Last week we talked about the “power of emotions over happiness,” and posed the question, “How can you interrupt the tendency for the “emotional hi-jacking phenomenon” to play out in your world?”
Here are some insights from Joseph LeDoux, Professor of Science in the Center for Neural Sciences at New York University. “…we are evolution in progress… As things now stand, the amygdala (which governs your fight or flight response to perceived or imagined fear http://bigthink.com/videos/the-amygdala-in-5-minutes) has a greater influence on the cortex (reasoning centers of the brain) than the cortex has on the amygdala, allowing emotional arousal (fight or flight) to dominate and control thinking. Throughout the mammals, pathways from the amygdala to the cortex overshadow the pathways from the cortex to the amygdala. Although thoughts can easily trigger emotions (by activating the amygdala), we are not very effective at willfully turning off emotions (by deactivating the amygdala). Telling yourself that you should not be anxious or depressed does not help much.”
LeDoux goes on to say that, “The increased connectivity between the amygdala and the cortex involves fibers going from the cortex to the amygdala as well as from the amygdala to the cortex. If these nerve pathways strike a balance, it is possible that the struggle between thought and emotion may ultimately be resolved, not by the dominance of emotional centers by cortical cognitions, but by a more harmonious integration of reason and passion. With increased connectivity between the cortex and amygdala, cognition and emotion might begin to work together rather than separately.”—Joseph LeDoux, The Emotional Brain, pp.303)
And so how do we participate in creating such a “balance?” Andrew Newberg, Professor of Psychiatry and Director for the Center for Integrated Study of Spirituality and the Neurosciences at The University of Pennsylvania says, “…the anterior cingulate, which processes social awareness, intuition, and empathy, contains a unique neuron that only humans and a few primates have. These neurons have only been around for about fifteen million years whereas the amygdala has been happily generating neurons for 450 million years. Spiritual practices strengthen the anterior cingulate, and when this happens, activity in the amygdala slows down….When you intensely and consistently focus on your spiritual values and goals, you increase the blood flow to your frontal lobes and anterior cingulate, which causes the activity in emotional centers of the brain to decrease. Conscious attention is the key…”—Andrew Newberg, M.D. How God Changes the Brain, pp.17 and 20.
Let’s make a concerted effort this week to slow down what can be an overpowering effect of the emotions and the fight or flight mechanism of the brain.
How can we do that? Take a few moments each day to simply quiet your thoughts. Clear your head and breathe. Remind yourself that you are worth the time and attention it will take for you to refresh/reset your brain to support you in better coping with your busy world. Stay tuned for next week’s post with practices and techniques.
Believing in you!
Be sure to share this post with someone you love.
THIS FRIDAY EVENING
in the Roaring Fork Valley (Aspen, Basalt, Snowmass, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Colorado):
I am pleased to co-sponsor this exciting evening!
Please join us for An evening with Dr. Eben Alexander, author of “Proof of Heaven – A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife”
FRIDAY, August 9 at 7PM – Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, CO.
PurchaseTickets: http://www.davinikent.org (Featured Events)
See full Event Flyer here (http://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/554935_490403207712292_475076117_n.png).
SUMMER READING SPECIAL
These posts may be a blessing to you, but they do not compare to receiving the message in context and in its entirety in the book!
You can find the book “Happily Ever After Right Now. Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!” here. AND for a few weeks only “Happily Ever After Right Now” will be available on Kindle at the very special, affordable price of $2.99. If you don’t own a Kindle, you can get Kindle for Mac, or PC and pick up your copy for only $2.99!
PLEASE WRITE A REVIEW
Already finished reading “Happily Ever After Right Now?” I’d like to ask a very special favor. If you found the book to be informative and helpful in your journey,would you be so kind as to post a review of the book? Here is a link to my Amazon page for you to do so: http://www.amazon.com/Luann-Robinson-Hull/e/B00AQIQ3B6/, and here is the GoodReads page for the book:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11522606-happily-ever-after-right-now. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
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I want to extend a very special thanks and gratitude to Cindy and all of those on my wonderful “Happily” team who make these posts (as well as the emails and social media) possible, and make them come together in a beautiful way! Without their dedication and help, I wouldn’t be here “blogging” or sharing information with you electronically! I would still be writing on my yellow tablets!
Image Credits: yoga image used by permission from the book “Ahhhhhh…Haaaaaa Moments with Ms. Cheevious” diagram pulled from article here: http://www.positivehealth.com/article/cfs-me/me-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-causes-and-the-amygdala-retraining-recovery-programme