Our brain is equipped with different ways to make use of automation. The amygdala, for example, is one center that relates our emotions with certain conditioned behavior. The best example is, if you are practicing martial arts for years you can, do all kinds of complicated moves to protect yourself in an attack (Could you do this?). How about, for a moment, think about one of your typical behavioral patterns: a situation and how you react in that situation. Maybe, you get worried very fast, once you sit down and want ot relax? – or: Do you have an urge to run away when others are angry? The reason for these patterns that run without your conscious decision is that the amygdala is part of the reward system of the brain. They are conditioned and activated once the trigger is identified. If this is logical or not. That is why it is so difficult to “just talk rational to your brain” to change an irrational behavior.” Any stimulus (positive or negative) is evaluated through the amygdala and either a fear based reaction (fight-or-flight) is initiated or a positive reaction involving the production of serotonin and/or dopamine (rest-and-relax). If we want to change our behavior (re-conditioning), we want to get the positive reaction, the reward for the new behavior. Especially being happy releases serotonin into our system. Of course, we want more of this. As a good example of a spiral leading upward is: practicing to be happy leads to better happier lives. The amygdala is also involved in changing our memory related to certain events (mainly emotionally loaded memories). If we want to remember something we need to “learn” it. We have a short-term memory that stores about everything we come across in a day. Only things that have been repeated can get into the long-term memory. The more repetitions the longer it is stored (potentially lifelong). Not only is the basic information stored (like the word and the translation into another language stored but also smells, sounds, emotions, visual information, and movement at the same time. Finally, our brain is not “static” but can be changed. In medical terminology this is called plasticity. We, ourselves can choose what we want to condition ourselves to behave. We can actively turn the amygdala On or Off and change what we have learned previously. Try this: smell something nice – a pleasurable fragrance, inhale it deeply and feel how you relax – switching the amygdala On. – then: look at something distressing – a picture or video – and the the amygdala is switched Off, putting us into the stress response. Because the amygdala is not static, we can learn to deal with issues that arise in our life. For example, if you are suffering from anxiety and/or panic disorders you can change because these are behavioral conditions and they are stored as memory, instinct, and habit in the amygdala. One road to getting into this new state is, of course, meditation. For this reason, I developed the Moving Meditation course. There is one key strategy for these meditations where you move to meditate that turns the amygdala on and the more you practice the more you can be at peace and relaxation beyond the actual doing the Moving Meditation. At the end of each practice we feel the physiological reward. If you understand how your body works you can understand what you have to do to get out of the stress mode! Check out the Moving Meditation course - the new program by Hum and Glow. With love!