What is the Amygdala?The Amygdala (amygdalae; plural) are a pair of small organs within the medial temporal lobes of the brain. The amygdala are part of the limbic system and their primary role is in the processing and memory of emotional reactions such as the anxiety reaction or 'flight or fight' response.
In humans, the amygdala perform important roles in the formation and storage of memories associated with emotions including anxiety. Scientists have shown that fear conditioning, experienced for example by those who develop an anxiety disorder such as generalised anxiety, panic attacks, phobias or obsessions (OCD), happens within the amygdala and is stored by it as an inappropriate anxious reaction.
The Psychology of Emotion
In the early 1900s, two men pioneered research into the true nature of emotion and its relationship to the physical body, symptoms and illness and came up with a number of definitive conclusions. Those men were Carl Lange and William James. These two men's work forms the foundation of modern emotional psychology.The most important conclusion they came to forms the foundation for our understanding of how emotions are created, and what incredible physical impact thoughts can have on our bodies and health.
Their research concluded that an external catalyst, say a wild bear, is detected by your sensory organs and the body reacts with physical changes (anxiety symptoms) WITHOUT any conscious thoughts or emotions; in other words, the emotion of fear we experience during the anxiety response is physical and not emotional.
To demonstrate what I mean by this, next time you feel anxious, strip away all of the physical sensations you experience and you will find that nothing is left… the physical sensations ARE your experience of emotion!
More to follow on how retraining your amygdala will enable you to recover from your anxiety problems.