Beyond manic flights of mind and depressive crashes within the body?
Here is a method based on gaining critical insight into the unconscious activity of your autonomic nervous system.
Activity that stimulates the sensations, behaviors and mental anguish of your bipolar condition. Knowing the essential role your auto nervous system plays in every second of your experience, will give you real feelings of self control.
Critical insight will help you to feel your way into better balance of mind and body. Sensing feedback within your auto nervous system, will bring you real control over your emotional energies.
Not control by will of mind, but control through knowing you can let go of internal tensions which stimulate your bipolar condition.
This method is based on three keys elements.
1. Critical Insights.
2. Felt Awareness Practice.
3. New Mind-Body Experience.
A Practical Bipolar Recovery Method - You can Feel Working Everyday?
This is not a method based on subjective theory needing your trust, belief and faith. Its a practical method you can apply during every waking moment of your life. This method is based on a FELT awareness of internal sensations, and your minds observation of them. Feeling and mindfully observing shifts in nervous sensations, will help you gain control over your unwanted behaviors.
The catch 22 for bipolar's in those racing thoughts of an overactive mind, is an unconscious
need to escape the feelings of the body and we resist the felt experience of life?
Knowledge of your hidden nervous system will change your self awareness and allow your mind to rest easy in a deeper knowing. Bipolar's need to identify a hidden threat which seems to come from nowhere? Frustration with not knowing what causes the problem, feeds into the bipolar cycle?
Understanding how your auto nervous system will stimulate normal healthy responses, takes you beyond a limiting bi-phasic response. Knowing that your sense of self is produced by electro-chemical impulses in your brain and nervous system will take you beyond a sense of hopeless uncontrollable symptoms. True self knowledge and a felt awareness will change your natural control over internal sensations, behaviors and mental anguish.
1. Critical Insights:
A, Your Inner Self - The Brain:
Your brains primary function is to maintain organismic homeostasis, a thermo-dynamic comfort-zone based on life experiences. It achieves this by extending its primary function down into the body via the autonomic nervous system to receive feedback signals. It is now becoming clear that brain-auto nervous system feedback plays a critical role in all mental/emotional disturbance.
Inside the Brain - Your Mind is an Electro-Chemical Activity?
Brain/Nervous System Feedback Maintain a Constant 2Way Connection.
The Brain's Inner Workings Part II: Cognition
Education about my internal reality gave me real control over bipolar symptoms.
B, Your Inner Self - The Body:
All your essential body functions are unconsciously operated and maintained via the autonomic nervous system, which dates back to before humans evolved. The major needs of body survival are effected via two branches of the (ANS) with freeze/flight/fight responses known for many decades.
What has not been understood is exactly how we had adapted these primitive survival responses into complex human behavior. Recently Stephen Porges uncovered a third branch of the (ANS), explaining how a limited two branch activity lies at the core of behavioral disorders, like bipolar.
The Auto Nervous System is Critical to all Our Behavior Responses?
Bipolar involves the two Lower Levels of the Auto Nervous System.
C, In Human Evolution the Body & Movement Came Before Complex Thinking:
Muscle relaxation is the prime reason, meditation and yoga exercises help us?
Our Autonomic Nervous System is a prime motivator of ALL our reactions including thoughts!
The oldest levels of the brain-auto nervous system control all our Freeze/Flight/Fight reactions. This is the limited activity within a bipolar disordered brain/nervous system, with FEAR the root cause.
Deep unconscious FEAR motivates the posture and movements of bipolar sufferers, triggering manic thoughts of escape and depressed sensations of defeat. FEAR causes habitual over use of the two older levels of the auto nervous system. Sensing how internal tensions trigger energy levels and tone your thoughts, will allow you to practice a felt correction to this bi-phasic disorder.
Test muscle tension feedback signals yourself?
Relax the muscular tensions of your head and face, your jaw, around your eyes and your tongue. Be mindful of spontaneous shifts in your breathe as your thoughts slow down? Feel this action, don't try to focus thoughts on it and you will feel the spontaneous actions of your auto nervous system. The mind gets in the way of our instinctive nature and interrupts our auto nervous system in its job of maintaining balance. Feel how feedback signals from muscle tensions fire your thoughts? Let go of your minds need to know and your auto nervous system takes over, doing the job millions of years of evolution designed it for?
D, Head Muscles Send Feedback to 3rd Level of Auto Nervous System:
Over two hundred muscles in the head & face supply feedback signals for this newly discovered 3rd branch of our auto nervous system. This highest level of nervous system function fine tunes the activity in the older levels, allowing for easy self calming. It is this easy, unconscious self calming which is missing in the bipolar experience, with social interaction far less spontaneous.
Example: In my own experience of excessive emotional abuse (shame-humiliation), I habitually (unconsciously) held my chin tucked in. After raising my awareness of auto nervous system reactions, I've managed to correct this unconscious habit. A slight change in posture makes an enormous difference to automatic body responses. Automatically deeper breathes, spontaneous relaxation of stomach muscles, more vital feedback throughout my nervous system. Previously I had been trapped in automatic (unconscious) Freeze/Flight/Fight reactions.
Once you understand the importance of head muscle tensions in sending signals back to your brain, as well as signaling others you can access an easy automatic self calming.
FELT Awareness Exercise:
Relax the muscular tensions of your head and face, your jaw, around your eyes and your tongue. Be mindful of spontaneous shifts in your breathe as your thoughts slow down? Be mindful of sensations in your toes and fingers as your senses come into balance? Feel this action, don't try to focus thoughts on it and you will feel the spontaneous reactions of your autonomic nervous system?
Practicing a mindful observation of automatic nervous system activity in this way will bring you back into a natural body/brain/mind balance. Over time a new awareness of your inner self can reduce a reliance on medications alone and bring you a more holistic sense of wellness.
2. Felt Awareness Practice:
HEART TONE EXERCISES:
Feel the area of your heart, feel the muscular tension there in your chest. As you make contact with body sensations notice any tingling in your toes & finger tips. Try to feel and not think, let go & sink deeper into your body, falling down, way down. As you let go of tensions in this area of your chest relax any tension in your face.
Focus a felt awareness on your chest, the area around your heart, let go and sink down, letting go any tension around your mouth, your jaw and in your tongue. If you can focus on sensing your heart and the muscles in your chest, you should notice an involuntary deepening of your breath. Notice any increased sensations from your limbs, your fingers and toes, any spontaneous relaxing of tummy muscles. These sensations are your auto nervous system at work.
Observation of Felt Sensation: As you continue to feel your heart soften, letting go of muscular tensions, notice any slowing & deepening of your breath. Notice further relaxing of regions of your body where contact has usually been outside your minds awareness. You should notice an increased awareness of your limbs and your posterior, with the sphincter muscle of your anus letting go of autonomic constriction there.
Notice the temptation to escape body sensations and return to a thought based energy discharge, when you try to feel your body in this way. Practice for a few minutes the sensations of coming into relaxed body states, and the habitual flight into mind of an unconscious, autonomic response, your normal comfort zone. This gradual experiencing of unconscious defense, the tensions, the habitual thinking, will bring you into contact with your autonomic nervous system's reactions and its affect on the vagal tone of your heart.
On first introduction to this practice, try for a few minutes each day to get a feel for the difference between your habitual autonomic nervous system tensions, and the more relaxed heart tones possible through thoughtless relaxation? As you go about your daily routine try to spend a few seconds now and then, relaxing every muscle you can feel within your face. Relax any tension in your jaw, around your eyes and let your tongue lie relaxed in your mouth, your lips allowed to part as you inhale with relaxed chest muscles. Feel the feedback signals from your muscles that have maintained this autonomic activity below your conscious awareness.
3. New Mind-Body Experience:
Building a new mind-body experience is a process of getting to know your hidden auto nervous system through observing internal sensations as described above. Practicing control over pressured thinking by relaxing internal tensions, brings a felt sense of the role of the ANS in bipolar symptoms. A short period experimenting with this tension release method of easing racing thoughts, will bring you into a new awareness of your internal mind-body function. Practicing a new felt awareness will bring you into direct contact with the bipolar catch 22 of avoidance of body sensations.
Resistance to deep muscular relaxation is common for mental illness sufferers and is evidence of an unconscious internal threat. Understanding how this unconscious of sense threat is maintained by habitual tensions, we can begin to re-condition the nervous system with new experiences. With acceptance that the auto nervous system is deeply involved in bipolar symptoms, raised awareness brings a new observation of internal sensations.
Acceptance of auto nervous system function by a felt experience of sensations, allows the conscious mind its craved for sense of knowing. It is the conscious experience of 'not knowing' that ensures the cyclic trap of bipolar disorder, with conscious concern providing fuel for the unconsciously perceived threat. Escape into the mind is the common denominator in all mental anguish, and it is crucial to understand this fundamental avoidance of felt sensation at the root of mental illness. Once we accept the autonomic nervous system and its crucial role in our experience, we can pay it due respect with a mind that observes, knows and allows this vital auto pilot of our lives to do its job.
Example: As I write this page I slip back into an habitual tense posture for concentration, its unconscious and automatic. As part of my new mind-body experience, a half hourly alarm is set to remind me to relax unconscious muscle tensions and allow a healthy auto nervous system response. Over the past two months of daily writing my old intense posture of concentration has softened, as I re-condition my auto nervous system with new experience. At end of each writing session I deliberately trigger my desired auto nervous system state using an NLP kinesthetic anchoring technique.
After only a weeks practice using a physical anchoring technique I now trigger my desired nervous system state just by pressing my finger and thumb together?. Such anchoring techniques are used by people in all walks of life from sales to entertainment and sports performance. In health therapies such techniques are taught as grounding exercises to help people suffering de-realiztion or de-personaliztion sensations. In all these cases the autonomic nervous system is the unconscious mechanism, affecting the changes in internal sensations.
NLP kinesthetic anchoring technique: I find an implicit memory of balanced nervous state, feeling a rising intensity of body sensation, particularly the increased feedback from fingers and toes described above. Such increases in body awareness are my surest sign that I'm dropping out of my habitual freeze response, when attention is focused through the mind too much. As the grounded sensation of autonomic balance increases I press my thumb and index finger together creating a specific sensation of pressure which becomes associated with this nervous system state.