I recently stumbled across this interesting technique called “tickling the amygdala“, popularized by Neil Slade. The amygdala is a part of your brain, specifically the limbic system. The amygdala is thought to be involved with the processing of emotional reactions, both positive and negative. This “amygdala tickle” technique is supposed to give you conscious control over the generation of positive feelings.
What interests me in this technique is there is nothing to believe in, there is no extended practice that must be perfected—and from the claims, once you get the technique down there is an obvious and definite experience to let you know that you’ve succeeded. It still seems a bit fringe, but since there is a specific technique with a specific result this is something that can be tested in a scientific-ish manner. I like that.
I’ve quoted the text that describes the main (and very simple and straightforward) technique used to “tickle the amygdala” or “click the amygdala forward”:
To locate your amygdalae (that’s the plural – there are two of them, one in each hemisphere), place your thumbs against your ears and middle fingers on the outside corners of your eyes. About 25mm inside your head from where your forefingers naturally come to rest on your temples is where your amygdalae reside.
Visualize a feather softly tickling the anterior (forward) part of the amygdala, first on one side, then the other. If you prefer, use a pair of feathers and do both sides at the same time. That’s all there is to it. Just remember, gentleness (you’re using a feather, not a cattle prod!) and directing energy forward, into the frontal lobes, are the keys to success.
I highly suggest reading the original post for a more complete overview on this interesting claim: “The Crazy Wisdom of TDA Lingo” at A Cookbook of Consciousness. I’ve tried this technique a few times since reading about it, but with no success. I have a tough time envisioning the feather, the tickling, or the proper location in the brain I should be focusing on, but the the blog’s author Rob Schneider replied to my question about succeeding with this technique and is planning a new blog post with more tips.