Who is Amy-G-Dala?

Who is Amy-G-Dala?


I would like to introduce you to my friend Amy… Amy-G-Dala.  Yes, my friends that is how I learned to spell this amazing little structure in our Limbic System called the Amygdala.  Additionally, when she gets hijacked there could be trouble.

The amygdala is a small almond structure in the middle of your brain.  AmyG is responsible for the perception of fear, anxiety, and the control of aggression.  AmyG also helps with the storage of memories so that you can recognize similar events in the future.  This can be good and not so good.  The good is when AmyG keeps you from getting really hurt.  For example, don’t put your hand on the hot stove or be careful there’s a tiger lurking in the bushes.  Those two things are true threats to AmyG and she recognizes you need to be safe!  This process is part of the SNS/Sympathetic Nervous System.  The not so good is when AmyG perceives a stimulus or situation as threatening when it really is not.  Additionally, this too is part of the memory process.  (Story for another time.)

AmyG’s link to your SNS/Sympathetic Nervous System is your fight, flight and flee response.  If AmyG is triggered (lions and tiger and bears oh my) or hijacked (amygdala hijack was coined by Daniel Goleman who writes about Emotional Intelligence and that’s another story for another time.) then the SNS is activated and you might be fighting, fainting, or fleeing.

Can you recognize when AmyG is being hijacked?  The first thing I recommend is listening to your body.  When AmyG begins to take over, your breathing may become faster.  Your body maybe become hot or flush.  Your hands may start to shake.  This is all part of the SNS response.  Your left-brain narrator might start to make up stories (another talk for another time).  You might feel out of control.  I say let’s attempt to get AmyG under control!

Breathe and assess the situation.  Using a deep diaphragmatic breath will start to calm down your body’s SNS response.  This breath is part of your Parasympathetic Nervous System/PNS.  The PNS helps to even out the SNS.  Your breath will help you get your brain back to calm along with all other body functions.  Assess the situation.  Is this a true threat?  Is this a lion and tigers situation or is this a possible hijack that is perceived as real but is not.  One reason deep breathing is so integral to this process is because it will help your rational mind assess the situation.  Please be aware… this takes practice and that is ok.

I know this sounds super simplistic.  I know there is a lot more to talk about but I wanted to be brief.  If you have any questions and you want to learn more about AmyG and how you can begin to get out of hijack situations, please let me know.



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