May 5, 2021

Don't worry! You're amygdala made you do it!

Mandi Bedbury

Have you ever gotten angry and without thinking lost your temper and exploded with emotion!? Me too! EVERYONE HAS!

The good news is, there is a name for it and there are techniques you can learn to help to alleviate it! It's called emotional hijacking, and can happen in an instant and by the time you are over it, a lot of damage can be done.

The science of it is pretty cool, let's take a look...

•The amygdala (the seat of all emotions in the brain located in the limbic system) takes over the neocortex  

•The neocortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for our thinking

•During this moment the neocortex stops functioning. The amygdala gets triggered and in an instant takes control of the brain, in a sense hijacking it.

This was useful when we were all roaming the earth and had to fear getting ingested by a giant sabertooth friggin' tigers. Nowadays we may not have friggen' tigers devouring us anymore but we still have legit things/events that trigger that "fight or flight" response causing our amygdala to take over. Only now our emotional hijacking doesn't lead us to surviving an attack. For me, it's usually a slow driver in the fast lane, POOF my neocortex is taken over by the amygdala and suddenly I'm yelling at someone to move the hell over (using words I dare not repeat and hand gestures better left unseen.) An overreaction that ends with a bit of shame and a lot of embarrassment.

The first step to helping calm your damn amygdala down is to be aware of it! Can you think back and see all those times your brain was hijacked? Part of being emotionally intelligent is to learn how to self-regulate. Once you become self-aware of the hijacking i.e. when you feel a trigger coming on,  you can begin to use tools to breath, recognize and regulate your response.

Wouldn't it be great, the next time you feel the amygdala trying to take over, you work through it and respond differently!? There are lots of tips and trick online and you can also take one of my emotional intelligence workshops to help learn how. The point is, no matter how old you are and how you think your habits are set, there are ways to become self-aware and regulate. YOU GOT THIS!!