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pic    So there’s this part of our brains called the amygdala. It’s buried deep in there somewhere. From what I’ve read and heard from health care people is that the amygdala is responsible for our emotional reactions to things, and it also helps in processing memory.

Evidently it’s the amygdala that’s responsible for post traumatic stress. When a war veteran comes home and reacts to a car backfiring as if it’s a gun, that’s the amygdala at work.

The other thing about this part of our brains is that it has no concept of time. For example, if you have a fear of spiders because when you were a kid a spider landed on you, that’s the amygdala. It can’t tell the difference between a spider today and a spider when you were a kid.  

I think this is really cool, because it explains so much.

Lately, when I feel a depression or anxiety coming over me, I’ve been able to (almost) laugh and say, “Oh, there goes my amygdala again!” Okay, not even “almost.” Today I laughed.  

So many of the emotions we feel are simply not real. I totally don’t pretend to know what “real” is, but I do know that if I’m sitting on the couch having a cup of coffee and feeling okay, then five minutes later some thought has crossed my mind and I’m on the verge of tears (all the while, nothing has changed - I’m still sitting on the couch drinking coffee), something has run amuck.

I’ve heard it said “Just because a thought crosses our mind doesn’t mean we have to keep thinking it.” And “Just because we feel something, that doesn’t mean it’s real.”

Not talking about our deep feelings, our heartsongs, or dreams and inner knowings. Just talking about I’m walking down the street minding my own business and I see very nice German Shepherd being walked by what looks like a very nice person. There is nothing wrong. Still, I burst into tears, because I have never come to terms with the loss of my own German Shepherd, Caesar, whom I loved so very deeply. Twenty years ago.  

We all have our ways of coping with loss, fear, and upset - and certainly a spiritual solution, for me, is going to be the only way to deal with life. But for short-term coping, I love being able to say, “My amygdala’s acting up, that’s all.”

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