I have received a wonderful e-mail from a mother about what her teenage daughter and their family dynamics have gained from getting to know about the amygdala, the alarm of the brain.
In my books, I describe why EVERY child, teenager, and adult deserve to know about the amygdala. Just like we know from an early age that we have a big toe and an elbow, we should, in my opinion, also know:
- THAT we have two almond-shaped structures called the amygdala in our brain that constantly scans our surroundings for dangers and will let us know immediately if it comes across something that seems like a threat or resembles a threat from our past.
- WHY the amygdala can easily run wild and hijack the rest of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex thus hampering its ability to think, analyse, put things into perspective and regulate emotions.
- HOW we can calm the amygdala again (thus dampening anger or fear).
Here, a mother describes how knowledge of amygdala and use of the Amygdala Bottle has helped them:
“I have a husband, a 16-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. The two teens have had so many quarrels over the years. He typically says something that winds her up – and she yells, leaves the room and slams the door. Right before the summer holidays, I read about the amygdala and shared this knowledge with my daughter. We started making Amygdala Bottles together. She gladly found our stock of glitter and food colouring and we made different kinds. Afterwards, we had the loveliest holidays for 14 days – without any conflicts at all! Sometimes, my daughter went a little quiet and I sensed that she took some deep breaths before continuing the social interaction with inner calm. Later, she told me that she had decided that her big brother shouldn’t be allowed to trigger her amygdala. She wanted to regulate that herself. Thank you so much, Anette, this was exactly the tool we needed. Of course, she is allowed to be angry, but it is just very humiliating to return to the room after having been hijacked by the amygdala and excessively upset. It is much more empowering for her to walk down useful paths via experiences through which she gains experience with regulating herself emotionally and strengthening her inner peace.”