How are the tips on your pencil sharpened? Why are plastic pieces in your bag sometimes referred to as “plastic”? Why do pens, pencils, and pencil bodies sometimes look like you bought a pack of bubblegum?
In all honesty, it is easier to give you a simple answer than it is to make you explain some of the complexities of the human brain. A simple answer is that I’m not really sure about all of them. A complex answer is that one of the most profound and important mysteries of human intelligence could potentially be explained by just a few simple brain mechanisms and that it is probably a waste of time to have people explain it in more detail.
I’ll begin to explain those mechanisms in the next installment of this series.
Anxiety may seem like a major issue for some people.
After all, people with anxiety can feel anxious all the time, even when nothing’s wrong. That’s because our “fight or flight” response is a bit different when our minds and bodies are stressed out than when they’re relaxed.
One of the best studies on anxiety and its causes found that when people are anxious – that is, whenever they’re anxious or stressed – the brains of those with the condition “shut down” in ways other than in a normal way.
Scientists called that “anxiety suppression,” and one of their key studies was a follow-up to another one that measured an important piece of the brain called the amygdala.
In the new work, the scientists looked at how the size of the amygdala changes when anxiety occurs, and how the researchers could “reverse engineer” how that amygdala “respondes to threat.”
So how exactly do the amygdala make us more or less anxious, when we’re anxious or stressed?
The amygdala doesn’t just “feel bad”
It doesn’t just “feel bad,” it “feels.”
You may be thinking that this seems a little like “I feel bad because this made me anxious.”
Well, that’s not quite right.
What actually happens is that the amygdala, which is in our heads, responds a little differently under stress than it would under other situations. In other words, it’s not just about the situation being “bad,” but all the circumstances that are happening to us – and how they make us feel.
How does a normal amygdala feel when you are nervous?
It’s not that the amygdala is overwhelmed by the situation. It’s