#10 The Amygdala

Once upon a time before TV’s, WiFi, and subways (both sandwiches and transportation), early homo-sapiens also known as cavemen, would run in fear when chased by a lion. How did the cavemen know to run? Why didn’t they want to make nice with the lion? Well it’s simple. Our memories became sharp through experience and also because cavemen knew from other cavemen that lions are crazy dangerous.

During this time our brains also became smarter. Specifically the two almond shaped pieces called the amygdala evolved to be responsible for the fight or flight response. Why is this important and how is this piece of information relevant to our lives today?

Well that’s a good question and here is the answer. Although we don’t have the constant need for flight or fight today, we still act like we do. Most humans have the basic necessities covered and are often not presented with life threatening situations, such as the need to run away from a hungry tiger. Despite this, we are quick to react based on fleeting emotions to situations that result in absolutely nothing and this causes a chronic activation of the stress response.

In order to quell the chronic activation of stress, we must come back to the attentive mind that understands this moment creates others.

With Love,

Anand Swamy

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