I always blame AMY when I am frightened. You know, my right amygdala. In the limbic region of the brain. I was taught in grad school that Amy (as I lovingly call “her”) was responsible for my high anxiety and panic attacks. New research shows that Amy isn’t the only culprit. Here comes PAG, joining in on the fun and games.

The University of Bristol shared this with the world: Neuroscientists have discovered a brain pathway that underlies the emotional behaviours critical for survival. 

“An important brain region responsible for how humans and animals respond to danger is known as the PAG (periaqueductal grey), and it can trigger responses such as freezing, a high heart rate, increase in blood pressure and the desire for flight or fight.”

The scientists discovered a brain pathway leading from the PAG to a highly localised part of the cerebellum, called the pyramis. This little baby fires up when our survival networks are activated during threatening situations, real or imagined.

Of course the good scientists now want to find ways to stop the pyramis from giving us the heebie jeebies, stating that the “cerebellum is a promising target for therapeutic strategies to manage dysregulation of emotional states such as panic disorders and phobias.”

I pray the scientists don’t muck up that part of the brain with drugs. You and I, dear reader, have already been the victims of the pharmacological approach to managing anxiety. Since the cerebellum is the seat of movement, I’d be curious to know if movement could turn off a hair-trigger pyramis. A good thirty minute brisk walk (hopefully through nature!) instead of popping a pill. See what that does.

Whether or not movement puts the pyramis in check, walking everyday is a good idea. Some studies suggest that thirty minutes a day will lengthen your lifespan. That may not sound like a welcomed thing right now if you are suffering in withdrawal, but honest injun, once your receptors heal, you are going to want a lot more years to celebrate the return of good things! I know I do.

Next time I get a case of the heebie jeebies, I’ll still have a talk with AMY, but I’ll also give a looksee to PAG, lace up my tennies, and go walk it off.

Keep holding on everyone. Everyday is a day closer to your miracle: RECOVERY!

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