The Positive Habit Weekly Blog – 20th November, 2017 – Calm Your Amygdala
Hello, my fellow Positive Habit people,
How are you feeling today? I hope well and happy. Welcome to all new readers, I really hope that you benefit by reading this. Thanks to everyone for sharing it with their friends and families.
Take a moment to reflect on the past week since you last received this blog and identify some positive moments which made you feel happy, grateful, full of joy or some other positive emotion. You may have a wonderful bank of memories that you can draw on (I really hope that you do) or it may take a moment to think of even one. If you search hard enough you will find something that makes you smile. Focus on that moment. What was happening? Where were you? Who were you with? What did you see, smell taste, touch? Notice as you do this that you will start to feel the same positive emotions flowing through you again.
The wonderful thing about our subconscious is that it doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality so just thinking a positive memory is very powerful.
By doing so you are reinforcing positive pathways in your brain by firing the same synaptic connections. Unfortunately, the converse is also true and many people unintentionally trigger negative neural pathways by ruminating on difficult or stressful moments they have had. The very act of remembering and thinking of them is like re-living the unwanted experience many times over to the subconscious mind.
On a neuroscientific level what is happening is that the amygdala (a walnut-shaped structure in the centre of our emotional brain) which is the fear centre of the brain is being overstimulated and sends out an alarm signal that carries the stress hormone, cortisol to the rest of the body. This leads the body and mind to go into a state of high alert and wait for the next potential threat. It can be exhausting and causes so much unnecessary suffering. It is important to be able to calm and soothe your amygdala when it becomes activated.
So how do we calm the amygdala?
Mindfulness is, in my opinion, one the most effective and practical solutions for calming the mind and for stopping it from turning heaven into hell. You can use it in the moment to bring you back to the moment. Your breath provides the most effective and comforting tool to cultivate calmness.
On Friday last, I attended the first in a series of CPD training courses in the ‘Therapeutic Use of Mindfulness’ which is taught by the highly experienced practitioner, Padraig O’Morain. O’Morain describes suffering, pain or challenges in our lives as ‘the first arrow’ that we have to deal with. The ‘second arrow’ is shot when we dwell, ruminate and obsess and this doubles the pain and prolongs our suffering. In my opinion, the arrow metaphor aptly captures both the significant sufferings in our life and also the smaller challenges that we face daily within our relationships and at work.
Padraig O’Morain sends out a mindfulness reminder every morning which is short and sweet and usually taken from one of the many international mindfulness leaders. If you are interested you can sign up here. I’ve been getting them for years and I find them very helpful.
This week, if you find your mind wandering off on a negative path please take some deep breaths and gently guide it back to the safety of the present moment. Remember also to hold all the positive moments in your awareness for as long as you can, by doing so the best of you will shine brightly.
My TEDx is finally live and is already clocking up hundreds of views in a matter of days. I shared this personal story to inspire hope for those struggling with anxiety which can be managed and the world can be a place full of light and love.
Please share this blog with five people in your network and spread the positive energy and also please do share the TEDx – the link is below.
To Watch my TEDX please click here – don’t forget to like and share. Thanks.
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Keep spreading the positive energy & make someone TRULY happy this Christmas.
The Positive Habit continues to help people all over the world.
The Maintenance Program is now also available and is a wonderful way for people who have completed The Positive Habit to sustain their positive shift.
Please check out my newly designed website
which has a lot of information on the process I use with clients. I specialise in helping people in the areas of anxiety, stress, emotional eating, public speaking/ confidence and self-esteem issues. If you or any one you care about needs help with any of these issues please do book a consultation. My diary is usually booked up 2-4 weeks in advance but can cancellations do come in from time to time and it would then be possible that I could see you earlier.