This is a good thing to remind yourself. You really aren’t in imminent danger of becoming tiger food. But try to convince your negatively biased brain!
I recently saw this article from the NYTimes. The author describes how evolutionarily our brains have adapted to notice what could kill us. Being able to discern tiger stripes in the bushes meant you could hopefully outrun becoming dinner. Seeing the snake in the grass meant you could avoid being bitten and dying. So noticing what could be dangerous, what could go wrong, was an advantage. But most of us aren’t living in those conditions now.
Now the threats are less discernible, more confusing. Did your partner’s look mean they are mad at you? Did your boss’s tone of voice mean you are in trouble? Does the weather forecast mean you will have a bad commute and be late (and have your boss mad at you)? So much anxiety…..
How can we change our brains and stop looking for tigers? Well, there a few things that really work great. 1. Breathe, my dear. Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh calls us to come back to our breath. Through the miracle of your breath, we can come back to the present moment, and be choosey about what we focus our attention on.
Having settled ourselves, now we can 2. focus on gratitude as the author in the article described (which is another great way to change your brain).
A practice of focusing on things we are grateful for helps change our thought patterns. That indeed, is very helpful. Once you notice that your amygdala is running the show- that you are caught up in negativity – you can breathe and also use 3. EFT/Tapping to help process negative thoughts and feelings.
You can also use 4. Yoga and 5. Guided Imagery and 6. Meditation…. my goodness– there are many ways to tame the tiger-hunting amygdala! I will keep teaching you about each of these techniques in this blog, as well as in upcoming workshops.
I am going to be teaching about using EFT/Tapping to help you journey toward health and wellness at an event this Wed night Feb 25, 2015 from 6:15-7:30PM at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park. You can go to this link to learn more and to this one to register. Come learn about how to tame the amygdala and increase feeling peaceful in the world. I hope to see you there. 🙂