Anxiety and The Amygdala (Why You Are Anxious)

Hey you! Do you ever feel like your anxiety has no apparent cause? Do you ever feel anxious for no logical reason? You my friend are probably struggling with amygdala based anxiety. Today we are diving in deep on the 10 things that you need to know about amygdala based anxiety.

1. Your amygdala is vigilant

Your amygdala is vigilant throughout the day even though you're not consciously aware of it. It's using your senses to scan your area basically to assess whether something is potentially dangerous or not or whether something dangerous may be coming at you. So even though you're not consciously aware of it, your amygdala is looking out for you.

2. Your amygdala acts swiftly

Your amygdala acts swiftly before you even know what it's reacting to. Think about a time where you were walking and you jumped back because you thought there was a snake there, but it was a stick or the time you were walking through your house alone and you jumped because you thought someone was in your home and it was just a shadow. That is your amygdala reacting swiftly to protect you before you even consciously know what it's reacted to.

3. Your amygdala makes mistakes

Your amygdala responds quickly and therefore is guilty of misinterpretation, and is guilty of making mistakes and responding in error. That is why there are times that you feel anxious even though there is nothing present in front of you, that is potentially dangerous.

4. Your amygdala is your unconscious guard dog

You can consider your amygdala, your unconscious guard dog. It's constantly watching out for you and trying to protect you. When potential danger comes at you, your amygdala is going to start “barking,” but rather than hearing the barks you are going to feel them in the form of physical symptoms. I like to say that once the amygdala is barking, you can no longer talk it down because the anxiety response has been activated.

5. Your amygdala senses potential danger

Your amygdala can feel danger before your cortex can consciously process what it is that's happened to you. Because it's on the lookout throughout the day, you're going to respond to things that are potentially dangerous before your cortex can process it through and say, “Wait, that's not dangerous. It's okay.” Think about the examples I talked about earlier, when you saw the stick and you jumped back or the shadow and it wasn't a person, or when you're driving and you hit the brakes because you think someones going to hit you. That's your amygdala responding faster than your cortex can process it.

6. Your amygdala acts as an alarm

Once your amygdala senses danger, an alarm goes off in your body and it prepares you to either fight, flight or freeze in that situation. So the next time your alarm is going off, check inwards because it's trying to tell you something.

7. Anxiety activation

A good way to tell if your amygdala pathway is activating your anxiety, is to ask yourself, “Do I have a logical reason to feel anxious?” If not, your anxiety is due to the activation of the amygdala pathway.

8. Triggers result in amygdala based anxiety

Your amygdala creates emotional memories to situations and objects. This happens when you're in a negative situation, and your amygdala creates an emotional memory to protect you for the next time you are in that same situation. If a trigger has formed (an emotional memory), the next time you are presented with that object or are in that situation, your anxiety response will be activated.

9. Physical symptoms

Anytime that you feel physical symptoms in your body from a result of anxiety, it's because of your amygdala. Anxiety cannot be activated unless the amygdala has been activated.

10. Rewire your anxious brain

You can rewire your anxious brain by exposing your amygdala to the situations and objects that make you anxious. You need to experience the anxiety provoking situation in order to rewire the circuitry in your brain to show your amygdala, “Hey, this is no longer dangerous and you don't have to alert me anymore.”

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