61 Website_ amygdala

61: The Amygdala – Your Brain’s Fear Center

Today, we discuss a topic that very much excites us: The Amygdala. We generally understand the amygdala as the portion of the brain that coordinates the emotions of fear and anger. These emotions create a very important adaptive response in helping us stay safe and well. However, in today’s world, much of our fear and anger is mal-adaptive: in other words, they don’t necessarily contribute to our survival. We discuss how the amygdala can hijack our best intentions and fill us with negativity and fear. We also talk about how we can stop the chain of reactivity (our brains exhibit neuroplasticity, the capacity for change), and live a life more aware of our emotions and their power to change our actions and thoughts.

In This Episode

  • 9:19 – Our Big Announcement: We are bringing the podcast to a close by the end of March 2020 (9:19)
  • The amygdala is an almond-shaped cluster of neurons. This is our brain’s fear center. (13:13)
  • Our learned / hereditary aspect of fear and anger (16:47)
  • Our responses are an accumulation of our experiences; the amygdala holds on to the threats (22:09)
  • Definition of fear: an adaptive emotional response that is coordinated in the brain by the nuclei of the amygdala (27:01)
  • The role of fear and pain in human survival (27:37)
  • The power of negative and positive emotions in today’s world (31:32)
  • Neuroplasticity allows us to change our reactions, even the knee-jerk reactions (46:20)
  • The power of positive emotions (48:04) 
    1) Physical resources to fight stress and disease
    2) Problem-solving
    3) Resiliency in confronting stress
    4) Flexible thinking – a broader view of life

Resources & Links

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