At last writing, I mentioned how important it had become for me, in dealing with my dark side and the pains that I’d been having, to ‘Find the Feelings, and Feel the Feelings.’  One of the tools (we could call it learning a new step in My Dance with Pain :-)), which  I have found extremely valuable, and I am pleased to share it with you in more detail, is called  Emotional Brain Training, or EBT.  The founder’s name is Laurel Mellin, and her book, Wired for Joy, is a concise summary of the principles of EBT.  I find the information encouraging, relevant, and imminently applicable. 

This from an interview with Laurel:  “The tools in Wired for Joy are based on the new findings in brain science, which have been discovered thanks to magnetic imaging. Within the past decade it has been shown that the adult brain can grow new neurons, thus making it possible to rewire the biological pathways that are triggered when you face stress.”    (Bold type is mine for emphasis.)

I love it that EBT uses cutting edge neuro-science, and is constantly fine-tuning its approach as new information develops.  I love it that the old notions of brains starting to decline, lose cells and capacity from mid-life on are definitively debunked.  It’s clear now that it’s never too late to learn new tricks. I love it that this approach is about reprogramming stuck, dysfunctional responses to stress, and rewiring toward Joy! 

For me, that’s just what the doctor ordered.  It’s good stroke prevention, also what’s needed for dealing with TMS  (the mind-body connection regarding pain prevention), and for general well-being.  

What is the opposite of stress for you?  For me it is relaxation.  Relaxation means ease, the capacity to be present, in the moment.  I can even function better when I’m not stressed, although the old patterns lie so deep that sometimes I forget that.  The old me thinks I have to feel a bit agitated, excited, i.e. stressed, for me to get lots done.  But clearly that’s not true.  The relaxed me can think more clearly, focus better.  Life feels more spacious…. I could go on and on!  That’s all good news, and there would be lots more. 

Aye, but where’s the rub, you might ask?   With TMS, the information alone (simply learning and accepting that repressing our negative emotions {our rage, inner conflict, hatred, fears…} can be the actual CAUSE of our physical symptoms), is sufficient to turn the situation around.  But with EBT we have to work each day, many times a day, to rewire old patterns.  Just having the information, knowing about the approach, will not create any new neuro-pathways.  It’s definitely takes active attention and intention to create new wires.  

And this takes us back to good news:  The work that is required  (and you’ll learn all about it in Wired for Joy: A Revolutionary Method for Creating Happiness Within), has immediate payback.  As soon as I started doing regular check-ins, noticing my stress level, being kind and compassionate toward myself and others, noticing and cultivating joy in my life. the changes were immediate and palpable.

To close the topic for now, here are some killer stats about drug use, and a possible interpretation (which makes sense to me!).  Currently Americans (and presumably Canadians are not far behind), “…fill approximately 4,545,000,000 prescriptions each year—16 for every man, woman, and child in the country. … Until recently, we saw diseases as problems brought about by an amalgam of factors. Now, we know that most diseases are just symptoms of stress.”  (Laurel Mellin)

Let us begin to rewire ourselves for less stress and more joy.  Just imagine the difference this would make in our own lives, for our families, our communities, our world.

I trust and hope your summers have been going well.  What joys there are at this season!  I’ve been taking time for reflection, integration, cycling and camping with family and friends, time alone, in the woods, by the ocean, at home…and above all, relaxation… my version is sometimes “trying to relax’!  Get the irony?  But I am catching myself at the uptight, hectic moments, and being kinder with myself as I shift back toward ease.

Here’s a short video for you with some relaxing music.  Take a few minutes to breathe deeply and connect with ourselves!

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Your feedback is most welcome.

The pictures were taken by my daughter-in-law and daughter:  sunrise over Mallorca, and Mount Baker.  Joy!
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