The Amygdala (ah-mig-da-la) is a son of a bitch. But it’s your friend… your almond-shaped friend. It’s only looking out for you just like a protective mother. But like her, the amygdala can take protecting to another level.
Referred to as the lizard brain, the amygdala is responsible your flight or fight responses, but mainly flight. Its main function is to control your emotions and motivations. The amygdala keeps a tally on your fear, anger and negativity for the most part. It’s literarily the voice inside your head telling you to “don’t do it,” “think about it,” or “what will (so-and-so) say/think about this?”.
One trick the amygdala performs is the art of combining your memories with your certain response to those events (i.e. how you felt when the bully punched you in the stomach on your way to Drama class or when Suzie Shakespeare said no when you asked her to prom).
It compartmentalizes every emotion and stores them in the appropriate areas of your brain for later use (i.e. “Hey Michael, you remember when “that” happen, WE WON’T BE FOOLED AGAIN!!!).
The amygdala is also why we can figure out what we were doing/smelling/eating/listening to when we heard two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, when O.J. was acquitted or when you crashed into that fire hydrant.
The downside is that too much of the amygdala thinking can lead to some bad habits such as obsessing over trivial matters, becoming too critical and just making excuses for yourself.
Whether it’s exercising or trying to figure out a project at home or work, there is always some seed of doubt waiting to grow (“I can’t do this,” “This is way too hard,” “What did I get myself into?”). The amygdala, out of concern and safety, whispers these lines consistently. With every setback, it grows louder and louder until your brain goes back to reference any minor or major failure to make you feel it’s okay to quit or delay things for a while.
That, my friend, is procrastination and it keeps you from succeeding. But there’s good news. It works the other way. A string of little successes can reinforce all of the mental triggers for future references when challenged in a similar situation (i.e. you don’t put your hand over the fire because you’ll get burned or the healthy feeling you’ll have when you decide not to pick up that cigarette).
I guess I’m simplifying, but that’s the short and skinny of our maternal friend, Amygdala. You can find a more technical analysis here.
Plus, here’s a nifty video about the lizard brain and ways to conquer it.
What are some of the ways that you conquer your lizard brain? Comment below!
WEEK 3 PICKS
Last Week: 7-9
“Back to Life, Back to Reality…”
PICKS ARE IN BOLD.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS AT ATLANTA FALCONS — 8:25 p.m.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS AT BUFFALO BILLS — 1:00 p.m.
TENNESSEE TITANS AT CINCINNATI BENGALS — 1:00 p.m.
BALTIMORE RAVENS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS — 1:00 p.m.
GREEN BAY PACKERS AT DETROIT LIONS– 1:00 p.m.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS AT JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS — 1:00 p.m.
OAKLAND RAIDERS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS — 1:00 p.m.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS — 1:00 p.m.
HOUSTON TEXANS AT N.Y. GIANTS — 1:00 p.m.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES — 1:00 p.m.
DALLAS COWBOYS AT ST. LOUIS RAMS — 1:00 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS — 4:05 p.m.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT MIAMI DOLPHINS — 4:25 p.m.
DENVER BRONCOS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS — 4:25 p.m.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT CAROLINA PANTHERS — 8:30 p.m.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
CHICAGO BEARS AT N.Y. JETS — 8:30 p.m.