Ever reacted with surprising intensity to a situation? You may have experienced “amygdala hijacking” – when your emotional brain overrides logic. Let’s demystify this phenomenon and cultivate emotional awareness.
The Brain’s Emotional Command Center
The almond-sized amygdala governs emotional processing and memory. Under threat, it can bypass logic and trigger knee-jerk reactions – amygdala hijacking.
How Hijacking Occurs
Normally, information passes from the thalamus to the logic center then the amygdala. But when the amygdala perceives danger based on past trauma, it ignites an urgent emotional response before logic kicks in.
Strategies to Manage Hijacking
When you notice an intense reaction:
- Pause and breathe deeply to calm the amygdala.
- Get curious about the underlying emotions rather than reacting.
Self-reflection builds emotional awareness and control.
The Importance of Self-Compassion
Sometimes we direct anger inward. Practice self-compassion and examine your role in situations honestly but kindly.
Understanding the biology of emotions allows us to respond thoughtfully instead of reacting blindly. With awareness, we can navigate even amygdala hijacking.