That's easy! Evolution set up the emotional brain to have a penchant for seeking joy. We humans, in particular, label and analyze when we feel bad.
In EBT, we don't analyze much but are in awe of the emotional brain's resilience pathways that nothing else can match. This little boy is in joy, but that's not too hard because his "thinking brain" hasn't come online enough yet (it will in adolescence, but that's another blog post) to start analyzing WHY he feels the way he does.
EBT was initially developed for children
It's not a coincidence that in my early years on the UCSF faculty, I was in pediatrics, and the little kids rewired their brains for resilience much more slowly.
During adolescence, the prefrontal cortex (executive functioning) develops, so we stop relying on feelings to guide our way, instead overthinking. That creates a "thinking brain barrier" to getting into the emotional brain and letting feelings flow.
Check your brain state number (not your feelings)
Once you know your number, find the EBT tool for that number and you'll be in joy pretty quickly, typically in two to three minutes. The emotional pathways are FAST and they change the chemicals in every cell of our being – stopping the stress and inflammation cascade and activating healing chemicals.
The hardest part about starting EBT is to believe in what you are experiencing. Yesterday, I met a new coaching client who was recovering from 1) a break-in of her apartment, 2) a friend breaking her ankle in four places on a bike ride, and 3) money problems. We talked for a while, and then I said, "In each of the first five sessions, I will teach you one of the 5 Skills of Stress Overload. You will get from stress to joy right in the session."
She laughed, and then I said, "But to activate the circuits causing stress, you must complain about something."
At that point, she was already at Brain State 1, thrilled that a psychologist was asking her to complain!
Be a kid again: Use your brain's natural resilience pathway.
Yet that's not the climax of the story. I told her that I'd have to be a bit bossy, guiding her through each of the steps so her brain's resilience pathways would awaken and use EBT effectively right from the start.
Through that familiar back-and-forth, in a few minutes (it takes longer when you are first learning the skills), she was glowing. The test of whether she had changed her biochemistry was noticing a tingle, a glow, or a lightness, and she did.
She was in joy. She said, "I feel like a kid again."
I said, "So there are two benefits: you get to be a kid again, you find your joy again, and..."
She interjected, "Simple...I ask, 'What's my number?' Use a tool, and spiral up!"
I like her first answer best: allow yourself to be a kid again. The brain will take care of the rest.