Overcoming the Amygdala Part 86


You might remember from earlier in this study of the amygdala the Seven Zones:

7. The Panic Zone

This is the zone of panic attacks, with the body in full ‘fight/flight’ mode, preparing for a physical battle or for fleeing the scene. A person is normally physically and mentally unable to go about their normal routines in this zone.

6. The Anxiety Zone

On the edge of panic, a person can still function somewhat and get basic things done, but with mind and body electrified by worry. Here, with great effort, people can sometimes manage to appear ‘normal’ in company even when they are on the edge of panic.

5. The Rhythmic Zone

A pattern and frequency sets in here: ‘mood swings’ may be visible to others, and can often be attributed to physiological changes in the body.

4. The Calmer (Karma) Zone

Here, anxiety attacks have faded in frequency and intensity. It may be possible to spot a correlation between actions and anxiety (like ‘karma’).

3. The Manifestation Zone

Rationality comes to the fore in this zone — instead of reacting to the environment, a person can begin to respond analytically and creatively, moulding the environment rather than the other way round.

2. The Child Zone

Life begins to be a playground.

1. The Zen Zone

This is the state achieved by the great mystics and saints, individuals for whom the universe appears very differently.

It’s possible also to interpret these zones in terms of departures and ideals and so on.

When we are in the Panic Zone, we are unable to evaluate anything correctly. It looks as though our whole environment consists of departures — there isn’t a shred of anything ideal remaining. Everywhere we look, there is either something missing that should be there, or something present that shouldn’t be there, or things are out of sequence or too rushed, or inflated in importance or full of lies — in other words, we are in the middle of an insane scenario. Our amygdala is ringing at full volume as a reaction to being surrounded by departures.

That’s why it helps sometimes if we can grasp just one thing which we could consider stable — one item, point, place, moment or mood, one person or thing which isn’t inappropriately present or absent or a lie or exaggerated or any of the other categories of departure. If we can hold onto something, we can emerge from panic and slide over into the Anxiety Zone — still not pleasant, but better than being in the centre of the maelstrom. When we are in anxiety, we are still surrounded by departures, but in the small gaps between them we can maybe catch brief glimpses of a more ideal set of circumstances. Anxiety presents us with departures which are threateningly large and overwhelming, but we’re not yet quite overwhelmed by them.