I was doing some yard work today after work before I went out to trivia. The podcast that I listened to was talking about our brains and something called temperaments. I learned that our brains contain upwards of 150 different chemicals. But get this too, our brains have different concentrations of those 150 chemicals.
So, that means that if you're sitting on the train, or a plane, or in a movie theater... Or just at the mall, or whatever... The person to the left of you and the person to the right of you have different concentrations of those same 150 chemicals.
That means, that everyone is somewhat shaped from the get go by how much of each chemical we have, or do not have. Some extreme cases of not having chemicals are when we have very little serotonin, which is a predisposition to depression.
But there's people who have extra serotonin... etc etc.
Anyways, so basically one of the things that comes out of that is depending on the chemical makeup, some people have very hyperactive amygdalas and some people have hypoactive. The same can be true for other organs in the body, like when someone is diagnosed with a thyroid disorder where it's hyper or hypo...
So, the one guy is a research professor and he was discussing how they found a correlation to specific personality traits depending on which amygdala you have.
I'm hyper. For sure.
Now I want to read all up on it. I'm pretty sure that I'm like EXTRA hyper.
Well, so the amygdala if it's on the more hyper side, that means we tend to be more prone to external stimuli.
Whereas the hypo people are less prone.
Okay, here's an example. Hyper amygdala people take in more and things are more intense than hypo.
So, like a concert setting like a loud rock concert setting might be almost overwhelming. Think introvert versus extravert. Or someone who's more prone to being tense if the surroundings aren't comfortable or familiar.
Someone who's hypo doesn't mind. They actually NEED more stimulus to get to the same level of brain stimulation that someone who is hyper needs.
Basically it's like this... Instead of everyone starting at zero and then getting to 10 by adding 10... Some people have a natural state of 5 while others are -5.
So, this explains why some people love loud sporting events with lots of action, they generally have a lower baseline amygdala whereas someone who likes a quite night at home with a movie on the couch might be a positive 5.
Basically if your amygdala is very unhyper, you need to amp it up. These are people who love clubs, the love going out every night. They love busy and stimuli. They probably live in the city, in the center of action.
And it's basically for the most part... Just chemicals.
Now, that's not to say you can realize things about yourself and sort of push yourself to be in places you don't really feel comfortable in, or aren't appropriate for your level of amygdala-ness.
But apparently being a loud and crowd person or a quiet time with a book at home person... Has less to do with something you have learned...
And more to do with biology of the chemical makeup of your brain.
It's just interesting. Because what's fascinating about this is that people who like certain places or settings or things or activities, probably like them not so much because they made a choice, but because it keeps their brain stimulus level in the green zone.
So, if you have an amygdala baseline level of 10... You basically love quiet spaces. You love relaxed environments, because hitting up the club scene or going to an amusement park, or going to a sports game with thousands of screaming fans...
Is like overdrive for your sensory input.
But the same is true for someone with a super hypo amygdala. If your amygdala is -10... You need adrenaline rush. You probably take risks... You like to skydive. You love a good highstakes poker game and are more likely to do things that include large groups of people and loud noise. High energy.
At least this is how I understand it. I did some quick looking up of how it works and the amygdala is responsible for anxiety and fight or flight.
SO, this makes sense... If you have a lot of uncertainty around you... lots of strangers, loud noises, lots of lights... That in turn can activate anxiety in the fight or flight reaction. That can make you feel uneasy and scared or anxious.
Basically this means that the pond you feel most comfortable swimming in... might have a lot to do with how you interpret the senses coming in. Sense we all have the same things coming in given a specific place or space.... Each one of us interprets things differently.
I found a couple of interesting sources related to is from a quick search...
It's fascinating stuff!
What's intersting is that you can kind of adapt yourself to yourself. And learn to understand what's going on.
Let's say for example you're out with a couple of friends at a bar... If you're an easily activated amygdala person you would be ready to go after just 1 or 2 drinks. You get your fill easy. You become over stimulated and need to go outside for fresh air. Or maybe you even find yourself hiding off in some cozy corner spot where the speakers aren't as loud and there aren't as many people, or even taking a few moments in a bathroom stall.
But if you have a much less active amygdala it takes more for you to get amped up and stimulated because you don't get anxious. You might even find it boring. So you do a shot, or two, and then you chase it with a Red Bull. You then want to get out on the dance floor and really get the body moving to get your heart rate up.
It's almost inverted. People who take in a lot of stimulation from even just reading a book need less to get to the same level as people who find reading boring, or dull.
Anyways, I definitely have kind of heard about this a little before and read some of it, but I'd forgotten about it. I had no idea though about the 150 chemicals and how we each had different concentrations.
It's interesting stuff because even just knowing this makes me more aware of my own preferences and behaviors.
I definitely get more anxious and worry a bit more I think than most people I know.
I don't prefer to be in a loud environment that's fast paced and lots of lights and lots of people. I definitely would feel like I need to retreat back to quiet and calm after having been in a place with lots of actions and energy happening.
But I do know people who would close down a bar almost every night or stay out at a club in the city and then want to know where the afterparty is...
The thing is, we can suspend our natural state... But after so long, we need to return back to it.
It's really interesting stuff. I definitely want to learn more about it. I'm definitely a hyper stimulus person. I get my fill pretty quickly. But I definitely know people who after getting their fill, and then some, they still want more. Their natural state is to always do things that amp them up because they constantly need to have their chemicals in their brain pumped up.
The next time you are hanging out with a friend, or coworker, or family member at the bar, and you're ready to go home and they are just getting started and keep saying the night is young, or maybe the reverse is true...
Something to consider. If you're ready to head home and they want to stay out all night, it could just be that they are trying to get to that same stimulated level you are at right now... Just takes a lot more for them.
Anyway, that's the way I kind of understood it. Although I have more reading to do. So, it could be that I don't quite have it right.
The bottom line is, we're all different... And it's because of that we each have a slightly different way of taking in the world. But we can know this about ourselves and just be aware of it.
So, I know that I am slightly more sensitive and emotional and have a lower threshold for taking in stimuli... But it's because of my hardwiring of my brain. But now I can be aware of it and know myself better to be able to handle the world and life experiences in a better way!