The amygdala is an almond-shape set of neurons located deep in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. Shown to play a key role in the processsing of emotions, the amygdala forms part of the limbic system.

The output of sense organs is first received by the thalamus. Part of the thalamus’ stimuli goes directly to the amygdala or “emotional/irrational brain”, while other parts are sent to the neocortex or “thinking/rational brain”. If the amygdala perceives a match to the stimulus, i.e., if the record of experiences in the hippocampus tells the amygdala that it is a fight, flight or freeze situation, then the amygdala triggers the HPA (hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal) axis and hijacks the rational brain. This emotional brain activity processes information milliseconds earlier than the rational brain, so in case of a match, the amygdala acts before any possible direction from the neocortex can be received. If, however, the amygdala does not find any match to the stimulus received with its recorded threatening situations, then it acts according to the directions received from the neocortex. When the amygdala perceives a threat, it can lead that person to react irrationally and destructively.

The journey begins with sensation received by our eyes, ears, nose, and mouth which are routed to the thalamus.

Let us understand it in more refine way!
  • The thalamus acts as “air traffic controller” to keep the signals moving. In a typical situation, the thalamus directs the impulse to the cortex for processing.
  • The cortex “thinks” about the impulse and makes sense. That signal is then sent to the amygdala where a flood of peptides and hormones are released to create emotion and action.
  • This is normal rational response of brain.

But in Hijacking of the Amygdala,” the thalamus has a different reaction. Like any skilled air traffic controller, the thalamus can quickly react to potential threat. In that case, it bypasses the cortex — the thinking brain — and the signal goes straight to the amygdala. The amygdala can only react based on previously stored patterns.

Let’s look at an officiating scenario which can happen from time to time.

You’ve just performed bad on something, it may just that you broke the vase and one of your parent saw the episode, and starts to abuse you for your performance. Their comments are delivered in a nasty tone and they’re being sarcastic about you, and your ability to handle things in the right way.

What happens?

You feel like your blood pressure has hit the roof and you can’t focus on anything. What the parent has said has pushed your buttons and you immediately reply with abuse of your own which further escalates the situation. Before you know it, you’re both face to face and other parents are practically pulling you both apart.

Afterwards you say to yourself “How did that get out of hand so quickly? What the hell happened?”

What you experienced was an “amygdala hijack.” The amygdala is the “fight or flight” and emotional memory part of the brain. Its job is to protect by comparing incoming data with emotional memories. An amygdala hijack occurs when we respond out of measure with the actual threat because it has triggered a much more significant emotional threat. For instance, the amygdala will react similarly to the threat of being eaten by a tiger (physical threat) and the threat of an ego attack (emotional threat) by bringing on the fight or flight reaction.

When one experiences an amygdala hijack, the amygdala overtakes the cerebrum (the thinking part of the brain) and there’s little or no ability to rely on intelligence or reasoning. The effect is that energy is drawn exclusively into the hijack. The immediate result of a hijack is a decrease in working memory. Adrenaline is released and will be present and effective for 18 minutes, and other hormones are released into the bloodstream that will take 3 – 4 hours to clear.

 Amygdala hijacking has prompt effects upon emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Emotional intelligence has been defined as “the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

The model introduced by Daniel Goleman focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills. Goleman’s model outlines five main EI constructs.

Self-awareness – the ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.

Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.

Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction.

Empathy – considering other people’s feelings especially when making decisions.

Motivation – being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement

Healthy Emotional Intelligence

Four principles follows each other as,

Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.

Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem-solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.

Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.

Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

 

Bullying is abusive social interaction between peers which can include aggression, harassment, and violence. Bullying is typically repetitive and enacted by those who are in a position of power over the victim. A growing body of research illustrates a significant relationship between bullying and emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (EI) is a set of abilities related to the understanding, use and management of emotion as it relates to one’s self and others. Lower emotional intelligence appears to be related to involvement in bullying, as the bully and/or the victim of bullying. EI seems to play an important role in both bullying behavior and victimization in bullying; given that EI is illustrated to be malleable, EI education could greatly improve bullying prevention and intervention initiatives.

Train your Brain

Healthy amygdala leads to healthy emotional intelligence

Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation is highly effective way of dealing with Amygdala Hijacking and to improve Emotional intelligence

Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve stimulation usually for 1-2hours/days is side effect free management of Amygdala Hijacking.

Perform Online Emotional Intelligence Test

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