The amygdala is a collection of cells near the base of the brain. There are two, one in each hemisphere or side of the brain. This is where emotions are given meaning, remembered, and attached to associations and responses to them (emotional memories).
The amygdala is considered to be part of the brain’s limbic system. It’s key to how you process strong emotions like fear and pleasure.
Fight or flight
Early humans were exposed to the constant threat of being killed or injured by wild animals or other tribes. To improve the chances of survival, the fight- or-flight response evolved. It’s an automatic response to physical danger that allows you to react quickly without thinking.
When you feel threatened and afraid, the amygdala automatically activates the fight-or-flight response by sending out signals to release stress hormones that prepare your body to fight or run away.
This response is triggered by emotions like fear, anxiety, aggression, and anger.