Brain training & Amygdala


The amygdala manages connections and responses between several regions of the brain. It's directly involved with emotional well-being, the flight-or-flight response and fear conditioning. A recent study also suggests that the amygdala plays a role in the complexity of social life.

Activating the amygdala in a positive way stimulates higher order mental processes. This can improve creativity and intelligence while also elevating positive emotions.

The opposite of amygdala activation is negative reaction. When we react to a challenging situation in a suboptimal way, it's processed as a negative emotion. This feeling is regulated by the amygdala. The emotional feedback allows us to easily determine if we are thinking creatively or just relying on survival instincts.

By noticing the difference in thought processes we can consciously control the direction which the amygdala sends its impulses.

Images are generated by Life Science Databases(LSDB). [CC-BY-SA-2.1-jp (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.1/jp/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons


We can choose to stimulate the amygdala forward, turning on the reward centers for positive emotions. When the amygdala is stimulated forward it's sending signals to our frontal lobes. This is where the brain handles cognitive functions such as long-term decision making and appropriate social actions. I'm sure you'll recognize the importance of these functions in life success. When the amygdala signals backwards it's inducing a fear response. In this state we operate from the base levels of instinct, residing in the reptile brain. Needless to say, thinking motivated by this part of the brain is probably not well suited for modern society.

These responses, both positive and negative, are hard wired into us by mother nature. However, because of how clever we humans are, we can consciously control our responses, taking charge of our reactions to the environment.

Stimulating the amygdala with regular practice helps us enter a psychological state of flow. In this state we tend to forget about the problems and drama of life. Being in flow can result in single-minded focus and joy from engaging in productive activity. Trivial problems don't slow you down when you are actively engaged and living creatively.

Practicing meditation, living creatively and being positive are some things we can do to improve our amygdala's responses. Certain practices may take more time and effort, but the outcome will be rewarding.

There are many simple exercises we can do to activate this positive response. Any time we engage our imaginative thought processes we're using the frontal lobes. This image shows precisely where the amygdala is located in the brain. Picture where it is inside your skull, then try some of the exercises listed below the image.


Images are generated by Life Science Databases(LSDB). [CC-BY-SA-2.1-jp (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.1/jp/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons


Here are a few exercises you can do to ignite your imagination and activate those frontal lobes:

① Picture the amygdala inside your skull. Now imagine that it's glowing with red light. Imagine the light surging into your frontal lobes and gently setting off billions of neural pathways.

② Recall a frustrating situation. Imagine how you would have felt if you remained relaxed and in control when it happened. Would you have considered another solution to your problem in this resourceful state?

③ In your minds eye imagine a feather reaching back to your amygdala and gently tickling the surface.

④ Imagine meeting your idol. What questions would you ask them? Try to create a vivid mental picture of this meeting. Maybe your idol can provide some answers that will surprise you.

⑤ Everyone has issues in their life that sometimes seem unsolvable. What would you do if you didn't have to deal with those problems? Imagine how you would feel if you knew how to solve those problems.


Hopefully you enjoyed some of these exercises. Get creative with them and make something up to achieve a similar effect.


article from: "Clear Mind Meditation Techniques

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