Hey Warrior Amygdala Plushie (Large)
By: Karen Young
The plushie amygdala is your very own warrior, there to protect you. Measuring 40cm tall, it has super-soft fur, a way-too-cute head, and a heart of pure courage. It hates asparagus, loves blueberries, and isn’t too keen on footwear. It’s brilliant to have around, and not just because it will never steal your shoes. Your plushie amygdala can also be:
- A breathing buddy. Lie down, put your plushie on your belly and take strong, steady breaths. If your plushie moves up and down as your breathe, your breathing is perfect – strong, steady, and from your belly – exactly the type that will calm anxiety.
- A sleeping buddy. Put your plushie close to you as you are falling asleep. As you feel it against you, pay attention to your breathing – let it be slow and relaxed. Then, imagine that your plushie is trying to fall asleep – try to be as still and as gentle as you can so as not to wake it up. This is a way to practise mindfulness and strengthen an anxious brain.
- A bravery buddy. Anxiety happens when your amygdala (that fierce warrior) gets a little overprotective and a little too active. Your amygdala wants you to be brave, and it knows you can be, but sometimes you’ll need to believe it enough for both of you. What are the words your amygdala needs to hear? Perhaps, ‘We can do this,’ or ‘Whatever happens, we’ll be okay,’ or ‘We can do hard things.’ Find the words with your plushie, then use those words for yourself when you need to feel brave.
- A listening buddy. Talk to your plushie about your worries, (they can handle anything), or when you’re sad, mad, jealous, when you’ve messed up, done something fabulous, and when you’re feeling like an absolute legend. Talking helps to bring calm to an anxious brain by strengthening the connection between the emotion-loving right, and the language-and-logic-loving left.