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EBT KIT 3

VIBRANCY


EBT™, like any psychosocial, behavioral, spiritual, or health program, is not without risk, and may be unsafe or ineffective for some people. If you have any psychological or medical problems, we suggest that you consult with your physician and/or mental health professional before beginning this program. Research on Emotional Brain Training™ focuses on subjects who, in addition to reading a book on this method, have used the complete course (six EBT Kits). Following the program without the coaching or guidance of a Certified EBT Provider may result in less effective use of the skills. Those who have behavioral excesses associated with significant medical risk are advised to seek additional supportive interventions while using this method in order to decrease their medical risk in the short term. For most people, mastery of the method to the point of spontaneous improvements in high-risk, health-related behaviors such as overeating, smoking, or substance use may not occur for two or more years; without additional support, their medical risk may not be reduced during that period of time. The author, The Institute for Health Solutions (a non-profit corporation), and EBT, Inc. (a California corporation) disclaim all liability for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained in this book. The characters discussed in this publication are composites of several individuals and the names of all individuals have been changed to maintain anonymity. Certified EBT Providers are licensed or registered health professionals or the equivalent. All Providers complete both personal and professional training in the method. Please share your comments and suggestions about the training program and services by email at health@ebt.org or by telephone at 415-457-3331. The Solution®, Emotional Brain Training™, Wired for Joy and the nurturing and limits symbol are trademarks used under license by the Institute for Health Solutions, a non-profit corporation. The mission of the Institute for Health Solutions is to develop, evaluate, and disseminate programs that support the mastery of the skills of self-regulation for the prevention and treatment of health problems and the promotion of wellbeing. Our capacity to bring these skills to others is limited by our resources. We rely on the donations and support of participants and encourage you to consider making a donation of any amount to the Institute for Health Solutions. We also encourage you to consider becoming an EBT Mentor. For more information, e-mail support@ebt.org. The author wishes to extend special appreciation to Katherine Morningstar, Melissa Swartz, Sue Stanhope, Debbie Bors, and Joyce Moulden, for their careful editing of this manuscript. Their dedication to this work and their attention to detail improved this work considerably. Kelly McGrath coordinated the production management, and Jamison Design provided consultation on the interior design, cover art and graphic design. Janice Sykes provided graphic production for this work. Joe Mellin designed the original cover concept and the website. Zack Small contributed to the initial programming of the website. Justin Ludwig directs the current website programming. EBT Kit 3: Vibrancy Copyright 2011 by Laurel Mellin. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author and publisher. If you receive materials that are unbound or photocopied, please contact the publisher immediately. ISBN: 978-1-893265-12-7 Author: Laurel Mellin Distributed by: The Institute for Health Solutions Published by: EBT, Inc. 77 Mark Drive, Suite 5, San Rafael, CA 94903 TEL: 415-457-3331    FAX: 415-457-4551 WEBSITE: www.ebt.org     E-MAIL: products@ebt.org n

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On the day you were born, you had all the inherent strength, goodness and wisdom you would ever need. All you required were the tools to access it.


Community Connection List Name

Day/Eve Phone

E-Mail


Contents Part I. Great Start Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i The 4 Rules. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iv Vibrancy: The Kit 3 Reward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .xxiii

Part II. Progress Chapter 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Chapter 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Chapter 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Chapter 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Chapter 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 Chapter 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136 Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152


Part I

Great Start


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Introduction Welcome to Kit 3: Vibrancy! The activities in this kit lead to a new sense of celebrating your body, and moving your lifestyle to a new state of health and joy. Your emotional set point has moved up, so it’s easier to make changes in lifestyle that truly meet your needs, side stepping any tendency toward excesses — such as being overly healthy so that you are trapped and don’t have the freedom to enjoy the pleasures of life without extremes. This kit also focuses on important processes that will make it easier to adopt a healthy lifestyle, such as learning how to set limits and follow through with joy — yes, JOY. We’ll explore how to feel really unbalanced negative emotions in an effective way, and use the fire of those emotions to rewire early circuits of attachment — basically, rewiring some important circuits encoded in early relationships. It’s perfect that we focus on the body now, because all feelings are experienced in the body. The brain does not experience feelings, so the tools you’ve learned in the first two kits prepare you to be more effective in using these tools in this kit. Now you are more accurate in identifying your body’s true needs, because with a higher set point, you can have more clarity. When you feel a feeling, more often than not, it’s not distorted by stress, so it accurately enables you to identify your true need. In this kit, you can continue to work on survival circuits, typically an emotional survival circuit. The survival circuit you started rewiring in EBT Kit 2: Authenticity was behavioral. My behavioral survival circuit is “I get my safety from food” and I got to stage 2 of it, negating the circuit — I cannot get my safety from food — and I got this feeling that it wasn’t about food at all. It was panic… I get my safety from going into a panic, then I eat…

With our emotional set point moving up, lifestyle change comes far more easily.


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Some behavioral circuits are like an island, quite separate from the others, so rewiring them produces profound shifts in drives for that behavior. Yet most are

Survival circuits can be lone islands, but more often they are attached to other survival circuits.

attached to other survival circuits — emotional, relational or body. The nature of these circuits is that focused emotional arousal is required to weaken or erase them. Even though it may be tempting to address them all — the whole knot of them — that easily becomes overwhelming. The brain goes to Brain State 5, and the work becomes emotionally ineffective. We may end up analyzing the circuit or forcing ourselves to change the tail end of the circuit — the response. We focus on the emotional survival circuit in this kit rather than the relational (merging or distancing) because it is easier to rewire. It is less likely than a relational external solution to trigger a Brain State 5 and shut down the rewiring process. So, if your behavioral survival circuit is strongly connected to other survival circuits, your drive for that behavior may have changed in subtle ways. For example, the drive to overeat slightly fades. Then into your mind pops an awareness that there is an emotional — or relational — circuit right “under” it. There may also be a body external solution: with weight it is usually a drive to maintain a body size that is larger than your genetic body build. The drive to overeat may not completely fade until all of them are rewired. I am done with food. I don’t even care about it anymore. But I keep overeating, could that be a body survival circuit? With all this discussion about survival circuits, you might think you have many survival circuits. Typically, that’s not the case. Most Stress Circuits are NOT Survival Circuits. They are not false attachments between survival and something else, but simply circuits encoded in Brain State 4. In that state we form false generalizations, and the vast majority of your Cycles will be Brain State 4 circuits. The only reason we’re focusing on survival circuits is that rewiring them is transformative. However, in your daily processing of life, you may do many Quick Cycles, nab the circuit of a false generalization and POP to Brain State 1 on the spot. In any given day, I do a few two-minute Cycles, a quick Just the Facts, a strong Natural Flow of Feelings and nab the 4 circuit. Usually I laugh to myself because the unreasonable expectation is SO unreasonable. Then I POP!


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In the first couple of chapters, we’ll focus on the body — making important strides toward unconditional love of body, and really expanding your repertoire of ways to pleasure yourself. Ramping up pleasure is really important because starting in the third chapter, we’re launching into experiencing strong negative feelings toward a parent, and learning how to use the Cycle Tool to forgive. At the very same time, we’ll be focusing on making moderate changes in lifestyle that are consistent over time — not rigid but consistent — to see substantial improvements in health. Let’s move on and to look once more at the four neuroscience concepts of EBT.

Most Cycles rewire 4 Circuits. A few rewire 5 Circuits. Both matter.


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The 4 Rules Once again, let’s review the basics of the method, including the four rules of emotional plasticity. More information is available through the books on the method available on the ebt.org website, but what follows is a brief overview of the key points of the method as they relate to this third kit.

The Three Brains

Neocortex “Thinking Brain” (Thinking, Planning, Deciding)

Reptilian Brain (Survival Instincts)

Mammalian Brain (Emotions, Connection, Rewards)

Rule 1. It’s not us. It’s our wiring. Oh, THAT! It’s just a wire. The wire leads to a brain state. The brain state will pass…

Notice how you are thinking in terms of wiring. You know past experiences and our shared genes cause wires to form. More of the time you sigh and say, “Oh, it’s just a wire — one of those great homeostatic circuits that carry me through stress back to feeling really great.” Or you might say, “Yup, that’s an allostatic circuit, one of those circuits that rattles and rattles and blows everything out of proportion.”


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I had a laughing fit in the grocery store when I saw an old boyfriend who had been really hurtful to me. I went right to Brain State 5, then I realized that it was a VERY strong stress circuit. He couldn’t hurt me anymore. My circuit is mine and I’ll rewire it when I’m good and ready. What the wiring rule does for me is separate me from my wires. I’m more than my wires. I have a soul. I have consciousness, so I can observe the wires, and that has a calming effect.

A Stress Circuit (Allostatic Circuit)

Stimulus

1 1

Emotional Processing 2

A stimulus enters the limbic (mammalian) brain and sparks an ineffective emotional response: “getting triggered”.

2

Neocortical Processing The neocortex functions ineffectively due to the “fight or flight”response. The primitive reptilian brain is in charge.

3

Response The response to the stimulus is ineffective, creating a spiral of changes that promote heightened and prolonged stress. 3

Stress Spiral

When it comes to stress circuits (allostatic circuits), you’ve been focusing on how to rewire a survival circuit, but this kit asks you to turn your attention to the circuits that were wired at Brain State 5, those false generalizations. When the brain perceives stress and puts the primitive areas in charge, false thoughts become strongly encoded in the unconscious memory systems. If it’s a Brain State 5 Circuit, then the expectation is a false association, linking survival to some external solution. Most of us have a few of these survival circuits, but MANY times more of the expectations that are wired at Brain State 4.

The Cycle Tool brings a burst of reward that quiets stress and brings energy to do things that just a moment ago you didn’t want to do.


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It’s very important to shift your attention to 4 Circuits in this kit, and to feel secure that you don’t have an endless list of 5 Circuits. To be assured most of them really are better dismantled by using the complete Cycle, rather than thinking of them as survival circuits. The idea in this kit is to focus on the 4 Circuits and become really, really skilled at breaking them. We will use the Cycle Tool in its complete form (Just the Facts, Natural Flow of Feelings, Unreasonable/Reasonable Expectations and Creating a Limit — I expect myself to do the best I can to… Positive, Powerful Thought, Essential Pain and Earned Reward). I was so unmotivated to exercise. I did a Cycle, and the limit I created was: I expect myself to do the best I can to do SOMETHING to move my body twice per day for 15 minutes each time. Positive, powerful thought? It’s not that hard. Essential Pain? I have to do something I don’t want to do. The rules of life apply to me. The earned reward? Integrity. Then I got up and went out for a walk. This clears away the 4 Circuits of false generalizations, that just because one small bad thing happened, it’s always going to happen, or because one person criticized me, I am a bad person, and so it goes. The important advantage of doing lots of Cycles for 4 Circuits is that they not only give you that familiar pop (the amygdala calms down and the left prefrontal cortex lights up as the reward centers are activated). But, more than that, by being so effective in easing stress, they support personal evolution. Each time you find just the right expectation for yourself — spot on to who you really are — it’s a nurturing and powerful act. You can see yourself more clearly and it’s a starting point for creating a limit, so that you have the power and safety of following through. The most important benefit of using this tool is that in order to get that “pop” to Brain State 1 you have to face the essential pain of life — the unavoidable losses, changes and realities of life — and that has a maturing and strengthening effect. The more you consider the essential pain, and feel it burn in your chest and saturate your being, then let it fade, the more you personally evolve and become mentally and emotionally in line with the nature of life. That reduces stress.


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Surge of Joy!

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A Joy Circuit

3

(Homeostatic Circuit) 1

Stimulus

Emotional Processing 2

A stimulus enters the mammalian brain and triggers an effective emotional response, not overreacting to the stressor.

1 2

Neocortical Processing The neocortex functions effectively, accurately identifying feelings and needs. 3

Response The responsive to the stimulus is is effective, turning the individual to a state of well-being.

What’s more, in this kit you will be strengthening your homeostatic circuits, the joy circuits. The emphasis will be on intense natural pleasure, collecting Joy Points, and generally rearranging lifestyle and managing time so that you begin getting hooked on your joy. That’s not only great for your health but also offsets the stress of rewiring those 4 Circuits formed early in life. It all works together in supporting you in moving forward, doing amazing work, and feeling good — if not great. So in this kit, as in the previous two, keep in mind the first rule, which is that it is not us, it’s just our wiring…

Rule 2. Wiring Leads to Brain States You’re probably pretty skilled at knowing your brain state now, but many people come to some realizations in this kit that they have been more stressed than they realized. As your emotional set point moves up, life starts looking different and things you were not able to do before, somehow you just can do them… easily! You may be trying new things now. That will trigger stress, and you might notice that your relationships are changing. In one sense, you are more compassionate, and less judgmental, but on the other hand, your changing emotional brain may find the friends and family who connected with you so well when you were in an stressed state, don’t now.

Life starts looking different. It’s strange, isn’t it, what a point or two difference in brain state makes?


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The 5 Brain States Level of Stress and Perception in each State State (#)

Stress Levels

Perception

1

Lowest

Balanced and Rewarded

2

Low

Balanced

3

Moderate

A Little Stressed

4

High

Definitely Stressed

5

Highest

Full-blown Stress Response

When I’m in Brain State 5, sometimes I’m in physical pain I’m so stressed. Other times I’m numb. I know I’m in Brain State 2 because I am present, but I don’t feel great. Sometimes I’m tired or happy or sad, but I’m still at 2. Keep in mind that your emotional brain is in transition. Emotional brains take a long time to change, not only our own, but those of friends and family members. As your own set point moves up, your connection to others may change. It’s easy to split and see yourself as good or evolved or right, and them as… not. The first four courses work together to give you the tools to rewire your connection to yourself. We are still engaged in that process, and later on we will reflect on intimate relationships. First things first! You may find yourself judging others, wanting to end relationships or, at the very least wondering: “Was I crazy? Why did I choose this person?” A more effective strategy is to keep the focus on your relationship with yourself. By all means protect yourself if you find yourself in an abusive situation. Otherwise, consider backing away slightly, spending a little less time with that individual. Appreciate that relationships are so important that revising them when your own connection to yourself is even deeper and more robust will minimize harm, and give the relationship the time and experience to evolve. Be clear: that this is difficult for them, too, especially if they are not using EBT. Something as sensitive and primitive as connection is changing, and they didn’t choose for you to move up your set point. You just did it and now that old way of connecting is gone, and you are clearing the way for a new way to connect going forward.


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The EBT Brain States State

Thoughts

Feelings

Relationships

Spirituality

Behavior

1

Abstract

Joyous

Intimate

Connected

Optimal

2

Concrete

Balanced

Companionable Aware

Healthy

3

Rigid

Mixed

Social

Unaware

Moderate

4

Reactive

Unbalanced

Needy/ Distant

Disconnected

Unhealthy

5

Irrational

Overwhelmed

Merged/ Disengaged

Lost/ Obsessed

Destructive

I used to be wired at 4 1/2, and now I’m about 3 1/2 which is causing me to judge my husband. He’s so numbed out, and I haven’t been sleeping with him, which I know is bad, but it’s what I need right now. I think I’ll do a few dozen Cycles on this, and use the Splitting Tool, too. I love this man and I’m in this for the long haul. My wife is going through EBT, too, and she spends a lot of time on the Internet on the EBT Community. I do my Cycles when I’m out running, and right now I’m feeling a bit deprived and a woman at work has been flirting with me. She has me on a false high, as if I am perfect, and the problem is my wife, because she doesn’t see me as perfect. The Splitting Tool is what I’m going to use. I have noticed that my friends irritate me. I don’t know why I picked them. I’m not going to do anything radical, just keep moving through the kits, seeing them a bit less and giving this process a good year to come together. The characteristics of the brain states hold true no matter who we are. When we are stressed, just about everything goes downhill: we become more extreme, less adaptive, rather destructive, or at the very least, separated from reality. It’s enough to motivate us to use the tools and improve our emotional set point. Yet if we take all those descriptors of each domain of life and turn them into concepts, it becomes easier to have clarity on what these brain states actually mean in our daily lives.

Relationships may begin to change, as the emotional brain holds the attachment circuits.


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The EBT Brain States State

Thoughts

1

Clarity

Feelings Relationships Spirituality

Behavior

Joy Intimacy Spirit Health

2 3 4 5

Confusion Dispair Isolation

Ego

Disease

What’s most thrilling to me about brain states is they really ruin self-judgment.

Oh, I was in Brain State 5. I sure made a mess of things, but shaming myself? Never!

They also get in the way of judging others. Anything can trigger a robust Brain State 5, whether it is an early disconnect that got lodged in the circuits, or a really bad case of constipation where you’re crabby and out of sorts and then spill coffee on your keyboard. Who isn’t at Brain State 5 sometimes? And who isn’t at Brain State 1 sometimes, and so much of the difference is not a matter of soul, but of skills and circumstances. From a neuroscience point of view, people don’t look bad or evil. Even though we are all responsible for our behavior, anyone who is locked into Brain State 5 will be completely numb (dissociated) or ramped up (hyper-aroused) and in those states extreme and destructive things are apt to occur. I thought there were evil people and good people. Of course I was among the good ones. Now neuroscience has ruined that for me. I just HATE that! I always held out hope that my wife was the crazy one because she got so emotional. I go the other direction. I shut down. Maybe neither of us is crazy. That’s disappointing. These ideas could suggest that Brain State 5 is the problem: wires trigger a fullblown stress response and the brain easily gets stuck in that allostatic state. Yet there are advantages to being in the stressed states, and one of them is that the circuits are fluid; you have an opportunity to rewire. The other is that in those moments of terror, overwhelm, and feeling lost, is when the most magnificent


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rewiring sometimes happens, and we pop from 5 to 1. Without that 5, there could not be a Brain State 1 with such love, compassion, wonder, awe and hope. Two weeks ago, I totaled my car, maxed out my credit cards and found out that my son’s medication wasn’t covered by my healthcare. On top of that, I found a lump in my breast. I was at 5 for sure, but I curled up in bed and just held on. I held onto that 5 and peered into it, let it just be, and without trying to, my mind did a Cycle. My unreasonable expectation was that my safety came from my circumstances. I popped right to 1, and felt this spiritual bliss, better than I ever have before. I get my safety from the sanctuary inside me! I’ve been grinding that in all week. It’s not us. It’s our wires. Wires trigger brain states and…

Rule 3. Brain States Get Stuck We’ve been talking about set points for some time now, and in this kit your movement in your set point may be clear to you. It’s easier to dislodge yourself from a Brain State 5, partly because you know how to do it and partly because the thick ropes of wires in that state have frayed and loosened a bit. One of the reasons we addressed rewiring your primary behavioral external solution — that survival circuit — in the last kit, is that the impact that rewiring it can have on your set point is measurable. Our goal is freedom from external solutions. The key to this freedom is secure attachment to the sanctuary within. The problem is not that specific excess, but that the excess ramps up stress and separates us from attachment within. The solution to releasing the drive toward external solutions is developing attachment within. One-by-one, you will clip, melt, erase or erode the wiring that connects you to false attachments. Some people dabble in lots of different external solution, sometimes excesses that are wired at 4, not 5, not tightly held, but still having an effect. Others attach to one excess for life, and still others switch from one to another, crossing over from food to drink, from drink to exercise, from exercise to recreational drugs, then back to food. Some people shape much of the way they see themselves based on being a person with problems, an addict, in recovery and such, but in EBT we don’t think about it


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that way. It is reasonable to expect that if we do not have a dominance of the wires that securely attach us to the sanctuary within, and enable us to be in that brain state of spirit rather than ego, if it’s not one external solution it will be another or a whole cluster of them. Our goal is to change the set point of the brain to that state in which we have an abundance of all six rewards, and oddly enough, when we have that, the external solutions don’t seem all that daunting, that powerful. They wither away because we don’t really need them any more.

I used to focus on solving problems. Now I focus on my amazing capacity for joy.

As your emotional set point slowly begins to inch up perhaps 1/4 of a point per kit or even 1/2 point per kit, or whatever it does, there are losses involved. Again, the Cycle Tool helps here. This is painful. I’m SO HAPPY now, and I look back with horror at what a complainer I used to be. How did people stand me? I’m at 4. I’ll do a Cycle. My problem is I’m arrogant when I get insecure, and I judge people so badly. I have all these ugly words to tear people down, and they just appear in my mind. When it happens now, it’s more like an old habit to break. The emotional charge is out of it. In fact, I am becoming pretty compassionate. I even have compassion for myself. How do the eudonic rewards fit in? In the coming kits, we’ll rely on them more. In time, as you walk through your day — after those allostatic circuits have largely been excavated and thrown out — thoughts of each of them will come to mind each day, and your actions will be in anticipation of one of them. You are probably already experiencing far more of these rewards. In the EBT Inventory in this section, you can measure your progress with them.


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The Eudonic Rewards Sanctuary

Secure and peaceful from within.

Authenticity

Feeling whole and self-accepting; being genuine.

Vibrancy

Enjoying optimal health and vitality.

Integrity

Honoring the ideals that are important to you.

Intimacy

Being close but separate from others.

Spirituality

Feeling connected to the grace and mystery of life.

Wired at 1

An abundance of all six rewards.

Rule 4. We can create new wiring. At this point in the training, we’re getting more particular about being sure that each use of the tools has the maximum effect. Consider the metaphor of the dresser with five drawers, one for each brain state, and that the brain stores memories in the brain state in which it was encoded. So every moment we are at Brain State 4, we are filling up that drawer with stronger and larger allostatic circuits. Each moment we spend at Brain State 1, we’re clearing away the other drawers and repackaging them — reconsolidating those circuits — in the top drawer. Each moment that you’re triggered, if you use that opportunity of stress to reach for the tools, you experience the best results. The circuits are “hot” with the synapses open, and in that moment you have a robust emotionally-charged vision. You know how it feels to roll along and process the moment in a business-as-usual way. That’s emotionally vibrant and real to you. You also know how it feels to reach for the tool and switch back to feeling good — or great. That’s emotionally vibrant to you, too. In neuroplasticity, that is called having two circuits that are in “apposition.” This puts you at choice. You can see yourself in slow motion, choosing the old way and feeling way high, way low or numb, or using the tools and getting to your joy is very effective. Seeing yourself at choice. Since the tools tend to be more rewarding, the more you use them, the more your brain, in that moment of choice, will nconsciously prefer using them.

All emotional experiences are multilayered — as legions of circuits are aroused. It’s not a lone note but a symphony.


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Surge of Joy!

3

Stimulus 2

1

The more we get to 1, the more these circuits fade. Stimulus

1 2

3

A Joy Circuit

Stress Spiral

A Stress Circuit (Allostatic Circuit)

(Homeostatic Circuit) At this point in the training you are apt to minimize how effective you are in being at 1. It’s still a little bit odd, frightening, novel. But more often than not, you can check in and be at 1, then use the Sanctuary Tool to extend the chemical effect — and the rewiring — of a sustained moment of emotional and spiritual connection. The work we will do in this kit that relates to lifestyle is all about love and

It’s just a circuit. Sometimes using a “10 X 10” is the best medicine.

respect for body and self. If, at any time, you feel deprived, rebellious, numb, resentful about the changes in food, exercise and sleep, then by all means take a break from the work. Or, if you prefer, do a Cycle a day for 10 days about it. That “10 X 10” (a Cycle a day for 10 days, and during that time checking in 10 times per day) can have a powerful impact. Post your 10 X 10 on the EBT Online Community to inspire others. Keeping this overview in mind, let’s explore new ways to use the Cycle Tool, the skill that gives us more power to rewire stress circuits…


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More About the Cycle Tool In the first two kits, the emphasis was on the 5-Point System and also about survival circuits. We used the Cycle Tool primarily to process daily life and to zap the circuits that ramped up stress. In this kit, the Cycle Tool is used in additional ways, so let’s pause for a moment to look at the tool more carefully.

Keep It Simple — The Cycle Tool always begins the same way. You state just the facts about what is bothering you, as a way of ramping up stress so you can access the circuit that is the problem. Once stress is ramped up and you are at Brain State 4, then you cross that boundary and start expressing feelings — short, choppy sentences expressing your passion, and opening up the circuit for rewiring.

Don’t Stop Until You POP — The brain prefers to keep the old circuits — think of a rat on a wheel, spinning round and round year after year. It will only reconsolidate the circuit easily if doing so is rewarding. You know your brain perceives it as rewarding if you can feel in your body a relaxation response and a slight glow of pleasure, power, peace, and… reward. So it’s easy to know you are “done” with the Cycle because you have popped to Brain State 1, or sometimes Brain State 2. When you pop, you know that the mission has been completed. Here is the range of possibilities:

Popping at the Unreasonable Expectation — Again, you are trusting your emotional brain to provide answers to you about when you are “done” using the tool. You stop using it when you POP to Brain State 1. Sometimes just nabbing the circuit, finding that unreasonable expectation is enough to trigger that POP to Brain State 1. Why would that be? When you express your uncensored emotions (red hot feelings of anger, sadness, fear and guilt) that strong emotional expression opens up the circuit of the unreasonable expectation that is ramping up your stress. That expectation was unconscious. Now you can bring it to consciousness. Your prefrontal cortex becomes aware of it and you see yourself more clearly. Imagine you are at Brain State 4 because of what seems like a stressful situation, and you state Just the Facts, then express rip roaring anger, sadness, fear and guilt. At that moment you have a flash of insight, for example: “Oh!


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My unreasonable expectation is that I am a bad person. Oh, my gosh, THAT expectation is enough to make anyone stressed!” You feel seen by yourself because you know that this circuit was encoded by real experience. Your brain created a crossed wire when you were in stress. Now you understand in a fresh new way the source of your stress: the circuit. Learning, insight and “feeling seen” by ourselves is associated with survival of the species. Anything that is associated with survival of the species is rewarded with a dopamine surge! You’re at Brain State 1. You have popped, and the Cycle is complete!

Popping at the Reasonable Expectation — If you state the opposite expectation of the unreasonable one, and pop, then stop right there. Your brain perceives reward, the emotions are opening up that circuit, so it’s time to move on to the Grind In. The more emotional fervor, the more the circuits may be open, so there is no point in wasting time and letting the emotions cool down. Why not do a Grind In right away? Research is still not clear about the effect of waiting, but the brain remembers based on emotional fervor, more strongly recalling experiences that are highly emotional. So, the best advice at this point is to go ahead and grind in that new reasonable expectation.

Popping at the “I expect…” Periodically, we don’t pop at the reasonable expectation, typically because it isn’t rewarding enough. The brain craves that reward in order to rewire, so we create a limit. Limits are… nurturing. They’re a way of being seen, heard and felt. We add an “I expect myself to…” The trick in creating limits is to find an expectation that really nurtures you, that is absolutely reasonable for who you are in this situation. We’ll focus more on this tool in this kit, however, the important characteristic of this tool is the reward for following through is of a higher order. It’s a reward that is associated with survival of the species, and therefore confers a neurotransmitter surge. The surge from these higher order rewards — sanctuary, authenticity, vibrancy, integrity, intimacy or spirituality — creates the POP. So the easy way of thinking about the Cycle Tool is that you always start the same way. You always start by stating the facts about what is bothering you, then continue with the process until you POP to Brain State 1 — or sometimes Acceptance. In essence, state what you are most stressed about, then settle in, feel red hot


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feelings and express them, then find a stress circuit and begin to change it — hence the POP. You learn to trust the tool. You know that whenever you are stressed, you can move through the process of The Cycle Tool and find yourself back at Brain State 1 — or sometimes Brain State 2 — within a few minutes.

More About the Grind In Consider trying one or more of these techniques. Brain imaging studies are needed to clarify the impact of these techniques on neural circuits, however, they may add joy to the Grind In and emotional charge. Emotional charge has been associated with stronger synaptic reconsolidation.

Tender Touch Grind In — Using tender touch to increase your emotional arousal as you repeat your Grind In. You can do this on your own or with another person. To use it on your own, gently stroke the opposite shoulder or arm as you repeat your Grind In. To use it with another person, sit face-to-face, leaning toward one another, and holding hands in whatever way feels comfortable for both of you. Simply touch one another in this way until you are both relaxed. Then repeat your Grind In. Listen to their Connecting Message. If you like, reverse roles! Be a loving presence for then as they repeat their Tender Touch Grind In.

Aroma Grind In — As you check in before going to sleep, put a few drops of a scent such as lavender, lemon grass or jasmine on a cloth, and put it close to your nose as you repeat your Grind In. Place the scented towel near you and go to sleep. Scents enter the limbic system. More research is needed, but that scent may activate that new wire and strengthen it while you sleep.

Imagine Grind In — As you repeat your Grind In, really see yourself living your life with that new reasonable expectation firing at your very core. Feel those red hot emotions in your body. Celebrate that vision of yourself living your life with that new expectation. Visualize yourself in different situations. See yourself with different people. See yourself, really see, feel and hear yourself living your life with that expectation guiding your way, and holding you in a state of peace and power!


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The EBT Inventory 1. The Rewards In the last month, how often have you experienced each of these life rewards? Sanctuary:

I was aware of my emotions, and felt peace and power from within. 0 = Rarely

1 = Sometimes

2 = Often

3 = Very Often

Authenticity:

I felt whole and self-accepting and was genuine. 0 = Rarely

1 = Sometimes

2 = Often

3 = Very Often

Vibrancy:

I felt at my best, physically fit, energetic, with a zest for life. 0 = Rarely

1 = Sometimes

2 = Often

3 = Very Often

Integrity:

I was aware of my purpose in life, and honored the principles that were most important to me. 0 = Rarely

1 = Sometimes

2 = Often

3 = Very Often

Intimacy:

I was so securely connected to myself that I did not merge with others or distance from them. I could be separate but close. 0 = Rarely

1 = Sometimes

2 = Often

3 = Very Often

Spirituality:

I felt compassion for myself, for others, and for all living beings. 0 = Rarely

1 = Sometimes

2 = Often

3 = Very Often

Now total the scores from all your responses.The range for this score is 0 to 18.

Your Rewards Total: _____


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2. Brain States In the last month, how often have you experienced each of these brain states? Brain State 1:

Feeling Great. Feeling balanced and rewarded, with surges of pleasure in my body. 0 = Rarely

1 = Sometimes

2 = Often

3 = Very Often

Brain State 2:

Feeling Good. Being present and aware of my balanced positive and negative feelings. 0 = Rarely

1 = Sometimes

2 = Often

3 = Very Often

Brain State 3:

A Little Stressed. Feeling mainly negative feelings. Being somewhat numb and thinking too much. 3 = Rarely

2= Sometimes

1 = Often

0 = Very Often

Brain State 4:

Definitely Stressed: Feeling negative, unbalanced feelings. Having expectations that are too harsh or too easy. 3 = Rarely

2= Sometimes

1 = Often

0 = Very Often

Brain State 5:

Stressed Out! Overwhelmed, confused, lost or disconnected. 3 = Rarely

2= Sometimes

1 = Often

0 = Very Often

Now total the scores from all your responses.The range for this score is 0 to 15.

Your Brain State Total: _____


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3. Stress Symptoms When in stress, what emotional state is most typical for you? That is a symptom of a “survival circuit” and we refer to this mood as an emotional external solution. Given enough stress, all of us use emotional external solutions. It’s important to know which one you use, and how they affect you. Which one(s) do you tend to use? Hostility Depression Anxiety/Panic Shame Numb (no feelings) or Thinking Too Much False Highs (mood abnormally elevated and separated from reality) Other: ______________________________________ In the last month, how often did you experience emotional external solutions? 3 = Rarely

2= Sometimes

1 = Often

0 = Very Often

When in stress, it is normal to use relationships for comfort. However, in a highly stressed state most people trigger a survival circuit in relationships, either merging or distancing from others. These are relational external solutions. Signs of Merging: n

Overly concerned with how the other person feels and what they need

n

Losing sight of how you feel and what you need

n

Rescuing others, people-pleasing, or controlling

Signs of Distancing: n

Overly concerned with how you feel and what you need, to the extent that you are unaware of how the other person feels and what they need

n

Isolating, judging others, or persecuting others.


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In stress, what relational external solution(s) do you use? Merging Distancing Both Merging and Distancing In the last month, how often did you use relational external solutions? 3 = Rarely

2= Sometimes

1 = Often

0 = Very Often

Under stress, behavioral external solutions bring temporary comfort, even if they are not effective in the long term. Which behavioral external solutions do you use? Overeating Smoking Overworking/Excessive Busy-ness Overuse of Alcohol or Other Drugs Overspending/Hoarding & Clutter Other: __________________________ In the last month, how often did you use behavioral external solutions? 3 = Rarely

2= Sometimes

1 = Often

0 = Very Often

Most people have physical symptoms. If you do, please list your symptoms below, including the ones that are signs of stress or physical conditions that tend to worsen when you are stressed. If you have none, please write “none.� Also, please record the following body signs (see information in the appendix about these measures). Examples: weight gain, overweight, diabetes, high blood pressure, digestive problems (e.g., nausea, indigestion), immune system problems (frequent colds or infections), heart disease, headaches, muscle tension (e.g., neck or back pain), joint and bone problems, and chronic pain.


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Resting Heart Rate ________ Blood Pressure________ Body Mass Index ________ 1. ___________________________________________________ 2. ___________________________________________________ 3. ___________________________________________________ In the last month, how often have you had physical symptoms of stress? 3 = Rarely

2= Sometimes

1 = Often

0 = Very Often

Now total the scores from this section.The range for this score is 0 to 12

Emotional external solutions: ____ Behaviorial external solutions: ____ Relational external solutions: ____ Physical symptoms of stress: ____

Your Stress Symptom Total: _____

The EBT Inventory Summary Totals

Baseline Score

Wired at 1 Range

Your Rewards

_________

16 to 18

Your Brain State

_________

12 to 15

Your Stress Symptoms

_________

10 to 12


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The Kit 3 Reward: Vibrancy Like all the eudonic rewards, vibrancy is a practice and a value, and is associated with the activation of the reward circuitry. Vibrancy is the capacity to move through stress and return to a state of balance with the reward pathways in the brain naturally activating. Vibrancy is experiencing that rolling kind of joy. Vibrancy is influenced by health but all healthy people are not vibrant. Notice the difference, two people going for a walk… Oh, &^%$, I have to go for a walk, and I can get this done in 20 minutes if I move a little faster, and what I can’t figure out is what happened when Kara said she would do the project, then she didn’t. Then when I said that she didn’t do her part, and that glare she gave me. What a witch. How did I ever get stuck with working with her? And let’s see, I have about 15 more minutes to go, and she deserves that rotten husband of hers and who does she think she is to tell me what to do? I think I’ll turn on my iPod and listen to some music, and no, I need to figure out what I’m going to do when I get home. There isn’t any food I really want to eat. I think I’ll get home and go out and get some takeout or maybe I’ll call out for a pizza, that would taste good, and there is a special on the large pizza with the pepperoni. Maybe I can have them add a salad, and no, their lettuce is always white and tasteless… I’m almost done, but I really shouldn’t have the pizza, and maybe I’ll get some groceries instead and make something healthier, and there are really good tomatoes right now. I can get some of them, and maybe pick up a chicken. Hey, I’m back home already and 20 minutes is up, and now all I need is to get my keys and go to the store… Yeah, I need to go for a walk. Get my shoes on… they feel good… Get out of the house and down the steps. Let’s see, I’m at Brain State 3, maybe at Brain State 4, and I notice the tension in my body, the pain in my muscles — a lot of tension I carry there. I warmly observe myself, there I am at Brain State 3, starting my walk, and the day is a bit nippy. I can feel the cold air on my body. Connecting with the sanctuary within… hard to find… oh, that feels better. Bring up a nurturing inner voice… what words do I most need to hear? “Of course you feel bad. But you’ll feel better soon.” My body’s charging up, and I’m aware of my breathing… breathe in and out… now I’m feeling better, now Brain State 2… feeling my sadness… sad about how hard today was… a

Vibrancy is more than just health. The root of the word means spirit.


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little guilty that I was abrupt with Connie… and grateful for my body… to be able to be outside and walking… well, I’m at Brain State 1. What do I expect? I expect myself to appreciate my body, to love my body… and to not stop walking… the essential pain is that I’m not getting my other stuff done… the eared reward is feeling vibrant in the moment, and doing something important… taking care of my body and myself. Ah, I just got a surge of pleasure in my body. Yes, I’m definitely at 1. To experience vibrancy requires being emotionally connected, and emotions are stored in the body, so that means feeling not only love for yourself, but awareness and love for your body, unconditional love, a sense of respect, and definitely feeling connected to self, others, spirit and life. The activities that follow, chapter by chapter, will combine some rather diverse activities, primarily because that is the nature of vibrancy. We’ll start by making a personal decision to love our body unconditionally, as a way of rewiring circuits that not only block vibrancy, but also emotions. In order to receive messages from the body, being in the balanced states —

The insula interprets body needs, and as our set point moves up, it becomes more sensitive, more effective.

Brain States 1 and 2 — is very important. The insula is thought to be the center of organizing feelings, sensing the body, and becoming very accurate in interpreting the body’s needs, and it functions best in balanced brain states. So overall moving up the set point keeps healthy lifestyle choices from becoming compulsive “shoulds.” Instead those choices are tied to feelings, and the awareness of how great it feels to be aware of the body and sensitive to its needs. Small differences in exercise, food, and sleep are based on sensitivity to body messages, and that sensitivity vanishes when in stress. So we will continue to use the 5-point system in more and more effective ways, rewire a survival circuit related to the body or emotions, and clear away some old circuits, some emotional trash, from past hurts. One of the most important activities in this kit is your building skills in setting limits and following through with a flourish, that is, a surge of joy. Each of the skills presented will seem simple, and each one is quite powerful, but to access the power of these skills requires practicing them. The prefrontal cortex, the seat of consciousness, learns how to oversee the emotional brain with repeated use of the tools. It becomes more and more effective at focusing attention and attuning to the emotional brain’s state. Then, it learns to use the tools to lovingly accept the state of


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the “kids” in the emotional brain (those primitive circuits) or chooses and uses the tool that most effectively returns the brain to a state of balance and reward. The reason we take lifestyle and healthcare so seriously in this kit is that you can now be far more effective in addressing both. Your set point has moved up. What’s more, lifestyle choices and physical health are extremely powerful predictors of brain state. In the past in EBT, I have seen many people ignore the lifestyle and healthcare aspects of the training, preferring to rewire old circuits of emotional hurt. They invariably bump up against Brain State 2, but can’t get there, and certainly not to Brain State 1, as a set point. They are at far higher risk of staying at a “masked 1” — that is, almost being at 1, but instead being around Brain State 3, with plenty of moments at Brain State 5 and using external solutions. The Brain State 1 moments are fragile, and chemically are probably a false high more than that rolling kind of spiritual joy that is so easy when at Brain State 1. This kit is also a turning point in the training, in that by the time you conclude it, you will be halfway through learning these emotional tools, and moving up your emotional set point. If you can focus your attention and do a very good job — not perfect, but quite good — in this kit, you will have laid the groundwork for your success in the remaining courses. The sunshine will come out, and you will notice yourself feeling a big grittier — more authentic and present — and more in love with your own life, and with LIFE! That’s perfect, because then you will move ahead, laying down deeper circuits to make that joy secure — to be really strong in feeling securely connected to your unique self — and going forward in the game of life that you are creating!

Welcome to EBT Kit 3: Vibrancy!

Kit 3 Intro  

VIBRANCY EBT KIT 3 The author, The Institute for Health Solutions (a non-profit corporation), and EBT, Inc. (a California corporation) dis-...

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