We just finished the EBT Essentials series, a set of introductory videos that get new members (or returning members) up and running with the 5 Core Skills of Stress Overload. The idea was to help people resolve troublesome issues or at least feel far better in their first few weeks as an EBT Community member.

Doing a little lifestyle surgery

A key idea of the series is to appreciate that you can be at One (neural integration with feel-good neurotransmitters flowing) regardless of circumstance. Yet buried in that video series is an EBT Brain Map with a question about doing some lifestyle surgery.

The "lifestyle surgery" aspect of EBT is embracing that although we are spiritual beings, we have this body that needs caring for and a brain that needs a daily dose of natural pleasures. Why not set up a life that makes both easier to achieve and sustain?

The natural pleasures angle of EBT is pretty simple: what feels best is best for your brain. Personally, I like animals: horses, dogs, and birds. I like cats, too but Walt my husband insists he is allergic to them. He likes dogs.

Animals as medicine

In pursuit of meeting our optimal health need to raise our brain's set point, we need a lot of natural pleasure, principally because surges of sustainable natural pleasures turn off the stress response. Off goes the sympathetic nervous system and on goes the parasympathetic nervous system.

The key is that they meet our reward needs without serving up a huge blast of dopamine the way any addictive process or substance does. That blast, whether it's from gambling, highly processed food, an extra drink, or a spending spree, kills off dopamine receptors so we need more of it in order to avoid feeling bad.

It's a fork in the road: are we going to choose to arrange daily life to get our needed dose of natural pleasures or skip that step only to notice the addiction trap closing in on us?

How many Joy Points do you need?

It's appealing to be quantitative about something as qualitative as joy. Try this: identify an external solution you use, some artificial pleasure or a bad habit you'd like to break.

Go to your EBT app and choose Brain State 4. Then select the Stop A Trigger Tool. Clear the circuit that is driving that response. Get yourself a really powerful grind in (statement for rewiring it) and repeat it during the rewiring window, the next two to four hours when the synaptic connections between neurons are fluid and reconsolidation can occur.

Next, bring to mind natural pleasures that put a smile on your face instantly. Each bringing to mind of them and each contact with them gives you a healthy neurotransmitter surge. If you love animals, be sure to include "animal joy" on your list of pleasures.

Then ask yourself, "How many Joy Points do I need to make releasing that drive for artificial pleasures easy and natural?" Then spiral up 10 times per day on your app AND check the Joy Point counter at the bottom of your app. Each time you get a pleasure surge, score a Joy Point. Keep upping your spiral ups and your Joy Points until you have freedom from the drive for that external solution.

What a great way to take charge of our own biochemistry: spiraling up and creating joy. Give it a try!