I started to rethink happiness today, as the EBT scientific director, Igor Mitrovic, spoke at our annual meeting of EBT providers and researchers.
He spoke about how the brain's main job is to anticipate threats based on the past to support increased chances of survival.
It automatically activates memories and replays them as truths. The more our brain is filled with unhappy memories, the more the brain predicts unhappiness. Those predictions appear real, and we have the stress chemicals flowing and feel drained, unhappy, and powerless.
I use EBT to clear them. Right now one of my children is going on a trip with their new baby, and I feel sad. It isn't that I'm sad for him. I'm happy for him. He is on an adventure. That's logical, but what is real is the unhappy memory wire from my own life way back when I was a new parent.
If you do not know EBT, this might sound strange, but although my body feeling (heaviness, a bit of a choking throat) tells me I am sad, convincingly, I know it's just an old unhappy memory, a wire, and have enough sophistication in neuroscience and the EBT 5 Core Skills of Stress Overload, that I'll go ahead and clear it.
The science centers around physiology, that there are five physiological brain states, we're different in each, and we can change our state by using emotions in a specific way. The EBT 5 Core Skills of Stress Overload are the tools needed to be our own therapist: 1) resolve situational stress in one to three minutes, 2) rewire overreactions and cravings, 3) quiet anxiety and create a secure internal base, 4) rewire trauma, and 5) clear emotional clutter, including fear memories.
I'll use the fifth skill, clearing an unhappy memory. I'll do it once. If the circuitry is stronger and more dominant, I'll do it as many as five times, then re-evaluate. Here goes:
The situation is . . . I feel really sad. What I'm most stressed about is . . . my child is going on a trip with his wife and child, only six months old, and I feel bad. I feel angry that I feel bad. I can't stand it that I feel bad. I hate it that I feel bad . . . I really hate that. I hate it. I feel sad that . . . I am sad. I feel afraid that . . . I will always be sad about what a hard time I had raising children as a single parent. I feel guilty that . . . I didn't appreciate how much these memories still live inside me. OF COURSE I didn't appreciate how much these memories still are inside me because I thought I was past them.
Spiral Up Grind In . . . I am not past it. I am not past it. I'm really not past it. That's ridiculous, those memories are buried deep. That's ridiculous. I am not past it. The memories are still vivid and causing me to activate a wire that drains serotonin and dopamine.
I expect myself to do the best I can to bring up these memories and process them. Positive, powerful thought . . . I can do that. The essential pain? That period of my life was more unhappy than I realized. Earned reward . . . freedom.
OK, I can feel the glow! My JOY just came back. Just because I had sadness, doesn't mean that he is going to have sadness. He's going to experience whatever he experiences, but what brings me joy is feeling hope. He is probably going to enjoy it! This is a time to rejoice and appreciate the goodness of life.
How did that happen? EBT switched off the HPA Axis, the stress system, and the cortisol stopped owning me.
I can feel the glow. This resolved with one use of EBT, one "spiral up."
The HPA Axis and its cortisol cascade don't own me. I don't feel sad. Instead, I am happy and at peace and have a zest for life. I did something important: cleansing my brain of that memory. EBT saved my evening and not only do I feel better but I know I'm not controlled by that old memory.
I have more freedom from the past and slightly more confidence that I can take really good care of myself and my quality of life . . .