“Amygdala Hijack”


Why do some folks have a short fuse and quickly lose their cool…? As hijackers seize command of boats, planes, and automobiles…   our emotions… when not controlled…  have captors too … we know them as… fright, fight, flight responses or amygdala hijackings as a rule.  How would you feel if you were a pumpkin and watched a vendor selling you as a pumpkin pie…? Every inner seed would scream with fright…  “I wanna fight… or fly…”

Unexpected stressors testing our feelings… placing us in danger… or challenging our beliefs… generate automatic emotional reactions from our amygdala… a small organ in our brain.   Amygdala responses serve to protect us from harm… but when left unchecked … our safety and composure experience enormous strain. Stress stimulating our brain takes several paths… one…a short road to the amygdala driving emotion… the other a longer track… to our thinking and reasoning cerebral cortex curbing commotion. The quicker emotionally charged amygdala route…compares past experience with any impending stressful boot…  When the comparison is truly alarming… our adrenal gland… releases the hormone epinephrine…making our heart race… muscles flex… and consciousness focus… giving our body sudden arming…  Behavioral threats also commonly leave our amygdala unchecked… Folks often “lose it” when facing lack of respectAmygdala hijacks last from seconds to minutes in time… an eternity for unreasonableness and irrationality to dangerously climb.  Averse to learning from our own mistakes … we reflexively act in ways consistently opposite to safety and goodness sakes…   

When it comes to amygdala hijackings… it’s important to control our need to “attack” or “flee”… from stressors causing actions of insanity…  Since our amygdala and cortex communicate… our thinking brain can contain amygdala hijackings fate…It’s a funny feeling to know… recognizing uncontrolled emotion… and… mastering RESTRAINT… protects against the consequences of unbridled fright, fight, flight or FAINT

Copyright Alan P. Xenakis, MD, Doc X MD Funny Feelings  Air Date January 24th, 2019

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