Banish Stress: Amygdala Reprogramming
Stress causes all sorts of health havoc. It’s important to know how to handle its inevitable triggers. I learned this following “amygdala reprogramming” exercise from a doctor of public health. Just an idea to try the next time you find yourself in a stressful situation.
The amygdala is in the lower part of the brain and it stimulates the body’s fight-or-flight response. When we are exposed to something upsetting, we have about 5 seconds to decide how we’ll respond to that stress. If we don’t do anything, the amygdala will release its stimulation causing the adrenals to release stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. Your blood sugars will shoot up as well as your heart rate. Your immune system will be depressed. Your blood is more likely to clot – leading to greater stroke/heart attack risk, etc. These are only a few of many examples of the negative health effects of stress.
Studies have shown we can block that amygdala response. We only have 5 seconds to make that decision. Energy levels and sense of wellbeing often dramatically improve once people start automatically stopping that response. As soon as you experience a stressful situation, physically put your hands out and say “stop” – with a smile on your face. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the situation. The whole negative experience goes away.
Consider experimenting with this exercise when faced with stressful situations in your life. Follow these steps exactly – the physical movement, out loud command, and smile are important. The concept is controlling how your mind works instead of going through the autonomic responses, letting your mind control you.