Posts Tagged ‘Attitude’

“The mind uses the brain to make the mind.”

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“Mental activity and neural activity thus affect each other.

Causes flow both ways, from the mind into the brain….and from the brain into the mind.

The mind and brain are two distinct aspects, integrated system.

As the interpersonal neurobiologist Dan Siegel summarizes it,

The mind uses the brain to make the mind.”

From Rick Hanson

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My two cents: The brain can be seen, touched, the mind can not.

The more we learn how the mind operates, the more our path towards happiness is illuminated.

I have found myself lost, off my spiritual journey.

Now, my path switches to building my concentration intensely, hooking up with that spiritual Marty, the one with much less Ego and much more gratitude and giving.

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Looking back, assessing the arduous journey

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For some of us abuse started around five, way before a little mind had developed. I did not have the skills to even discern it was abuse. Criticism replaced encouragement, achievement was expected not rewarded.

I thought everyone was raised like me. Perfection was demanded of all kids and met with harsh physical punishment when it was not attained.

Fear, anxiety and a stomach that ached and was prone to vomiting often followed me. Never figured out, it was my abuse that was the culprit. My nervous system was in survival mode quite often.

Everyday life had real danger, verbal threats, physical harm and suffering.

I was shocked to find other kids had a much different experience.

They could not relate to me and I sure as hell had no idea what love, support and kindness looked like. I did not fit in at home or school.

Looking back, it seemed I needed to suffer a tremendous amount in my life before death would grace my door.

One of the biggest joys of my life was healing (improving) the first time.

For two years life was free of intense anxiety and suffering.

At 68, I see I fought a lifetime to earn two short years. But those two years meant everything to me, a magnificent triumph.

Now another trauma has returned and upset the delicate balance between suffering and being free.

In spite of my plight, I meditate and practice as hard as ever.

For my life, I had to find some peace of mind, some happiness in my ability to endure my suffering and not slack off my effort.

That was happiness for me.

Happiness is much different for me than normal kids.

I have gratitude because I know other kids had it much worse than me.

Self pity is something I loathe and rarely practice.

This recent trauma has clarified why I am like I am.

It was not easy to sit and accept everything about myself.

How about your journey and challenges?

Never give up, never give in.

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Trauma froze my mind at times

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When my mind was frozen from multiple eruptions of my fight or flight mechanism, life seemed out of control, suffering was a daily companion.

An enormous pull, one reinforced by the sensing of imminent danger, powered by secretions of cortisol and adrenaline, supported by a biased storyline, draws us toward avoiding.

At first as a new chronic pain sufferer and when PTSD erupted at 55, I isolated from the crowd and felt damaged.

It takes a while for us to understand the enemy (challenge) and there is an all out war to be waged.

I love that image of waging war with Trauma. It sure felt like a war, I sure as hell felt mortally wounded mentally.

Waging war with trauma meant surrendering to its power while sitting quietly, focused while observing all the body sensations.

A different war, where we lay prone, vulnerable, exploring our traumas without judgment.

The road less traveled of course.

Part of our battle plan: Always incorporate your strengths in every endeavor you undertake. I was a former pro athlete, a typical gym rat, an athletic grinder.

My ability to make my body take action in the face of danger or pain was a great asset, a vehicle used to accelerate healing.

The ability to hike uphill to exhaustion, showered me with enormous reward. Even though my mind had betrayed me, frozen and terrified, I could push my body through pain and fear like a locomotive.

What a contrast to shaking uncontrollably, filled with cortisol, avoiding triggers, suffering, compared to exhilaration and accomplishment.

Whether it was the prison of chronic pain or Complex PTSD’s stress hormones (cortisol, Norepinephrine and adrenaline) the skill to take action, especially strenuous aerobic exercise was invaluable.

You do not have to be coordinated or athletic, all you need is the will to push your body strenuously.

Chronic pain and PTSD are usually isolating and depressing ways of life.

Adopt a sedentary lifestyle and you will suffer.

The ability to take daily action is the one trait I see shared by those who improve that I mentor.

Incorporate Strenuous aerobic exercise three times a week.

Our toxins and poisons are flushed from our system during strenuous aerobic exercise.

Cortisol is dissipated calming our nervous system. We are mechanically eating up cortisol, giving us a much needed break.

We need wins over PTSD when it is at its apex of power.

Use your body to energize your mind.

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Updated: PTSD: Can we ever be happy?

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Being abused in childhood, impacted my mind permanently. I am not saying this abuse rules my mind but it will at least lay dormant until I die.

 

Happiness was impossible, imminent danger lived inside my home and I was his only target.

 

Survival and shame dominated my thoughts, helped formulate my unworthy self image and destroyed my nervous system.

 

I always knew something was wrong, like I was flawed, unworthy, not like other people.

 

Then one day in my 50’s a family crisis ignited my childhood trauma. It was alive, bringing that terrifying jolt to my solar plexus, cortisol and adrenaline, PTSD’s scare drugs.

 

Took me 6 years to heal or improve, for the suffering to curtail and life to have a little lightness, some contentment.

 

When I improved or healed, the suffering dissipated, the intrusive thoughts lost power without attention.

 

For 60 years I enjoyed momentary joy from accomplishments, however happiness was a stranger.

 

To heal or improve, I had dedicated five hours a day to meditating and healing.

 

On this journey, while entering into mundane tasks, (a mindful practice) I found happy moments.

 

Moments free of any deadline or time apparatus, where thought had curtailed, where things unfolded naturally.

 

These moments calmed my being beyond any prior feeling.

 

Looking at nature one day, I saw perfection, was it out of body or was I just one with it?

 

I believe if I can find some happiness, then you can also.

 

It is not easy, it takes courage and daily action.

 

Thoughts?

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The emotional Brain has first dibs on incoming information

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From The Body Keeps the Score:

The emotional brain has first dibs on interpreting incoming information.

Sensory Information about the environment and body state received by the eyes, ears, touch, kinesthetic sense, etc., converges on the thalamus, where it is processed, and then passed on to the amygdala to interpret its emotional significance.

This occurs with lightning speed.

If a threat is detected the amygdala sends messages to the hypothalamus to secrete stress hormones to defend against that threat.

The neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux calls this “the low road.

The second neural pathway, the high road, runs from the thalamus, via the hippocampus and anterior cingulate, to the prefrontal cortex, the rational brain, for a conscious and much more refined interpretation.

This takes several microseconds longer.

If the interpretation of threat by the amygdala is too intense, and/or the filtering system from the higher areas of the brain are too weak, as often happens in PTSD, people lose control over automatic emergency responses, like prolonged startle or aggressive outbursts.

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Our Smoke Detector: From The Body Keeps the Score:

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The central function of the amygdala, which I call the brain’s smoke detector, is to identify whether incoming input is relevant for our survival.

It does so quickly and automatically, with the help of feedback from the hippocampus, a nearby structure that relates the new input to past experiences.

If the amygdala senses a threat—a potential collision with an oncoming vehicle, a person on the street who looks threatening—it sends an instant message down to the hypothalamus and the brain stem, recruiting the stress-hormone system and the autonomic nervous system (ANS) to orchestrate a whole-body response.

Because the amygdala processes the information it receives from the thalamus faster than the frontal lobes do, it decides whether incoming information is a threat to our survival even before we are consciously aware of the danger.

By the time we realize what is happening, our body may already be on the move.

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Looking back, my improvements always involved some extra pain that needed to be endured to move forward.

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Affirmation: In this moment right now, I feel my body overflowing with approval, safety and kindness

Record, repeat, use it to replace thoughts and unrest.

When intrusive thoughts arrive substitute saying your mantra.

Our mind can only handle one of these thoughts, the trauma one or our affirmation.

Change your self image this way.

I sat in a chair at the bathroom mirror, as I repeated that mantra, outloud over and over.

Awkward and uncomfortable does not approach my feelings in front of that mirror.

I persisted though knowing a reward would be waiting for my effort.

Looking back, my improvements all involved some extra pain that needed to be endured to move forward.

Limit the amount of time you spend in thought, in the past, in the center of worry and doubt.

When we are aware of what our mind focuses on, an opportunity, a choice appears for us.

We choose to get lost in thought or stay present with our developed skills.

We start to heal at this base level by choosing to recite our mantra, or concentrating on an object or distracting the mind to healthier places.

Choose to spend your time in the present moment doing something you are aware of.

Enter into the mundane chores. Discover the purpoas for doing something and then surrender to the good in the action.

I healed or improved not only from sitting in meditation for many hours, but from the application of being present with an awareness where my mind focused.

We can direct where the mind focuses its attention, maybe we could use this power to be happy.

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Traumatic Stress Disorder Fact Sheet

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From Sidran Institute: Traumatic Stress Education and Advocacy

Facts at a Glance

▪ An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

▪ An estimated 5 percent of Americans—more than 13 million people—have PTSD at any given time.

▪ Approximately 8.7 percent of all adults—1 of 13 people in this country—will develop PTSD during their lifetime.

▪ About 3.6% of adults in the United States suffer from PTSD during the course of a year.

▪ An estimated 1 out of 9 women will get PTSD at some time in their lives. Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.

Extreme Trauma and PTSD

▪ PTSD may develop following exposure to extreme trauma.

▪ Extreme trauma is a terrifying event or ordeal that includes actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence

▪ Exposure includes directly experienced or witnessing the trauma, learning about a close family or friend experiencing a violent or accidental event, or has experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of a traumatic event

The stress caused by trauma can affect all aspects of a person’s life including mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

My two cents: The other kind of PTSD not listed, is Complex PTSD.

Complex PTSD develops because of repeated traumas over a long period of time.

An entire childhood of abuse is more complex then a simple event.

For added harm, the mind is not develop when the abuse takes place.

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PTSD Distorts time

Harrison Ford may have gotten on the marquee ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ but the snake wranglers helped get him in and out of the Well of Souls safely. (Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM)

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People do not understand the mechanism of trauma, it’s abilty to bring a PTSD implicit memory back to life.

Sometimes a decades old memory can explode.

It feels like it just happened, strong emotions flow from our bodies.

Our fight or flight mechanism is likely activated.

Cortisol and adrenaline are secreted, bp, respiration and heart rate spike. Blood coagulants and opioids enter our system, preparing us for a lethal threat.

Tunnel vision, loss of fine motor skills and the inability to think clearly increase our fear and anxiety.

Fight, flight or freeze are the usual choices we face in the present moment. The cortisol and adrenaline are secreted and felt in present time.

For our adrenal stress mechanism to fire, we sense imminent danger.

I have had friends laugh at me when a trigger exploded. We do not control what our PTSD erupts over.

It happens without our permission, when it decides and where.

If they only knew, how pissed off that made me.

I digress.

Cognitively, I understood my triggers were not dangerous however my nervous system thought it spotted a lethal threat.

I thought the threat was about my ego being extinguished.

Our PTSD fear resembles the scariest thing we dread. “In Raiders of the Lost Ark” it was a floor full of snakes.

Expect people to say ignorant, hurtful things at times to you. They can not fathom the degree of suffering and terror that is involved.

My sister told me to just get over it. My other brothers and sisters deny my reality entirely. Lots of dysfunctional things happening within an abusive family.

The healing path can be lonely at times with us being criticized by family and friends.

These are challenges that few realize or talk about.

On my path, I had to ignore the noise of others on top of dealing with the constant intrusive thoughts.

No way I could explain the fear and anxiety, PTSD brings to our being.

Words are useless, experiencing a nervous system turned upside down, erupting 15 times a day, can not be known with a description.

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Living in the past with PTSD

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From Coping with Trauma Related dissociation.

” While the part of the personality that copes with daily life is avoidant, at least one other and usually more than one other part remain stuck in traumatic memories and think, feel, and behave as though these events are still happening (at least to a degree) or about to happen again.

These parts are usually stuck in repeating behaviors that are protective during threat, even when they are not appropriate.

For example, some parts fight to protect even when you do not need such protection in the present, others want to avoid or run away even though you are safe, some freeze in fear, and others completely collapse.

These parts are often highly emotional, not very rational, limited in their thinking and perceptions, not oriented to the present time, and are overwhelmed.

They primarily live in trauma time, that is, they continue to experience the traumatic past as the resent, and hold emotions, beliefs, sensations, and so forth that are related to traumatic experiences.”

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My two cents: This was the final piece that explained what was happening to me.

It took many meditative sits to uncover what parts were stuck.

It is like living in a big rowboat with few oars not in sync or rowing the opposite direction.

These stuck parts were sabotaging my recovery.

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