When threatened or just startled, our brain reacts extremely fast and sets in motion a reaction that will try to move us out of danger. In fact, this reaction is much faster than reactions to many other stimuli coming from a more benign situation. Our brain is wired in a way to process fear as a priority, and our fear memories are much more firmly embedded in our brains. When going through this process, our brain is also more likely to be extra cautious, because of these memories. New research aims to better understand these processes with the ultimate goal of helping people with anxiety.
- When humans are driven by their innate reactions into flight or fight mode, their breathing and heart-rate accelerate naturally in a sequence of events that they do not have control over.
- Unfortunately this innate response is not fool-proof. For example it is possible to mistake an innocuous thing, like a shadow for a threat, thereby kick-starting your heart into overdrive.
- This happens because sectors of the human brain always act on the defensive, choosing to believe in the implied threat, or the possibility of a benign event, until proven otherwise.
“Neuroscientists know that fear memories are made in the amygdala—an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain, considered the main library for fear processing.”