’ and no direction. So we scatter back to fear and familiarity rather than look to solve the challenges that come with change. If you run from uncertainty you’ll always be running, remember that.
The Amygdala Needs Guidance, So Guide It.
Without mindfulness there is no guidance. If we don’t look for something we’ll never find it, so we must look for opportunities to guide rather than be blindly led by the actions of our past. People today hold much more inner power than they think, they’re just unpracticed. When someone is unpracticed in something they’ll fall for anything and everything, leading to fear and feelings of being distraught.
You’ve survived 100% of your bad days!
Think about that for a moment. The amygdala has presented you with threat after threat on the outside and on the inside (symptoms etc) and you’ve survived each one. What does that tell you about the amount of focus and attention you’ve been giving to your fears? What a waste of time! What a waste of a life!
Without Surrender There Can Be No Joint Effort With The Fight Or Flight Response.
What that means is that unless you begin perceiving your fears differently and acting in defiance of your initial feelings, there’s no freedom. Inner peace is what freedom is to me, that’s it. A state of inner peace is a state of letting go. To open ourselves up to being less judgemental and seeing the middle ground no matter what the situation is.
Chasing happiness doesn’t work. It just depletes us and could lead to such severe symptoms as depersonalizaton, but unconditional surrender does work. You can’t lead the amygdala toward new perceptions, ones that recognize the neutral sides of things without first stepping into the fear itself. If the worst is going too happen let it. In the worst case scenario you’ll just re-incarnate anyway (a belief I took on many years ago).
What a beautiful place to live on the inside.
Life Is More Than Just About Protecting What We Currently Have.
It’s about evolving, changing, shifting. It’s your job starting today to be a part of this change and work with the amygdala to lessen your overall anxiety levels for good. There’s no sabre toothed tigers anymore, no flying monkeys that will invade your home through the windows, no creepy crawlers beneath your bed.
We must stop acting like these things are real starting today.
Once The Amygdala Can Imagine A Different Future Outcome, The Mind And Body Will Calm Itself As Well.
Key word here is imagine. The imagination is the password to your nervous system, and your emotions are the keyboard. Together they form a skill set that must be developed daily that I call emotional reframing. Emotional reframing can be to imagine the BEST case future scenario, or a better one from your past.
If you’re currently doing the end the anxiety program make sure to utilize the image cycling and grey room audios daily. These along with the reframing videos on my YouTube channel (here’s the playlist) are essential tools for taming the amygdala and healing anxiety.
Fear doesn’t have to run your life anymore. You can show fear what’s real and what’s not. This is a response in the moment of fear rather than a reaction led by the reptile and emotional parts of our brains. The amygdala can be a friend rather than foe, if only we can begin to act in opposing ways to its commands.
Positive Experiences Can Lead To Better Thoughts, Feelings, And Imagery In Time.
The key word here is ‘in time.’ Negative experiences are much more easily stored in the amygdala than positive ones, and we must keep that in mind. The more ‘good’ experiences we have the faster we change. The faster we change the better role models we’re going to be for people that look to us for answers.
As the energy that you give off changes so will your external circumstances. This is a sign that the amygdala is in a more balanced place. When good things start happening to you and you’re not forcing them to happen, don’t be alarmed. Instead, be accepting of these moments and open your arms wide to greater and great experiences in the future.
Listen to today’s full episode of The Anxiety Guy Podcast Right Here:
Leave a comment or question in the comment section below. I’d love to hear what you got out of this anxiety guy podcast episode on the amygdala and how it affects our anxiety from day to day.