Biological basis of personality

Neuroscience of Emotion

How Psychotherapy Changes the Brain
Zinkernagel Stanley B. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. As you expand your consciousness - new opportunities in all areas of your life open up: The Process of the Soul's Transformation click here. Changes your vibration or Feeling-tone.

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They may have forgotten the situation which originally caused the hypervigilance. They sense changes in mood, or a subtle inflexion in the voice or body language long before others do.

This hypervigilance affects every system in the body, programming it to constant arousal. It depresses the immune system. The amygdala see diagram is an almond-shaped cluster of interconnected structures just above the brainstem near the bottom of the limbic ring, one on each side of the brain, toward the side of the head above the ears. It acts as a storehouse of emotional memory. The amygdala is one the main links between the older limbic brain and the relatively newly developed cerebral cortex.

A visual signal goes from the retina of the eye to the thalamus, where it is translated into the language of the brain. Most of the message then goes to the visual cortex at the back of head where it is analysed and assessed for meaning and appropriate response. If that response is emotional, a signal goes to the amygdala to activate the emotional centres. But a smaller portion of the original signal takes an 'emergency route' or short-cut via a small nucleus of neurons direct from the thalamus to the amygdala in a much faster transmission, allowing an instantaneous though less precise response.

The amygdala can trigger an instinctive response before the cortical centres have fully understood what is happening. This is a life-preserving reflex. Survival may depend on 's of a second response. But it also means that emotions can bypass the neocortex.

Emotion can overwhelm the 'rational' mind and cause us to react 'blindly' on impulse. Intense joy comes through the amygdala as well as fear, grief and anger. Tears are triggered by the amygdala and it responds immediately to the person being held, stroked or comforted. The amygdala is like a guardian at the gate - challenging every experience "Is this something that is dangerous, that will hurt, that I fear?

Conversely it reacts instantaneously to something that conveys safety, happiness, physical well-being such as stroking or warm water. The hippocampus remembers facts from the past: The amygdala remembers the emotions that went with these experiences and encounters.

When you see a spider, the hippocampus will remind you that you have seen a spider in the past; the amygdala will tell you the emotions that went with that earlier experience. The brain has at least two memory systems: We remember most the most vivid memories - this was probably of great help in evolutionary development, helping us to avoid dangerous situations and predators. The problem, however, is that we can react to situations which are not life-threatening with the same intensity of emotion that was appropriate when we were confronted with a cave lion.

It is now known as a result of Candace Pert's work that memories are stored not only in the hippocampus and the amygdala. There are receptors between the nerves and the bundles of cell bodies called ganglia which are distributed not just in and near the spinal cord, but also along pathways to internal organs and on the very surface of our skin.

Wherever there are receptors there is memory, so some of our old patterns and our old subconscious ways of doing things are really located within the body. I believe that there needs to be more research and that people need to pay very close attention to it. It does seem foreign. However it must have seemed very foreign and shocking when we heard that the earth revolved around the sun.

The decision about what becomes a thought rising to consciousness and what remains an undigested thought pattern buried at a deeper level in the body is mediated by the receptors. Memory is encoded or stored at the receptor level and this means that memory processes are emotion-driven and unconscious but that they can be helped to become conscious. Repressed traumas caused by overwhelming emotion can be stored in any part of the body, thereafter affecting our ability to feel that part or even to move it.

But methods of treatment are being discovered that can give the conscious mind access to the subconscious bodymind so that rapid healing can take place at the deepest cellular level. Images trigger more physiological responses and anxiety memories than thoughts.

The left pre-frontal lobe seems to be the part of the neural circuitry that can switch off the strong emotions of the amygdala but not in a situation of imminent danger. This ability to switch off was essential for survival and for developing a space between the event and our reaction to it, hence our present capacity for understanding and insight and the ability to control our emotions and not react immediately to provocation.

But it can also block off memories of trauma or life-threatening situations and can be repressed by conditioning in childhood.

So it seems essential to open the circuits between the amygdala and the pre-frontal lobe if we need to access and release stored or blocked memories. It's only when disturbing memories are recalled and "discharged" that we can become free of their influence. Often there is some kind of life crisis when there is a need to become more conscious of what has been repressed or forgotten to release energy that has been blocked through the storage of emotional pain.

We need to make conscious many of these negative subconscious programmes. We can understand that it's what's inside us that makes us happy, sad and not only what's in the external world. We can bring ourselves into balance, in tune with nature, in tune with the deeper wisdom of life encoded in our bodymind system. As we do this, the outer circumstances of our life and our relationships improve. We can learn to relate to the amygdala - becoming aware of anxiety as soon as possible after a triggering memory or event.

We can become aware of physiological anxiety symptoms such as dry mouth, rapidly beating heart, sweating palms or pain in a specific part of the body. We can learn to observe worrying images and thoughts that increase anxiety and to recognise and then depotentise different moods such as anxiety, emotional identification with others, anger, resentment, fear. We can observe how specific moods can take us over for hours, days or even months and become aware of the negative effect of a constant inner critic.

It is important to take time to identify different patterns that control one's life and write these down so that there is a record of them to refer to. It may help to enter into an imaginary dialogue or interaction with it a mood or a pattern of emotional response active imagination.

Creative ideas come when one is relaxed, not in a state of tension of anxiety, fear or guilt - the fear of not getting things right, the guilt of getting things wrong, anxiety about what might be about to happen. Then the "flow" can begin, possibly because the right frontal hemisphere of the brain is connected to the older instinctive limbic system. Importance of play, enjoyment, enthusiasm, feeling happy and at peace. Positive self-image, free as much as possible! The empathy created in the therapeutic situation can affect the immune system.

The sense of threat has to be removed before this can happen. Sessions that are abruptly ended or too short are threatening to a traumatised person I consider one hour to be the minimum time for therapy sessions. Similarly a child needs plenty of time to talk to its parents about everything that has happened to it and whatever interests it.

A negative transference in therapy may be constellated when a client experiences the therapist as the persecuting parent. Fear of therapist as parent activates the instinctive defence reflexes that could not be expressed in childhood except as withdrawal and the memories of the original experience. Intense anxiety may be expressed as defence or attack. Insight can slowly release these reflexes. Psychological interventions in cancer, visualisation techniques for this and other diseases can affect and strengthen the immune system.

Blocked emotions can be released by the same methods. Emotions are the link, the bridge between the conscious personality and the unconscious body systems. Understanding and working with the image, the mood or the feeling has an effect something like the impact of an observer at the quantum level in physics, altering what is being observed.

Deeply established habits can be altered; energy released. The expectation of improvement is a major factor in healing. Hope and trust are constellated and this has an immediate soothing and calming effect on the bodymind system.

Importance and effect of prayer in these situations. Conversely, for example, telling someone they haven't long to live may kill them or accelerate the process of degeneration. One of the most important channels for the flow of feeling is touch. The way parents touch and hold their baby can establish positive or negative neural circuitry that lasts a lifetime, laying a foundation of trust or fear. This has an instantaneous calming effect and can help to alleviate and release the "paralysis" symptomatology of depression.

The bodymind is an intelligent organism which runs the whole system of integrated networks of information instinctively, responding with incredible sensitivity to what it encounters in the outer environment as well as in the inner one. The front of the cortex is unique to humans - this is where hope is - planning, choosing, formulating a goal. Laughter is triggered in a tiny little area at the very front of the cortex.

We are wired for bliss. We can choose to be happy. Our very survival depends on the experience of bliss - on giving and receiving joy, love, laughter, caring, compassion, warm joyous relationships. We can change our programming if we choose to do so. We can choose to be happy and to release ourselves from negative programming.

Those of you who are working with body treatments, notice the rigidity and tension of the back muscles, distortions of posture, whether the client is completely silent or wants to talk. Whether there are expressions of anger and resentment or calm and well-being. Become aware of your general emotional state during the day. Is it one of hyper-arousal, constantly 'doing' all day long; tense, nervous, impatient with and critical of yourself and others?

Is it one of relaxed enjoyment? If the former, what can you do to give yourself a bit of space for relaxed enjoyment? Is there any space for feelings to come in, for a different response to life? Are you carrying the memory of a former situation that is 'driving' you in the present? Married life can become a repetition of a school or childhood situation: One may unconsciously repeat one's mother's pattern of life often one of sacrifice to a concept of duty imposed by society, religion, family traditions etc.

Disease can come from two sources: Today the cellular levels of heavy metals and dioxins from herbicides and pesticides are times greater than they were when first measured in the 's and every year hundreds more chemicals are added to the , chemicals that already exist in our environment.

Environmental pollutants can enter into the cell membrane and change the shape of the receptor, making it looser and sloppier. How does this affect the transfer of information essential to running the delicately balanced systems? But pollutants suspended in the cell membrane can alter and interrupt that electron flow, causing "energy starvation," resulting in conditions like chronic fatigue, allergies and chemical sensitivity.

Accumulated environmental pollutants are mimicking and disrupting the action of our sex hormones - estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Environmental toxins have estrogen-like effects and bind to estrogen receptors where they can stimulate breast cancer tumors. DDT and dioxin for instance, have an estrogen-like effect.

Similarly various toxins can act like testosterone in the male body and stimulate prostate cancer. The receptors are put into a state of overdrive. Another side-effect of these excess hormones is male infertility. People's overall state of health today is a direct reflection of the ecological mess we've inflicted on our planet, a mess that has been created in blind ignorance and disregard for the essential relatedness of all life. How can we expect to be healthy when our water is full of chemicals, our air polluted by industrial waste and our food contaminated by pesticides?

We are an integral part of the Earth's ecosystem and what we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves. Look at the quality of the food you are buying and giving your family.

Everything we eat has an effect on the bodymind system. We are what we eat. If you are thinking of starting a baby, give yourself at least six months to prepare your body, giving up alcohol and smoking, eating as much organic food, particularly fruit and vegetables as possible, going out for air and exercise, breathing deeply.

The Limbic System The Autonomic and Endocrine and Immune elements of the Limbic system continually interact with each other forming what is basically one organic unit.

Because of this connection, spontaneous cures may be triggered by intense emotion, which can cause a sudden physical change at the molecular level. Tears of sorrow, sensations of joy, all flow from feelings or emotions. Creative ideas may also originate with feeling and emotion.

All are rooted in the Limbic system. Seminar 1 click here. Seminar 2 click here. Seminar 3 click here. Seminar 4 click here. Seminar 4A click here. Seminar 5 click here. Seminar 6 click here. Seminar 7 click here. Seminar 8 this page. Seminar 9 click here. Seminar 10 click here. Seminar 11 click here.

Seminar 12 click here. Seminar 13 click here. What is the Soul? The Origins of the Concept of Soul click here. The Myth of the Fall click here. The Roots of Depression click here. The Care of the Child click here. Integrating the Archaic Psyche and the Shadow click here.

Rebalancing the Masculine and the Feminine click here. Base Metal into Gold: The Process of the Soul's Transformation click here. Individual Soul, Cosmic Soul and Spirit click here. They actually remove toxins from our body that build up courtesy of stress. They are like a natural therapy or massage session, but they cost a lot less! Do you know what your manganese level is?

No, neither do I. And just like with the toxins I mentioned in my last point, emotional tears contain 24 percent higher albumin protein concentration—responsible for transporting many small molecules which has to be a good thing, right?

Tears really are like perspiration in that exercising and crying both relieve stress. In his article, Bergman explains that tears remove some of the chemicals built up in the body from stress , like the endorphin leucine-enkaphalin and prolactin, the hormone I overproduce because of my pituitary tumor that affects my mood and stress tolerance. The opposite is true too. Tears help communication and foster community.

Sometimes they gather inside the limbic system of the brain and in certain corners of the heart. It lets the devils out before they wreak all kind of havoc with the nervous and cardiovascular systems. We need to stomp and storm; to sob and cry; to perspire and tremble.

You may find her at ThereseBorchard.

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