Two almond-shaped structures in our brain’s middle region do the lion’s share of work in processing our emotional stimuli; the amygdalae have an outsized impact on our emotional response. Sometimes called the fear center because of its role in detecting negative input, the amygdalae have lately been credited for responding to positive information too. Neuroscience shows that people vary widely in their amygdalae response. The good news is that we can improve our response to stressful situations by using emotional regulations tools like practicing cognitive reappraisal. Through cognitive reappraisal, we change the meaning we give to a situation. For example, instead of being upset that a family member is yelling at us, we can instead find comfort in the fact that they feel comfortable to express their true feelings to us. Practically, this lessens the weight of negative emotions while giving more credence to the good. Another emotional regulation technique is meditation, including either mindfulness meditation or loving kindness meditation. By using these tools over time, we’re more likely to respond with equanimity and calm.

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