We have some auto responses that when triggered can create very negative effects within our minds by creating distorted feelings and emotions. Things that can grow into quite serious issues affecting our mental health and way we interact with others.
One such part of our brain known as the Amygdala – a Hard-Wired Automatic Response System that plays a big part in how we live in fear or not, but the good news is that we have a choice. I’ve included some fairly scientific information here, as it’s required to create an understanding process and our ability to resolve possible issues related to this. The brain can be re-trained
Located deep in the brain’s left and right temporal lobes are two almond-shaped amygdala – pronounced a-mig-da-la. They are typically no bigger than a couple cubic centimeters in adults and are found near the center of the brain. Sometimes referred to as ‘The Fear Centre’, but that description really over simplifies the extent of the effect it can have on us. Its main function is in processing emotions ‘Fear-Learning’, the most well-known is the ‘Fight-or-Flight’ response that I am sure you are well aware of. It acts like a switchboard, directing sensory inputs to one or more parts of the brain at once to assess the level of threat/danger, send and transfer to other parts of the brain to create the appropriate responses once the situation has been assessed.
Functions associated with the amygdala include:
- · Arousal
- · Autonomic responses associated with fear
- · Emotional responses
- · Hormonal secretions
- · Memory
To understand amygdala better we need to define emotion,
(e.g., fear, anger, sadness) is an unconscious, automatic reaction to the stimuli including somatic (e.g. pulse acceleration, pupil dilatation, muscle activity) and cognitive changes (e.g., changes in our attention and memory).
on the other hand, is a conscious representation of those emotions, such as feeling scared. Emotions are the result of the activities of the subcortical structures (the amygdala, hippocampus, striatum, and trunk), and cerebral sensations.
I introduce you to this information to help with my presenting a theory that I developed after researching the brain and how we learn, develop, and behave.
There is an automatic fear response within us at or before birth via the amygdala. Two examples are the startle reflex and recoil reflex. A recoil response being evident when adults get close up to an infant who responds with a wide-open mouth, likely related to fear of being eaten by a predator. So how does our knowledge of danger and threat develop from that point?
I’d like to suggest that it enters our conscious minds through being taught and by our observations of our environment (those instances important to our general safety and well-being) such as not putting your hand into a fire or stepping out onto a busy road. However, from that point onward we are subject to many things that I believe can trigger the amygdala into action, even if only in a mild form, but nevertheless triggered and thereby building on past experiences to develop stronger reactions to such events.
There are many ways in which we can be made to feel insecure, frightened, or endangered and it doesn’t take a blatant visual threat such as a knife or gun directed towards you to create it. Consider these as potential triggers and causing damage to a child or adult suffering from any of the following: being humiliated, bullied for being different in any way, being made fun of, made to feel inadequate or a failure, a victim of cyber bulling, and the list goes on!
They are all attacks on our emotional state of mind, so why would they not trigger an automatic response. Every emotion that we have produces chemicals in our body that supports that state; if we feel happy we produce the chemicals to enhance that state. In the same way that if we feel fear the chemicals that support that emotion are created to support and enhance that feeling.
Understanding this, along with knowing that you are able to change not just your thinking but your biological state, too, the brain is re-trainable at any age, and we all have that ability!
Once again, this is another thing that I write about that you cannot simply wake up one day and have achieved or resolved, it requires many actions and investments on your part. I have already written about changing the way you think, how you perceive yourself, the ways to bring about change, and they all require your time, energy, and focus. Is there any good reason why you wouldn’t do any of this if your future life could be changed for the better?
Sources: Human-memory.net, Quantum University, Thoughtco.com