Stress is pouring into our brains, but we have a filter. The executive function, or prefrontal cortex, coupled with the EBT Tools, is our power. We can make stress good for us by trusting the tools and ourselves.

Bruce McEwen of The Rockefeller University has spent decades helping us all understand allostasis and allostatic load. In a recent article with Italian coauthors, he mapped out the difference between what we in EBT would call Set Point 4 and Set Point 5. According to their view, it's when the repeated stress episodes wear us down to the point of exhaustion, misery, and stress symptoms that the risk of disease escalates. Then it's toxic!

The sunny side

Yet there is a sunny side to this stress overload tale, as we do have power. If, after a particularly pummeling set of life circumstances crops up, we claw our way out of Brain State 5, our stress resilience becomes stronger. The purpose of the Brain Based Health app is to hasten that return to renewal, and over time, for all of us to become resilience superstars.

G.A. Fava, et. al. Psychoneuroendocrinology 108 (2019) 94-101

In 2015, when we simplified the EBT 5-Point System, I wrote the book Spiral Up! which is still available to members on our e-learning platform. That update in the skills has held up over time, but, at the time, we didn't have an app. It seemed like good advice to memorize the tools . . . which is not the case.  

Reach for the app

That's because of working memory. The brain has a very limited capacity for temporarily processing available information. That moment when your mind struggles to remember one of the lines, such as: "OF COURSE I would do that, because my unreasonable expectation is . . ." we can't both activate a conscious memory and allow our minds to go blank and reverently await words to bubble up from our unconscious mind.

The pause is everything, as it is evidence of our growing love affair with ourselves and acceptance of both the essential pain and earned rewards of life. It's more than being present. It's tolerating irresolution and seeing the gritty joy of life anew. Gosh, life is cruel! Gosh, life is beautiful! Allowing all of you to share that moment of L-I-F-E matters.

Getting from 5 to 1

A couple of days ago, I had a bad cluster. It wasn't horrible, but it was five days in the dark and cold with food spoiling in the fridge, and a sad family issue, and you know . . . it was a bad cluster. I sat in the stress for a while, as stress is rather like a tea bag. You let it steep for a bit and the tea is a lot better. Then it started to turn into toxicity. I knew that was happening because things looked grim.

I reached for the app and did a Cycle. It stalled. Then I used the Damage Control Tool . . . about 30 times (repetition is good). Then I looked at the What Number Am I? page and what I yearned for was the Compassion Tool.

I passed through the screens of  "Feel compassion for yourself . . . Feel compassion for others . . . Feel compassion for all living beings." And there I was . . . at ONE. I could feel myself becoming a bit more of a resilience superstar in that moment. It's ONLY after the deep Brain State 5, with so many circuits unlocked, that we get that feeling.

It's a brain-clearing moment

So, when a toxic cluster comes your way, you might think of it as really nasty but also heaven-sent. The universe is asking you to break up some of your deep Brain State 5 wires. It's time for the old ones to go!

And when we do that, stress is good for us. At least this time, it was for me.