5 Tips to Relax the Amygdala

What's the amygdala? Do we really have only one? What's it for? We'll answer all these questions in this article because it's much more important than you think.
5 Tips to Relax the Amygdala

Last update: 08 July, 2021

What’s the amygdala? Well, it’s a group of neurons (also known as the amygdaloid complex) located in the temporal lobe of the brain. Its function is very important, which is why we’d like to emphasize techniques that could relax the amygdala and regulate emotions.

The curious thing is that, although we only talk about one, we actually have two. Therefore, although it’s always treated singularly, it’s good to know about both. Now, we’ll see the functions of the amygdaloid complex and its relationship with emotions.

Functions of the amygdaloid complex

We’ve already given you some clues about the functions that the amygdala may have. However, in this section, we’re going to specify them one by one. You’ll discover that, although the amygdaloid complex isn’t talked about much, its presence is vital for the human being.

It’s a key to survival

The amygdala is a key to survival. The reason is that it’s what allows us to manage fear and respond by fleeing or fighting in the face of certain stimuli.

If the amygdala is damaged, this can be a problem. Reacting aggressively or not being afraid at all can put our survival at risk.

Influences emotional learning

Another of the functions of the amygdaloid complex is that it achieves a link between the perception of the world and emotion. This way, when faced with certain stimuli, it allows us to choose ways of acting.

The amygdala can also trigger a series of physical manifestations, such as goosebumps or reddening of the skin.

A man with goose bumps
Goosebumps from cold or intense fear can come from the amygdala as a reaction.

It affects the restructuring of memories

One of the most curious functions of the amygdaloid complex is that it affects the restructuring of memories. This is because memories are linked to emotions, which helps them become more fixed.

Sometimes you keep the emotion (e.g., fear of dogs), but forget what happened (that a dog bit you when you were little). This forgetting usually occurs due to the stress that generated the situation.

It regulates sexual behavior, aggressiveness and satiety

Among the functions of the amygdala is also the regulation of sexual behavior, involving the association of certain stimuli with pleasure or the emotional bond with others.

Regarding aggressiveness, in these cases, there’s usually a malfunction that causes exaggerated reactions to certain events. Finally, it influences the sensation of satiety, which is why it’s fundamental for the control of food intake.

The amygdala and emotions

Although you now know some of the functions of the amygdala, we haven’t talked about its relationship with emotions yet. The amygdaloid complex manages with precision, inhibiting or activating different responses.

Because you have an amygdala (or two, to be more precise) you’re a person who can manage your emotions in an adequate way and who can relate to others. People who don’t have an amygdala are overconfident, which puts their own survival at risk.

As you can imagine, this is an important role in the onset of anxiety. If you’ve been through a traumatic experience, your brain will store that emotion and, the moment you’re faced with a similar stimulus, it’ll activate it. But don’t worry, you can learn how to relax the amygdala.

Tips to relax the amygdala

Do you want to keep your anxiety under control and manage your emotions better? Then you should learn how to relax the amygdala.

1. Physical exercise

Physical exercise relaxes and causes the release of endorphins, making you feel better. Therefore, exercise is positive for you to amuse yourself or release some emotions. Practicing a little every day, even if it’s only half an hour, is important.

2. Meditate

Meditation is an excellent exercise for you to relax the amygdala. Choose the time of day when you feel most comfortable. It doesn’t have to be a whole hour; do it for a few minutes and you’ll notice the difference.

3. Relaxing activities

Take a walk around nature, read, listen to music, sunbathe on the balcony, listen to the birds in the park. There are many relaxing activities and I’m sure you have a few more. So practice them as much as you can. This will relax your amygdala.

4. Practice mindfulness

You can practice mindfulness not only when you meditate or do an activity such as yoga. Try it every day, focusing on the present. When you do the dishes, when you walk, when you’re taking a shower.

Women doing yoga
Meditation, yoga, deep breathing and mindfulness are techniques that help relax the amygdala.

5. Observe your thoughts

If you find this difficult at first, try writing them down on paper and don’t judge them. In fact, if you analyze them you may realize that they’re relative.

Relaxing the amygdala for a better quality of life

Now that you know all this about the amygdala, don’t hesitate to put into practice the tips to relax it if you suffer from anxiety frequently.

Having an amygdala is positive, and it also was in the past for our survival as a species. However, it’s still essential for regulating emotions, satiety, and aggression.

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