5 Tips for Overcoming an Amygdala Hijack
Have you ever noticed someone having a sudden emotional reaction that seemed out of measure with the actual situation? And then after, they realized their reaction was inappropriate and weren’t even sure why they were so upset?
Then you have witnessed an Amygdala Hijack, one of our most powerful survival systems. But, at the same time, you experienced something completely normal. How?
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Emotional threats, real or perceived, send us into a state of fear. Our amygdala hijacks our neuropaths and cuts us off from problem solving, compassion and creative thinking. This is why five minutes (usually longer) after an argument or amygdala hijack, we either don’t remember what we were so upset about or realize that we were wrong the whole time.
These emotional threats are the same reason that a child throws a “temper tantrum” at something that doesn’t make sense to the outside world. When their amygdala (the first brain developed) hijacks their bodies, they aren’t thinking about the fact that having to stop throwing that toy at someone is wrong. Looking at it another way, when we as adults have a “temper tantrum”, otherwise known as amygdala hijack, our internal fear response often outweighs the external stimulus.
When the amygdala goes into overdrive, it activates the limbic area of the brain, which stores all of our old memories. Your brain accesses hurt, pain and frustration from past experiences which amplifies the hijack. This is exactly why an amygdala hijack is such a powerful downward spiral.
Now, if you stopped reading above, it may seem overwhelming or even hopeless. But, through years of research in emotional intelligence, we have developed a plethora of self-awareness techniques and self-regulating tips to handle these amygdala hijacks. Below are three easy-to-use tips for quelling your amygdala hijack: