How to Biologically control Your Emotions; Relief Stress & Anxiety and Live More Peacefully
What we need to understand is that intense (and negative) emotions such as fear, anger as well as impulsive reactions are a consequence of the amygdala; which is the part of the brain responsible of reacting to potential threats (which is also a cause of stress and anxiety but we’ll get to that).
The amygdala is part of the limbic system; the side of the brain that is responsible for emotions, learning and memory. Those three are highly related.
What we need to highlights is that the limbic system is one of the oldest parts of the human brain and has survived throughout millennials of evolutionary changes; this part of the brain can be found in other animals. In other words; the limbic system is survival oriented. It is one of the human organs that have helped us evolve; and for that the amygdala plays a central role is it is meant to prevent danger.
“The amygdala’s role is to perform a range of functions, including detection of threat and initiation of appropriate responses situations it perceives as dangerous.”
In other words; amygdala is the part responsible of anxious reactions and intense fear based emotions.
Long story short: Amygdala can be wrong.
It’s made for survival so it WILL worry about everything and anything.
It is as we said one of the oldest organs in our brain and has stayed throughout centuries of human evolution.
The thing is when the amygdala spots a threat, it will automatically force you to be in what is commonly called ‘flee, fight or freeze’ position.
Which is the natural and normal human reaction.
Up to now; everything is fine.
The trick is that those reactions are more adapted to a wild life where you are physically threatened.
In the modern world; they might be overreactions to the situations at hand.
In most cases; the ideal reaction to non-physical threats or dangers is to remain calm and composed (See thread for more details on how to do it)
This the part where we solve it.
This is also the part where we go back to basis.
How do we calm the amygdala?
How do we avoid what is called ‘Amygdala Hijack‘? (detailed article that I partly used as a source)
Psychiatrists and therapist use a hypnosis technique called REM (Rapid Eye Movement); a practice that aims to replicate the eye movement on a person while their asleep (emulating the calmness of someone who’s asleep, reaching low brain frequencies and appeasing the brain activity).
The Good news?
There are two ways for you to do it on your own.
1- Long walks
2- Long meditations (If you’re a beginner, check this out)
Meditations might be an obvious way to practice REM so I’ll focus on how walks can do that.
While walking, you create an optical flux, your eyes will subconsciously focus on the environment around (naturally looking for potential danger and safety).
That movement of the eye, will appease your amygdala as it will be looking for elements of danger in the external environment; getting it used to this practice will numb it and make it more acceptant to stressful situations.
That on top of the REM that will appease your feelings of anxiety on the spot.
Both treatment and prevention.
Hope you found value on this post.
Let me know what ways you use to control your stress and anxiety in the comments.