What Is Controlling Your Mood? #anxiety #stress #amygdala #observer
January 6, 2017
The human brain’s amygdala in the limbic system is the center for emotionally charged memories and persistent negative thoughts. It is active during stress, anxiety, and depression. It sits conveniently beside the hippocampus, the part of the brain that serves long-term memory.
We often wonder why we are so depressed some days. We wake up charged and ready to go on Monday. By Wednesday, we can barely get out of bed. The weight of life seems heavier than usual. What exactly causes the shift in mood? And how do we deal with this shift?
If we discover the reason for our moods, can we control them?
Continue reading below.
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Continued from above:
Yesterday, I woke up in a funk. I did everything I usually do in the morning. I took a walk, meditated, prayed and spent some time being grateful for my life. Yet, as the day progressed more and more things began to go awry. Suddenly, I was knee-deep in a heated discussion on Facebook and felt like spewing all of my frustration onto someone… anyone. This is when I realized I had better step back and take a look at the situation. (It’s hard to believe that it took me that long to realize that I was acting out of my Truth. But this is the reality of life somedays.)
What I discovered when I took a step back to observe myself was that I felt as if the world and life was controlling me, not the reverse. I didn’t feel I had a handle on my own life. That frustrated me!
I asked myself an important question: Who is in control of my emotions here? Is it people on the Internet, anyone trying to control me or my actions, or am I simply letting all of this happen TO ME?
Of course, the answer was the latter. I had control. It was always my choice to be frustrated or sad. If I wanted to be happy, I had to take back what I felt was leveraging my emotional core. This is an easy thing to say and an even harder thing to understand and actually do.
The reason why this act is so difficult, in general, is because most people do not understand how to step away from their own life and observe what is happening. The OBSERVER part of the brain is more a mystical/spiritual concept, rather than a physical concept. This is the concept in which the Ayurvedics used to meditate and teach yoga. The entire process of yoga—the breathing, the body work, and the meditation—all lead to the savasana, which is the time when the body sleeps, but the mind is awake. In this space, we can deliberately watch our actions and even listen to the thoughts moving through our minds without judgment. This is the OBSERVER MIND. We can’t touch it. We can’t feel it. We simply have to get out of the way to BE IT.
When our physical bodies are at rest, our reasoning mind quit reasoning, a part of us rises to a resting place, albeit a respite that revives our souls, gives way to healing, and provides our greatest source of inspiration.
To get out of the way of the powers of the amygdala, we must get out of the way of our ego self, the human mind and body. When we do this, we sense the mystical power that breathes us, that animates us, that drives us to be our best self—always.
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