2How Your Amygdala Hijacks Your Mind
Your amygdalae are small almond-shaped masses (there are actually two of them) located deep within the temporal lobes of your brain. They are part of the brain’s ancient limbic system primarily responsible for processing memory, decision-making, motivation, and emotional reactions. Most importantly, your amygdalae control those bodily instincts related to survival. They’re to blame and thank for our primal emotions, such as fear, anger, and pleasure.
Your amygdala acts as your brain’s threat radar and alarm. It was very useful when our ancestors hunted for food –- or were hunted for food. When the amygdala sounds the alarm, your body reacts with an almost instantaneous sequence of hormonal and physiological changes preparing your body to fight or flee. This gave our ancestors an evolutionary advantage
When the brain kicks into reactive mode, your amygdala hijacks your brain and takes over. Most of your physical and mental resources get allocated to making sure you survive. Your thinking, rational brain shuts down. Even though you no longer run into hungry tigers on a regular basis, your amygdala activates today when you encounter an angry partner, unhappy boss, or rude driver.