How to change your emotional state?

Chu

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I was thinking about how it's so hard to get over certain emotional states like depression, constant negative thoughts, fear, the feeling that there is no hope, etc. And even harder is to know what triggers what. Does it begin with neurochemical alterations, which then cause certain emotions to "settle" and make us miserable? Or do we trigger those physical alterations by thinking in a certain way and wallowing in our feelings? I think it can go both ways, and that tackling the problem from both sides is a good idea. A supplement alone may not solve the issue, but sometimes in spite of your will and the efforts you make mentally, you may need some physical support. And in any case, it can become a vicious cycle unless and until we do something about it, for sure.

Aside from that, how much power do we really have over our emotions/horses, and how to strengthen that ability? Well, most of the time people don't even know their real emotions that well. You could think you're sad because that's what you are used to telling yourself, but in fact, you may have lots of anger inside, or viceversa. Perhaps a certain emotion follows a brain pathway, created in the past in order to survive, due to your temperament, etc. But in the present, it causes problems and makes you stuck, mechanical, etc.

The bottom line is, IMO, that those emotions have their place, but we cannot let them rule us. Take sadness, for example. Let's face it, NOT ever being "depressed" given the state of this world is very hard to do, and perhaps even delusional if you have even a bit of a conscience. But at the same time, we cannot let ourselves be paralyzed or give up. And we should be able to master them when needed. After all, all we can do is try to anchor a frequency, make our ideas expand and manifest, or as Laura would say, "be the change we want to see in the world", helping each other and sending a signal out there! Otherwise, we're no good. Complaining about the world or our programs/mistakes/you name it is fine and dandy, for example, but what are WE doing about it?

Anyway, what to do when we seem to be stuck in an emotional state? Getting facts straight seems to be the best. And asking for feedback, sharing observations. Because when in that state, even facts can get distorted and we can see everything as black. The conclusions and even the decisions we make when in an emotional state can be pretty bad, for example, as I think all of us have experienced more than once only to realize later that we were "thinking with our emotions".

Along this theme, I stumbled upon this article, and as simple as it is, I think it has some practical applications for most of us, in terms of the Work and living in the present, taking responsibility. Because it's like problem-solving, and who doesn't like a bit of that? A challenge, a bit of hope, and a method.

http://www.rockyourday.com/how-to-train-yourself-to-be-in-the-mood-you-want/

NOTE: You have to filter out the "business" approach, but I think it's easy to extrapolate what he is saying to what many of us go through off and on. At least for me, it was helpful, FWIW. Simple reminders can sometimes do quite a lot in the way of making us get back on track.

How to Train Yourself to Be in the Mood you Want

When you have major changes going on in your life, or you’re just frustrated about where you are, it’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of depression, bad moods and frustration. I know, I’ve been there … and when I’m not careful, I still get there more than I want to.

But when I’ve had a particularly hard time, I hit these moments where I’m in a foul mood, or I’m just feeling paralyzed, and I’m just stuck. Sometimes I just stew in that and stay there, but sometimes I actually get intelligent and pull my way out of it.

I’m going to outline the framework that I’ve been using successfully to really get myself resourceful and motivated (and in a better mood) when I’m feeling stuck. Hopefully it will help you, too, and if you do I truly hope you’ll share it with others.

First Up: Using A Framework to Escape From Paralyzing Emotions

When we feel bad, it’s hard to “feel good” again. You can’t just wish yourself better, and when you’re in a stuck place, you don’t generally have the mental energy to pull out. Willpower doesn’t help, and “positive thinking” sure as hell doesn’t help. But falling back on a framework of steps does help, because we humans function well when we have a set of steps to follow.

The reason for this is that steps take the emotion out of our situation and give us direction to simply act. Duck and Cover. Stop, Drop, and Roll. When you know with certainty what to do next, you’re in a much stronger position to take action, even when you’re panicking. (And it doesn’t have to be words, either – just think of Lamaze breathing, which expectant mothers practice well ahead of time so they can slip back into it during the stress of labor.)

You can call these verbal step-by-step tools anchors if you want, because they’re ways to anchor your emotional state to a time where you knew what to do and you felt prepared. So I’m going to lay out a framework that you can use as your own anchor when you need to reset your mood, and while it’s seven steps long, it’s hella effective at getting the job done.

The seven steps form the acronym ACT FAST, and I picked that because I felt that it was a pretty empowering term as it forces you to presuppose you have a workable course of action. So let’s dive in.

A: AGREE With Yourself That You Don’t Want To Be In This Mood Right Now.

[Distinguishing between self-pity, an "easy" estate to be in that should be finite and changeable, and the need to stay with an emotion in order to process things.]

This seems hokey, but it’s important for this reason: Once you agree with yourself that this is not the right mood for you, you’re revoking permission to stew in your own juices and keep the “pity party” going. Think about it: When we’re mad, the thing we hate the most is when someone tries to cheer us up, because on some level we want to be mad and stay mad, or be depressed and stay depressed.

And that’s not always a bad thing. Maybe we want to stay sad because on some level we know we need to hang out in this mental state and really look at what’s making us sad, to really connect with it and deal with it instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. Maybe we want to stay mad because we’re not finished processing our emotions and figuring out what our situation means and what we’re going to do about it.

So don’t take this as me saying “man up and stop crying.” What I am saying is that at some point if you want to move forward in a functional way, and not feel paralyzed, you need to agree that this stage of emotion has to be finite, it has to come to an end so you can deal with the solution that the emotion demands of you. When you’re ready to deal with it, you agree with yourself that you’re ready to shift gears.

Let’s say you’ve lost your job and you’re freaking out about what to do. You could tell yourself something like, “Okay, I’m ready to stop being scared of this situation now.” Then you move on to the second step.

C: CLARIFY The Mood or Emotion You Want To Move Towards

[Engaging the frontal cortex, the intellectual center, not letting the emotional center usurp the others so much.]

Now that you’re ready to change, you need to make sure that you know where you’re headed so you have something you can focus on. It’s not enough to say “I just don’t want to feel this way anymore,” because then you’re still swimming in the Sea of What You Don’t Want. You need to have a focus.

It could be as simple as defining the mood you want to be in with a single word or two. Resourceful. Confident. Infectiously Happy. Stable. Calm. Controlled. Helpful. Pleasant. Civil. Generous. Whatever it is, you need to give it a name.

Then you combine it with the last thought, so you can tell yourself something like “I’m ready to stop feeling scared and start feeling resourceful.”

There’s nothing magical about these words, and again, it’s not positive thinking. This is all about creating something you can say to yourself to pull the emotion out of your mental state and focus on what you can do next and what you can influence.

When you start getting scattered and lose track of where you are, and you’re stressing, you can fall back on your statement: “I’m ready to stop feeling scared and start feeling resourceful.” You’re putting yourself back in control and you’re ready for the next step.

T: TAKE Responsibility For Taking Immediate Action.

Now that you know what you want to move away from and what you want to move towards, it’s time to face reality: It ain’t gonna happen unless you make it happen. You’re going to have to consciously accept responsibility for getting yourself in a better state.

This is a big deal, because it means that you‘re going to have to revoke permission to blame other people [or life circumstances, or whatever you are blaming it on, including yourself if you are having a self-pity party and are making excuses not to change] so you can do this. Note that I’m not saying that you’re absolving other people of blame – if someone just screwed you over, then they’re still at fault, and you don’t pretend that didn’t happen. [And the same with yourself. You don't just pretend you didn't make those mistakes you are feeling terrible about. Guilt has its role. But it might be time to really act on it in a conscious manner, changing the way your behave and think and feel in the present, so that you can change the past, and the future.]

But focusing on that isn’t going to help you get to your desired emotional state. You have to take full responsibility for what thoughts you’re going to focus on and what attitudes you’re going to reinforce, because no one is going to do it. No one is coming to your rescue.

You want out of this emotion? You’re going to have to do it yourself. the good news is you totally can do it yourself, and we’re going to cover that in the next four steps so you can get there.

So now our statement to ourselves gets a little longer – it’s something like, “I’m ready to stop feeling scared and start feeling resourceful, and I’m going to make that happen right now.”


We’re going to move into four questions right now, and you’ll need to memorize them so you can get yourself back on track instantly when you’re backsliding into the emotional state you don’t want to be in.

F: “What Would I Need To FOCUS On To Feel this Way?”

This question is a really empowering one, because it forces you to stop thinking about the things that are draining you and gets you to acknowledge that there are things you can focus on that will give you more mental and emotional energy.

When you ask yourself this question, you’re putting yourself on the spot – you’re saying, “Hey, if I wanted to feel resourceful (for this job loss example), what would I need to focus on?” You’re presupposing the answer is available to you rather than saying “How do I get out of this funk?”, which is an open ended question that invites an “I dunno …” response.

Think about it. If you were feeling resourceful in this job loss situation – imagine that you were for a second – what would you be focusing on in order to feel resourceful? Would you be thinking of all your contacts and references, about renewing old work relationships? Would you be taking stock of all the online job boards, or maybe sites like LinkedIn? Or would you be revisiting your skills and experience and seeing if another career would be more fun?

Ask yourself this question, and write down the answers. You’ll need that written note to look back on when the painful emotion you’re moving away from resurfaces. Have a written library of answers to this question and you can benefit from it when you’re feeling emotionally unable to conjure up answers later.

Sometimes the answer can be external as well. The first part of my career was spent in software testing, and that’s some boring stuff. It’s frustrating to test the same thing 100 times and not feel totally unmotivated. But I’d focus on something external – like the road trip I was going to take with this week’s pay – and that would keep me going.

In one case I was testing training Army courseware for avoiding/disarming landmines, and after the 1,000th retest I was so bored out of my skull I wanted to scream. But I told myself that if I focused on testing it until it was 100% ready, then it would save people’s lives in the field. Someone’s Dad would be coming home because they didn’t trip a landmine or trigger a roadside bomb. That didn’t make the job less boring, but it gave me a sense of purpose and a better emotional state.

[Applied to our purposes, I think that what might help is focusing on something larger than ourselves, on the force we want to be a part of in the Universe, i.e. creation, not entropy. And having faith that the Universe knows what its doing if we do our best. But it can be smaller things, like learning to be more grateful for things you do have, the people you love, etc.]

So think: What would you have to focus on to move towards the mood you want? There’s always an answer. Find it and write it down.

A: “What Would I Need To ACT On To Feel The Way I Want To?”

Now that you’ve established what you need to focus on, you need to address what kinds of actions you need to take to build up that feeling. If you’re depressed and you want to feel happier, maybe you ask yourself, “How can I help 3 people today?” and you do something simple like send an encouraging email, or meet them for lunch, or just send $25 to a charity of your choice in someone else’s name.

[That's something we always repeat here. Doing something for OTHERS makes us less focused on ourselves and our problems!]

Action is important because it’s extremely difficult to feel your way into a different way of behaving. You know this, or you wouldn’t be stuck in the first place. When you’re feeling scared or mad or depressed, you can’t just manufacture emotion to get yourself going.

But if you do something – if you take action – you can behave yourself into a different way of feeling. And it doesn’t have to be directly related to your own issue if that’s causing you friction. If you hate your life situation and you can’t figure out how to make it better, then focus on helping 5 other people feel better. Be an encourager, and that will help you pull out of that sense of depression. Trust me, it works, because it breaks your pattern of feeling helpless and connects you with other people.

This reminds me of something the Cs said in the session from May 10th, 2014:
A: Service to others. Notice that the people with the most problems that always talk only about themselves and their troubles, are the ones who do and give the least. They do not have confidence in the universal law of LIFE: Get things moving and you create a vacuum in your life into which energy can flow.[...] Balance! A portion of a day can be spent on reflection, but not too much. This is the Wetiko Virus: obsession with the self and subjective personal issues. The next time you feel yourself slipping into despair, just tell others how you are feeling and think of something you can do for another to prevent them from suffering the same feelings. [letters come more slowly now:] Thus you will witness the birth of true empathy. [...] Very often significant life changing events take some time and energy to push through. But it will be accomplished with persistence. Also, along with tonight's theme, you can increase the energy flow by creating a vacuum by giving and doing!

But that’s just the start – it’s all well and good to take external actions to get your emotions jump-started, but you also need to get a sense of the actions you need to take relative to your own problems. In the FOCUS step you will probably come up with things you need to not only focus on, but actually do, and you need to make a list of those actions and start running with them.

Sometimes that’s hard to do – the motivation wanes – and that’s when you fall back on the FOCUS step again. It will help you get in a better frame of mind to take action.

Moving on, you’ll also need to ask yourself,

S: “What Would I Need To SURROUND Myself With To Feel The Way I Want To?”

This is an overlooked concept when it comes to mood change. Your surrounding environment plays a huge factor in your mood, and if you don’t consciously take control over it, you’re leaving power “on the table.” When you arrange your environment in ways that empower you, the chances of you keeping the mood you want to be in go through the roof.

Right now I’m writing this while listening to epic soundtrack music – I personally find that isolating my ears via headphones and keeping high-adventure music going keeps me focused and motivated. It’s hard to feel complacent when listening to instrumental tracks like “A Storm Is Coming” and “Rise of the Destroyers” are drowning your ears in epic symphonic goodness. :-)

I know that this kind of music helps me kick ass, but you’ll have your own environmental triggers. Maybe it’s classical music or R&B, or maybe it’s just the silence of an empty room (or noise-cancelling headphones). Maybe it’s a clean desk, or maybe it’s a desk littered with action figures and crazy stuff. Maybe it’s wearing your favorite hat, brewing a certain kind of coffee or lighting some incense.

It doesn’t matter what it is - it just matters that you become aware of it, and you leverage it to help create the emotional state you want. Whether it’s keeping the counters clean, making the bed, soaking in hot bath or cranking up Aerosmith, get a feel for what makes it easier to be in the moods you want to be in. Then make it easy to build that environment when you need it.

[Gurdjieff talked about this when referring to the "impressions" we absorb. Sometimes it gets overlooked, I think. And also, the act of taking care of our external environment is a symbol of the impetus for taking care of the inside environment. The latter might seem impossible sometimes, but is something we can do, just as tidying up a desk.]

T: “What Would I Need To TELL Myself To Feel The Way I Want To?”

This is where it all comes together – the part where the rubber hits the road and you have to fight against the emotions you want to move away from. This is where the previous steps all kind of combine and you create this little script you can say to yourself, a litany of conscious choice, as it were, to recalibrate yourself when you’re struggling.

Maybe it’s something like this for the freaking-out-about-the-job-loss example:

“I’m ready to stop feeling scared and start feeling resourceful, and I’m going to make that happen right now. I’m going to focus on the resources I have, like the 50 past co-workers who can get me leads, the job boards online and the in-demand skills I can show on my resume. I have everything I need to make this crazy time less crazy and I know what to do next. I’m going to make a plan for getting (or creating) the job I want and set aside 3 hours a day to take serious action. I’m going to neaten up my home office so I can think straight, and make it a relaxing place to work in the meantime.”

If you read this over and over again, what do you think would happen? Would you keep freaking out about your job? Or would you start feeling a little bit better?

Yeah, This Takes Some Work, But What The Hell Else Are You Doing?

Most people, if they’ve read this far, will say, “That’s too much work, Dave.” But seriously, if you’re paralyzed and feeling terrible, you have time on your hands already. You’re just using that time to stew in the emotion instead of making it finite and taking action. I know how it feels, I fight it all the time.

But this is a way out – or at least the beginning of the way out for you. And it’s easier than you think, because once you understand this process, 9 times out of 10 you won’t have to use all of it. You’ll just be sitting there stewing and say to yourself, “What would I have to focus on right now if I wanted to get my ass up and exercising?” or “What would I need to change about my surroundings right now to feel a little bit happier?” and that will be enough to get moving.

The quality of your life revolves around the quality of the questions you ask yourself on a minute-by-minute basis.

[In the present, the attitude is very important. We can either decide to do what is asked, help others, etc., or complain about things till the comets come.]

If you ask yourself, “Why me?” or “What can I possibly do?” you‘re going to be paralyzed.

If you ask yourself “What can I do next, from where I am, with what I have,” you’re going to put yourself in a position of strength.

Ask better questions. Train yourself to be the sculptor of your moods, rather than being tossed about by urgency and externalities you can’t control.


You can do it. I hope this helps.

My best to you,

Dave

I read this a few days ago when I was feeling really sad. For me, being depressed and lacking all hope is unusual. I'm a double Sagittarius and fairly optimistic, so every cloud has a silver lining even when it's storming like hell, if you know what I mean. But I have had periods of utter depression, where everything felt hopeless, I lose all motivation, etc. I can keep working because I feel it's my duty and know what needs to be done, but I may still feel depressed and stuck, too caught up in every past mistake, wishing that a time machine would allow me to go back and fix it, or worrying about the future, the meaning of it all, thinking many of the things listed above when in a "funk". That's scary, and it can last unless I re-wire myself a bit. So, reading that simple article helped with that. Maybe it can help others too. Sometimes we can forget that we CAN change things even with the world being as it is. It doesn't matter how small it may seem. It might help someone else, it might help you be that change you want to see, and simply allow you to live your life instead of "enduring" it, or letting things just happen to you. I know we don't have much free will in this reality and cannot change the world (at least not in linear terms), but we have some, after all! Why not make the best use of it as possible?

Anyway, just some "The Work for Dummies" tips, to be adapted and worked with depending on your particular emotion or situation. ;D Not that the Work can be made easy, but sometimes simple solutions are at our disposal to help us with difficult processes and rewiring. One step at a time.
 

Dakota

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
English:
Thank you Chu for excellent advices how owercome negative emotions.
As a addition to that I append this article about influence of complaining and grumble which is often on Balkan (IMO). The article is also translated on Croatian if readers from Croatia&Serbia want to read: Mijenja li učestalo prigovaranje vaš mozak?
In the article Parton explain how grumbling affects our brain:

His theory suggests that negativity and complaining actually physically alters the structure and function of the mind and body.
and this:
"The principle is simple: Throughout your brain there is a collection of synapses separated by empty space called the synaptic cleft. Whenever you have a thought, one synapse shoots a chemical across the cleft to another synapse, thus building a bridge over which an electric signal can cross, carrying along its charge the relevant information you're thinking about.

...Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross.... The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together - in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger."

Grumbling is terrible habit, carried responsibility on someone else, it is gruelling and exhaustive for both of them.

Because I want to practice my English and have a desire to help the one from Croatia&Serbia who have problems with English I would write every post on both languages. This is totally different aproach from the one, when I just try to write on English. I hope that is ok?

Croatian:
Hvala Chu na ovim odlično sažetim savjetima kako nadvladati negativne emocije.
Kao dodatak tome prilažem tekst o utjecaju navike prigovaranja/jadikovanja, gunđanja koje je često na Balkanu (barem po mom mišljenju). Tekst je preveden i na hrvatski: Mijenja li učestalo prigovaranje vaš mozak?
U članku Parton objašnjava kako prigovaranje utječe na mozak:
Njegova teorija sugerira da negativnost i gunđanje doista fizički mijenjaju strukturu i funkcije uma i tijela.
i
Parton dalje objašnjava:
"Princip je jednostavan: Kroz cijeli vaš mozak postoji skup sinapsi koje su odvojene praznim prostorom zvanim sinaptički rascjep. Kad god imate misao, jedna sinapsa izbacuje kemikaliju kroz rascjep do druge sinapse, na taj način gradi most preko kojega električni signal može prijeći, noseći usput njegov naboj relevantnih informacija o kojima mislite.

... Svaki put kad je ovaj električni naboj potaknut, sinapse rastu bliže jedna drugoj kako bi smanjile udaljenost koju električni naboj mora prijeći... Mozak ponovo ožičava svoj vlastiti krug, fizički mijenja samoga sebe, kako bi olakšao put i vjerojatno omogućio da odgovarajuće sinapse podijele kemijsku vezu i tako zajedno iskre - u suštini, olakšavaju da misao bude potaknuta."

Gunđanje je grozna navika, prenosi odgovornost na nekog drugog, strašno je zamorno i iscrpljujuće i za onoga tko gunđa i za onoga tko sluša.
 

Temperance

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Thank you for sharing this article, Chu. :D
Having a step-by-step listed like this, and contained within ACT FAST, should be a good tool to deal with the emotional states you mentioned, OSIT. In my experience, when we begin feeling a certain feeling, even if it is just a hint of irritation, or just slight apathy, we may try to put up with it and underestimate the effect it will have when it keeps looping in itself, and let it build up until we are engulfed by the feeling before we even know it. I think that we literally have to act fast, on the first hint of such a state arising, and if possible take a moment to stop what we are doing and address the cause of the feeling. The times where I was able to catch myself at the start of such a state, I found that it was much easier to troubleshoot it so to speak, and go through a similar process as the ACT FAST acronym, asking myself "Why am I feeling this?", "Should I allow myself to become immersed in this feeling?", etc. When I did this, let's say because a program was triggered in me, it was much easier to recognize it when it was subtle, than when it was severe. So perhaps if we take action as the first signs of a mood, by engaging breathing exercises for a moment, we may be able to gain the clarity necessary to not identify with the state and deal with it in a more productive manner. The most difficult part here, at least for me, is definitely the noticing of the feeling early and becoming fully aware of it, in order to try to step back and do something about it, and in my experience, what increased the likelihood of me noticing this, was a regular meditative practice where I just focused on my breath and bodily feelings. This was before I knew about EE, and it was essentially a prolonged version of the moment after each breathing exercise, where we are prompted to "relax, notice your body, and all the subtle sensations". Back then, I also didn't know about the importance of unpleasant feelings in regards to disintegration, though.

Also, I would like to add this analogy from In the Buddha's Words, by Bhikku Bodhi:

The Dart of Painful Feeling
"Monks, when the uninstructed worldling experiences a painful feeling, he sorrows, grieves, and laments; he weeps beating his breast and becomes distraught. He feels two feelings--a bodily one and a mental one. Suppose they were to strike a man with a dart, and then strike him immediately afterward with a second dart, so that the man would feel a feeling caused by two darts. So too, when the uninstructed worldling experiences a painful feeling, he feels two feelings--a bodily one and a mental one.
While experiencing that same painful feelings, he harbors aversion toward it. When he harbors aversion toward painful feeling, the underlying tendency to aversion toward painful feeling lies behind this. While experiencing painful feeling, he seeks delight in sensual pleasure. For what reason? Because the uninstructed worldling does not know of any escape from painful feeling other than sensual pleasure. When he seeks delight in sensual pleasure, the underlying tendency to lust for pleasant feeling lies behind this. He does not understand the as it really is the the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of these feelings. When he does not understand these things, the underlying tendency to ignore in regard to neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling[Seeing the feeling objectively, without identifying with it, OSIT] lies behind this.
If he feels a pleasant feeling, he feels it attached, If he feels a painful feeling, he feels it attached..."

The quote goes on to literally state the opposite in terms of an "instructed monk", and that he feels only the bodily dart, without attachment.
This quote has helped me in regard to not identifying with pain and painful emotions, and I hope it can help others, too. :)
 

Luks

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
How to change emotional state; I discovered that it can be achieved in the few steps:

1. Stop the inner dialog.
2. Feel all the emotions, allowing flow them through the body; be touch with feelings.
3. Discover internally, real cause of existence of the emotions and feelings.
4. Write correct narration to achieve desirable effects.
5. Create visualisation of this what is desirable.
6. Make a move to fuse with visualisation; take an action and go into real experience.
7. Clear leftover of the inner dialog.
8. Feel all the emotions of the new emotional state.
9. Wonder what narration can allow for achieve better results.
10. etc...

Or:

1. Take an action and go into experience.
2. Feel the new emotional state as the consequence.
3. Take an action and go into experience.
4. Feel the new emotional state as the consequence.
5. etc....

In the first way, the work between centers has been done. The second is mechanical.
 

annp

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thank you for this timely article, Chu. It really helps to have a method to get us out of the depths more quickly where we can start to regain some balance.

Something else that might help anchor ourselves to a more positive frame of mind is to change our posture, as it has a definite affect on our moods. When we are in negative states, we often unconsciously slump, our shoulders roll forward and our head drops. We often tend to look down (downcast) as well. So, it might help while preparing to do the exercises mentioned to sit up straight, lift our chin and eyes and smile (even if we don’t feel like it).

Here are a few articles that give more information:

http://www.sott.net/article/300978-Why-you-should-stop-slouching-The-posture-mood-connection

_http://lifehacker.com/the-science-behind-posture-and-how-it-affects-your-brai-1463291618

_https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-willpower/200910/change-your-posture


Another thing that usually helps me is to get outdoors for a bit and bask in the sun. Just a few minutes can feel refreshing and change my perspective, even if only slightly and then I can begin to take more concrete steps.
 

Odyssey

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
aleana said:
Thank you for this timely article, Chu. It really helps to have a method to get us out of the depths more quickly where we can start to regain some balance.

Something else that might help anchor ourselves to a more positive frame of mind is to change our posture, as it has a definite affect on our moods. When we are in negative states, we often unconsciously slump, our shoulders roll forward and our head drops. We often tend to look down (downcast) as well. So, it might help while preparing to do the exercises mentioned to sit up straight, lift our chin and eyes and smile (even if we don’t feel like it).

This is a good tip. The brain doesn't just send signals to the body. It also receives signals from the body. So if the body is signaling depression those depressing thoughts and expressions can influence thinking and turn into a negative loop that for most people lasts longer than in necessary. People get to the point where they're actually 'thinking' with their bodies. Additionally, you can't solve some emotional conundrum when in you're in the same emotional state that you're trying to get out of (not being able to think with the way you are thinking, in other words). So, having a way to step outside of yourself and change your emotional state is key to working on issues.

Thanks for the article, Chu.
 

RflctnOfU

Jedi Council Member
Thanks for the article Chu! :)

I think it boils down to what G talked about: non-identification. (It seems this is related to the FOCUS section of the article). Of course this is MUCH easier said than done - a big I is needed for this...as the little I's are a state of identification - with an idea or feeling, or sensation etc.. Then association comes into the picture. Knowing ones machine inside and out is necessary, I think...having an awareness of all of the 'nuts and bolts' that constitute the machine. Conscious use of association, as it takes place in you...changing posture, or remembering a fragrance, 'fill in the blank'...basically recreating a string of associations that leads to the state one chooses...this is very difficult though. I have had only limited success, but it has worked for me. Does this make sense?

Kris

Btw, Chu, double Sagittarius as in Sag moon, or Sag ascendant?
 

Konstantin

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Thank you Chu for this post.
Its very helpful and interesting. I often find lost in those negative feelings and i struggle to get out and this post is really helpful. I usually force myself to do something. Even if that is not related with the situation that drove me in that bad mood. Doing anything is helping me to be out of that mood and then i`m in better situation to see the problem and try to find a solution. But i found it that its very difficult.

Also going outdoors or doing a little workouts helps me not to sing in negative emotion and think little clearer.

Very, very helpful topic.
 

ashu

Jedi Master
Thank you for sharing Chu, it’s an interesting article with what seems like a structured way in dealing with negativity and constant funks I keep getting into. So a much timely thread! I tend to be positive in general, but as of late (few years maybe) I keep stewing in unhealthy “pity parties” – not good – and I truly want to change this behaviour, really I do. I particularly notice when I haven’t done Eiriu Eolas for a while, my emotions do tend to go out of whack. Also noting that rather than focussing on myself, I find that helping others shifts the focus and that’s a good thing!

Odyssey said:
aleana said:
Thank you for this timely article, Chu. It really helps to have a method to get us out of the depths more quickly where we can start to regain some balance.

Something else that might help anchor ourselves to a more positive frame of mind is to change our posture, as it has a definite affect on our moods. When we are in negative states, we often unconsciously slump, our shoulders roll forward and our head drops. We often tend to look down (downcast) as well. So, it might help while preparing to do the exercises mentioned to sit up straight, lift our chin and eyes and smile (even if we don’t feel like it).

This is a good tip. The brain doesn't just send signals to the body. It also receives signals from the body. So if the body is signaling depression those depressing thoughts and expressions can influence thinking and turn into a negative loop that for most people lasts longer than in necessary. People get to the point where they're actually 'thinking' with their bodies. Additionally, you can't solve some emotional conundrum when in you're in the same emotional state that you're trying to get out of (not being able to think with the way you are thinking, in other words). So, having a way to step outside of yourself and change your emotional state is key to working on issues.

Thanks for the article, Chu.

This is so true and I find yoga helps, especially with connecting / 'coming' to the body as it was mentioned on one of the Health & Wellness radio show on exercise. I notice when I do some yoga, I sit straight / taller and I am not prone to slump all over the place. So you are dealing with 2 areas (physical & emotional) for the price of 1 (yoga).
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Thanks Chu for sharing this!

ashu said:
This is so true and I find yoga helps, especially with connecting / 'coming' to the body as it was mentioned on one of the Health & Wellness radio show on exercise. I notice when I do some yoga, I sit straight / taller and I am not prone to slump all over the place. So you are dealing with 2 areas (physical & emotional) for the price of 1 (yoga).

This has been my experience as well. I always had problems with posture, and exercise really, really helped me on so many levels.

Since I am male, and many (Western?) men seem to have problems with Yoga because it is too difficult/demanding in terms of flexibility and so on, I can really recommend doing Pilates first. The exercises are much more gentle and subtle, yet very powerful. Plus, the Pilates breathing made much more sense to me (it is similar to EE).

Once I mastered Pilates breathing, a whole new world of body-sensations opened up to me - you can apply it to any physical exercise, from weight-lifting to household stuff. It gave me much more control over my body in terms of balance and concentration, and it can provide an extra-boost of strength whenever you need it.

Now I can do basic Yoga exercises as well - but I don't do the Yoga breathing (in through the nose, out through the nose), even when doing Yoga I'm much more comfortable with the Pilates breathing. But I now really like those Yoga exercises; even though to others I probably look like a complete rookie and rather untalented, I'm amazed at what I can do now compared to a few years ago. It's really about "breathing into the whole body" and being aware of different body parts at the same time, while really "letting go" of tensions.

And yes, it really "resets" body, mind and emotions. Usually, the more I don't want to do it and the more excuses I find, the better I feel afterwards if I manage to do it anyway. Body, mind and emotions are so connected :)
 

Xico

Jedi Council Member
thank you Chu for this post:

I think this is one way to get rid off my anxiety, stubbornness, impatience problems, that I constantly have to be fighting about, it hasn't been easier for me, but sure I have tried.

once again thank you! :clap: :clap:
 

Windmill knight

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Incidentally, a friend posted this article on her FB wall today, and it seems to complement the one posted by Chu. Don't be put off by the title as I initially was; it's got some good points in there and it can be applied to more than just 'happiness' and 'complaining'.

The Science of Happiness: Why complaining is literally killing you.

by Steven Parton - Nov 1, 2015

Sometimes in life, all the experience and knowledge simmering around in that ol’ consciousness of ours combines itself in a way that suddenly causes the cerebral clockwork to click into place, and in this fluid flow of thought we find an epiphany rising to the surface.

One such point for me came in my junior year at University. It changed the way I viewed the world forever as it catapulted me out of the last of my angsty, melancholic youth and onto a path of ever-increasing bliss. Sounds like I’m verging on feeding you some new-agey, mumbo-jumbo, doesn’t it? Well, bear with me, because I assure you the point here is to add some logical evidence to the ol’ cliches, to give you what I would consider my Science of Happiness.

At the time of this personal discovery, I was pursuing a double-major in Computer Science and Psychology. Aside from these declared interest, I also had an affinity for (Eastern) Philosophy and Neuroscience. This led to semester course load comprising of two 300-level psychology courses, one 300-level philosophy course, and a graduate-level artificial intelligence course for both biology and computer science majors. This amalgamation of studies quickly tore my brain into a dozen directions, and when I put the pieces back together, I found myself resolute with rational reasons for optimism and for removing from my life the people who liked to complain.

1. “Synapses that fire together wire together.”

This was the first phrase my AI professor told the classroom, and to this day it is still one of the most profound bits of logic I hold onto in order to dictate the decisions of my life. The principle is simple: Throughout your brain there is a collection of synapses separated by empty space called the synaptic cleft. Whenever you have a thought, one synapse shoots a chemical across the cleft to another synapse, thus building a bridge over which an electric signal can cross, carrying along its charge the relevant information you’re thinking about. It’s very similar to how nerves carry electric from the sensation in your toe all the way up to your brain where it’s actually “felt”.

Here’s the kicker: Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross. This is a microcosmic example of evolution, of adaptation. The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger. Therefore, your first mystical scientific evidence: your thoughts reshape your brain, and thus are changing a physical construct of reality. Let that sink in for a moment before you continue, because that’s a seriously profound logic-bomb right there.

Your thoughts reshape your brain, and thus are changing a physical construct of reality.

Okay, pull yourself together, cause we’re not done yet.

2. Shortest Path Wins the Race.

Beyond the absolutely incredible fact that your brain is always doing this, consistently shifting and morphing with every thought, even more exciting is the fact that the synapses you’ve most strongly bonded together (by thinking about more frequently) come to represent your default personality: your intelligence, skills, aptitudes, and most easily accessible thoughts(which are more-or-less the source of your conversation skills).
Let’s dig deeper into the logic behind that. Consider you have two pairs of people throwing a ball back and forth. One pair stands ten feet apart, the other at a distance of 100 feet. One partner from each team throws their ball to their respective partners at the exact same moment with the exact same speed. The first team that catches the ball gets to dictate your personal decision and mental state of mind.
So which team will get the ball first? Basic physics of distance, time, velocity tell us that it will always be the pair standing 10 feet apart. Well this is basically how your thoughts work. Through repetition of thought, you’ve brought the pair of synapses that represent your proclivities closer and closer together, and when the moment arises for you to form a thought ( and thus throw our metaphorical ball of electric energy), the thought that wins is the one that has less distance to travel, the one that will create a bridge between synapses fastest.

3. Acceptance vs Regret, Drift vs Desire, Love Vs Fear.

In the time of my scholastic renaissance, this is where Eastern Philosophy came in and handed me a sort of Occam’s Razor of simplicity that I could use to strengthen my forming ideology.
It was simple, every time a moment came my way and brought with it a chance for reactive thought, my two choices were simple, regardless of the flavor you put on them: Love or Fear; Acceptance or Regret; Drift or Desire; Optimism or Pessimism.
And now, my friends, we have our two pairs playing catch.
Naturally, for my own well-being, I realized that all I wanted to do was move the pair of lovers closer together so they would always beat the fearful, pessimistic pair. And so I began to implement a practice into my life of loving everything that came my way, accepting it while relinquishing the need for control. The Buddhists say that the universe is suffering, and I believe this is because the universe is chaos, and thus by its very nature out of our control. When we try to force desires, we are bound to find innumerable occasions where the universe will not comply. And so I decided to stop desiring to the point of attachment. I started to practice the acceptance that Buddhists speak upon, to Drift in the Tao, to accept the natural flow with an optimistic love, to say to every moment that came my way, good or bad, “thank you for the experience and the lesson, and now bring on the next moment so I can give it the same love.” Over and over I did this, moving those synapses closer and closer together, to the point where any synapses in my brain associated with sadness, regret, pessimism, fear, desire, melancholy, depression, etc had a smaller and smaller chance of triggering before the synapses of love gave me my reaction, my thoughts, my personality. And so my default state become one of optimism and appreciation, and the illusory burdens I attached to this existence lessened.
Now, as I pointed out, nature appreciates chaos, and our brain is no different. And so it’s important that I point out that this obviously is not a fool proof practice that will completely eradicate negativity from your consciousness; sometimes emotion weighs too heavy and sometimes the pair that catches the chemical charge will be the negative one; but, like any muscle, if you exercise those loving synapses enough, you will find yourself in possession of a new innate strength that will make the world shine more beautifully far more frequently. You will also find yourself being far more happy because of better health–which I’ll get to in just a moment, but hold on, because we’ve got one more point to discuss beforehand.desktop11

4. Mirror-Neurons.

So if your mind hadn’t already exploded when you learned you could alter reality with your thoughts, you may want to get ready for it. Because guess what? It’s not just your thoughts that can alter your brain and shift those synapses; the thoughts of those around you can do it as well.
If there’s any ability that truly separates us from our primate ancestors, it’s that of imagination. It’s the root of all art and architecture, of the (fictional) stories that formed religions that now control the lives of billions—even to the point of war over which fairytale is the “right one.”
That human failing aside, imagination lets us live in the past and in the future, and by escaping the present moment we can use our memories of the past to predict what will happen in the future; ie: I know from past experience that fire burns skin, so I know inside my minds-eye that if I stick my hand into a fire I will lose my flesh. This is so instinctual we don’t even recognize it’s constantly happening with every symbol that we’re perceiving in our day-to-day moments. But it is this ability that allows us to navigate the complexity of our society. Even more exciting is the fact that this skill also works with emotions, not just situations.
The premise, again, is quite simple: When we see someone experiencing an emotion ( be it anger, sadness, happiness, etc), our brain “tries out” that same emotion to imagine what the other person is going through. And it does this by attempting to fire the same synapses in your own brain so that you can attempt to relate to the emotion you’re observing. This is basically empathy. It is how we get the mob mentality, where a calm person can suddenly find themselves picking up a pitchfork against a common enemy once they’re influenced by dozens of angry minds. It is our shared bliss at music festivals, or our solidarity in sadness during tragedies.
But it is also your night at the bar with your friends who love love love to constantly bitch, whether it’s about their job, the man, the government, or about their other so-called friend’s short-comings, or whatever little thing they can pick apart in order to lift themselves up and give themselves some holier-than-thou sense of validation when you nod your head in acquiescence, agreeing like a robot afraid of free-thought : “Totally, man. It’s bullshit.”
But it’s not bullshit. It’s life, it’s chaos, and as you continually surround yourself with this attitude, you are continually trying out this attitude by firing the synapses in your brain. And as I explained above, every time you fire these synapses, you’re reshaping your brain. This is why it is so important to spend time with people who lift you up, because your friends are moving those fearful, cynical, pessimistic synapses closer together, making your default, short-path-personality as jaded and bitter as your peers. Want to be happy? Surround yourself with happy people who rewire your brain towards love, not towards fear of being invalidated. [[EDIT 11/8/15 : I’m NOT saying don’t be there for friends who are having a hard time and need an ear or who need to work through a difficult situation. Nor am I saying you can’t be critical about the failings and injustices in the world. Positive change usually requires critical thought.]]

5. Stress will kill you.

You see, the thing about all this negativity, of regretting, of attachment to desires, of pointless complaining about impermanent things that will always continue to pass in an existence where time moves forward—the thing is: it all causes stress. When your brain is firing off these synapses of anger, you’re weakening your immune system; you’re raising your blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and a plethora of other negative ailments–as psychologytoday points out below.



The stress hormone, cortisol, is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease… The list goes on and on.Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy. This week, two separate studies were published in Science linking elevated cortisol levels as a potential trigger for mental illness and decreased resilience—especially in adolescence.Cortisol is released in response to fear or stress by the adrenal glands as part of the fight-or-flight mechanism. — psychologytoday



And if you need more evidence for the damaging effects of stress, there are innumerable more studies that show the negative impacts of pessimism, bitterness, and regret on your health. Here’s one from the MayoClinic and another from APA.

The bottom line is this:

The universe is chaotic, from unpreventable superstorms of wind and rain, to unpredictable car accidents or to the capricious whims of our peers whose personal truths even have the ability to emotionally damage or physically hurt others. And every moment holds the potential to bring you any one of these things, any shade along the gradient of spirit-soaring bliss and soul-crushing grief.

But regardless of what it brings your way, your choice is simple: Love or Fear. And yes, I understand it’s hard to find happiness on those nights when you feel like you’re all alone in the world, when a loved one passes, when you fail that test or get fired from that job; But when these moments come, you do not have to live in regret of them, you don’t have to give them constant negative attention and allow them to reshape your brain to the point that you become a bitter, jaded, cynical old curmudgeon that no longer notices that the very fact that they’re alive means they get to play blissfully in this cosmic playground where you get the godlike power of choice.

What you can do is say; “Yes, this sucks. But what’s the lesson? What can I take away from this to make me a better person? How can I take strength from this and use it to bring me closer to happiness in my next moment?” You see, a failed relationship or a bad day doesn’t have to be a pinion to your wings, it can be an updraft that showcases to you what things you like and don’t like, it can show you the red flags so that you can avoid them. If there was a personality your ex-partner had that drove you insane, then you now have the gift of knowing you don’t want to waste your time with another partner who acts the same way.

If you are mindful to the lessons of the failures, there is no reason that you can’t make the default of every day better than the one before it. Do something new everyday, learn its lesson, choose love over fear, and make every day better than the last. The more you do this, the more you will see and appreciate the beauty of this existence, and the happier you’ll be.

The point about always having a choice (love vs fear, as he puts it) regardless of how bad our circumstances are, is expanded in a different way by Viktor Frankl, author of 'Man in Search of Meaning', who was recently revisited by the Spanish Sott team to discuss some of his points in their radio show. Frankl was a psychiatrist who survived the concentration camps in Nazi Germany. A few days back I watched an interesting interview of his that can be found here:


https://youtu.be/LlC2OdnhIiQ
 

Michal

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I hope that I will not waste Your time by sharing thought that might have already crossed Your mind.
This is set up which I will explain below:
6qEqjWytPmoO6J2pTgolkUafkRjM5JLz6k4Lak0ZVrqzS8IdkRSiFh9bmMe3qhGm3kC7VgNzNek1XifQsrspqGY4ELSc2gcKmBZ0pBbe9WR8tQttcR-ZxrYmvu0tN3Z5_P95fDtAV9JK6cEJFPteml-_I2w7B9lifxYIhmm2PlZ_dBw5tier9epT4ql1iCbR7Ld2EAQapM5KICDnsXJIdqydhu0N5MZs-vcEsEF5D6ICKjv54xzQSL9ATjsu3FlCwnmFp8fuCdlMNI37klp9lYto6dxk0HjbNO1SdC6N1j8NzagFn3aKI0Klq06Lz1NfxPJ73sXN60ovgPh43wVEoYv_jGSP2pVjhfiopJf-C3GYQR1wRBVTDv7Ln6jQlXajRXl1UUZH3DY3wPXcp09hrYClXoWJ4hSDBd6-gLKOa-FMdQoDIZSKlz3cvdIbbpyCx3G2l3cd4NMtU2cN-UD6yCJT1zdrLsW89AZjXHBLZAttbhTXiW34rTgAn2G6zzk6HTLF7yuVzG78Ye1Lm4gA-wYiMQJIUB557iJqD6d9D1uztU8Fl4RkPDjEVf-XNID-dVk=w1004-h667-no

In photos attached I have illustrated this thought in some simple way using bowls and plate and straws.
Bowls and plate are states of mind or emotional states.
Plate symbolizes state which is the most common to us or normal state and in this quasi 3 D set up it just misses that the plate should be in the lowest position. Other bowles need to be placed a little higher than the plate.
Lowest position of plate, normal state, means that there is a state that needs very little energy for self (pink plastic vegetable) to roll into it. I always come back to some state which I call "normal" to me.
Each bowl represents different state like sadness, excitement, curiosity, fear, feeling of closeness, understanding etc. For each bowel there is some depth which I understand that for example trauma causes big hole and when our "round pink conciousness" drops there it may be trapped for some time in there as from deeper level there is needed more energy to leave the state. Each state has some threshold but normally pink vegetable has some degree of freedom to travel through known states as it needs to have some energy. The more energy it has the more states it may travel through and leave the state "easily".
Straws symbolizes paths from and to states. For example music, activites of body, pictures, harmony or opposite disharmony or some patterns of situations which are triggering programs which are opening the paths in or out from the state.
Also some states are close to each other and have a lot of connections (straws) which where "caused" by our experiences, what we have learned, where we have been, what we have felt, what we actually have really understood. For example for some that might be anger and state of laugh, jokes, for others that might be melanholy and some other feelings or whatever combination that might be ... ???
Some states have only two connections in / out, like maybe one neuron connecting the brain cell. It is like we had some special experiences which was like using metaphor a travel with to a distant land to where we actually we do not have to much connection and we do not know much about.
Plastic box on the chair is like state achieved by artifical boosting our energy into area which "normally" may not be achieved for example using narcotic. This one is really far away which may just give some perspective to the "real" "normal" states.
When we avoid some bowls (states) we do not create straws (bridges, connections) between our normal state and other state.

And one more thought. It is probably common knowledge that to help kids not to cry too much over scratched knee is to put them into the state of surprise. For example: (to the kid: Look! wow!!! what is that? IT is an ant :D. I just said it as an example that probably we may "travel" from state to state using this kind of "tricks".

I have used a lot of words and have feeling that this is all a lie so if You have similar though it is for You that maybe You may add something to it.
... and one more...
I do not know why but maybe You had similar thought that this above set up resembles to me mandelbrot set _https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandelbrot_set
Which is maybe just a association due to the shape.
I also like to imagine our knowledge as traveling spot of light through chambers, like in some castle, which one central is our normal state and others are states which we visit often, seldom or we avoid like forbeeden chambers.
It also brings to my mind association with Castaneda's tales of assembly point (or how he was calling it).


9OxL2KRHJivd1I0VYBRo_Z8WZlFOgQRT_VoXq0u6fL0fxl4C9Yjbca0ZRQkDyhmtk6guRfJUpxS163Ltf7e9X7hKjthKBzS4JO0Jbsbw5LxqV4daQ4HIeriCgiWfydxfhOfqP4k-G1FfLYEP1Z46-Xxyddf7oxrfkW5rBhR37kdJ_GBAVZCqmgx-Vv3JHsHolE8kOneATbbsf_DYdJYitvZOELGboP3Gz5UYQkjFfJT7NLIOCkCcOXgHp4mu_ccGvgkmQbJGmquMO-nZxC1HMrdJppPs-uuURFB3VjGgfS6pcJ_6fK2q2DdtxzOg3wV5q3N5PXw1j-yDU7_OlnLVNreKuO-amkWF-agUgfU6BTC4KlOfp-8rC8TpIVg910S0dRU1h8WPUMnJf2_hs4dymI_4hOmbhkkI6IlRwAdVxvCDoaji6535b6vpAaTarrPccwo6rzOjWcB9ZwoZwlkL4GxA94nsygi-thJq-7EPbkATx4J1ZfTiAp5hDgRWlV05CrT47MsAM80Igi9ig5IAPJxA5RZzYzHEcGoiR0faVvmP_ZbrCgaSoemiIQ0uEJAxnao=w1004-h667-no

gKkyGbOt0r56tkMC_B2c0HMri1b-YI_Hy0w7W-nQ75nXdXjgrzCpEMAA1kttgaXklXilpqQqfMRYnrkRBBnI8LK4Fpoyje0Z6u3asjy-NCNizeh-M68TJmermsWFoJtsmtfX0cpMze1qVTMVCqp2-fOwhEPeeNtdCChxrH_ZWYgYHOwYxzZpKbbREiPY4I3SZhGYf1wVkhafftN45hufS_tccS2L3qpwHOED1Fo6CW12ArTLAOOdP-zqmKFaNseUFeasFfTkFZbIThQd-S_irqRkv1iX1uvK6T84K7GJFsfgcoG8umatl_RwKyHWYiJ07SBEZ2I9K3pC8J7fyK5sC9P_Cjwg1WQei5MrE4TII3cdw98ao09nGne4Sg3vBpPBGCfGafetjOjLop7IWy6LTdC4J1gljtXOFjMIt-RI7phakAZV252lGDzBLFI-9j-dZ2LTSk7o3xzi0m94uBO_y7LMl_-iQUVKIf7j1D7_mPxPuK166QbFDf72VrcRtz9Ta7n0iaEsF-vw3tyyOw4L_QVWRfLdsT_vm-bzt_0fmpbDITNUXcQzL-c09hXLdMPglUc=w1004-h667-no
 

Michal

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
And one more thing,

I had not read all Your post Chu before posting my bla bla. I felt urge to "share" a thought again first and fast. I have read it now completely and this are very useful advices You shared. Thank You.
 
Top Bottom