Amy is your Amygdala.
Your Amygdala is part of your ancient reptilian brain, which back in the days of cave men and dinosaurs, was a great tool to help keep you safe.
You see Amy is responsible for sending you into fight or flight or freeze mode when presented with the perceived threat of a larger than life predator that might attack you (or even eat you!).
The only problem is that in today’s modern world, Amy doesn’t realize the difference between say being eaten by an ancient saber tooth tiger versus your boss coming at you with steam coming out of his ears. Regardless, she is ready to protect and defend you to the death.
She is very well-trained at keeping a watchful eye, intended to keep you safe inside of your comfort zone and maintaining the status quo. The challenge lies in her overactive need to protect you from a vast array of perceived threats, a desire which leaves your body in a constant state of stress, anxiety, and fear.
For all you science geeks out there…
When Amy gets up in arms, your brain releases cortisol and adrenaline, causing your body to want to run from said perceived threat. Your blood pressure rises and you’re ready for a fight.
When this happens, your brain also then shuts off less “vital” systems that are using up precious energy reserves such as your immune system and digestive system. They go into sleep mode, if you will. If the perceived threats are constant though, your “dis-ease” can build up and quickly or unexpectedly turn into disease since your immune system is running on reserve battery mode.
It’s no wonder we tend to gain weight and get sick when we’re stressed out!
So how do you overcome Amy’s incessant need to protect you?
You have to learn how to manage her.
Here are 4 secret ingredients to help you manage your Amy to live a more happy and productive life.
Simply by hacking into your brain’s natural supply of “happy chemicals” you can create greater peace of mind, joy and a positive frame of mind which will help you tame your Amy.
The four ingredients?
Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins (DOSE)
1. Dopamine: Helps us set goals and get things done. It incentivizes us to make progress and is generated at the anticipation of achieving or striving for something.
Hack: By creating a series of mini goals that you can easily achieve (and then celebrate achieving) you will help release more dopamine into your system and elevate your happiness factor.
2. Oxytocin: Also known as the cuddle hormone, it helps create strong bonds, intimacy, trust, and healthy relationships. It also lowers your cortisol levels, increases your interest in your work, and raises your cognitive abilities for problem solving and creative thinking, while boosting your immune systems, lowering your blood pressure, and increasing your libido. It can be generated through social bonding, eye contact, and attentiveness.
Hack: Go for the hug instead of the handshake! Doctors recommend giving the gift of a hug at least eight times a day. Giving small gifts to a friend or loved one will also do the trick.
3. Serotonin: Boosts your feeling of confidence, making you feel good and elevating your mood. It is generated when you’re feeling significant, important, or valued.
Hack: Sit in the sun for a brief 20 minutes while practicing gratitude for the things in your life that have value and importance to you. Your skin will absorb UV rays which produce vitamin D and releases serotonin.
4. Endorphins: Released in response to stress or pain to help reduce depression and anxiety. It acts as a sedative and anesthetic as your muscles work through hard labor.
Hack: Eat dark chocolate while laughing. Along with the scents of vanilla and lavender, dark chocolate and laughter are known to boost the release of endorphins into your system. Regular exercise is also another great way to get those endorphins flowing.
The next time you’re feeling stressed out, anxious, or depressed, try a couple of these brain hacks to help reduce your stress, boost your mood, and get you focused and back on track!
You’ll feel better and leave others thinking… “I’ll have whatever she’s having!”