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inner freedom and peace

Stuff that can be useful, maybe.

A simple way to enter into relaxation by synchronizing breathing with movements. Feel free to use any other method of course.

 

For sustainable and peace inducing experiences it can valuable to first establish the space around the body as safe and alive in the present before touching on any theory or mind practices.

 

Mind alone does not transform, all aspects needs to be on board for coming home, all aspects get free together. If you relax your body as often as you can, that alone is already enough, that is a lot, and its simple though hard to remember.

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The Polyvagal Theory?

The autonomic nervous system is part of our being that regulates body processes without our conscious knowledge.

You have probably heard of the ‘fight or flight’ effect. What you may not have heard about is that this arousal system has two parts:

  • The sympathetic nervous system: activates the body ready for a fight or flight response.

  • The parasympathetic nervous system: restores the body to a state of calm and relaxation.

Both work in different ways.

The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) arouses us with stress hormones that are released by the amygdala. 

The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is activated by the vagus nerve which overrides these stress hormones. 

These systems usually work in tandem with each other, a little like a seesaw. They balance one another. One raises the alarm, the other relaxes us. But here’s the interesting part.

The sympathetic nervous system gathers information through our senses and gives this to the parasympathetic system. It asks ‘Is this situation ok? Is there danger?’ Because if there is – I have the adrenalin you need.

The parasympathetic system assesses the information and using past experiences decides whether to take the brake off the vagus nerve. This allows the release of stress hormones to flood the body. 

Polyvagal theory works in two ways: 

  1. It targets the sympathetic nervous system to prevent the release of stress hormones.

  2. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system to override the effects of stress hormones. 

Babies have no problem developing their sympathetic nervous system, you know, the one that increases arousal. Most parents will know how easy a baby can go from whimpering to a full-blown crying fit (known as hyperarousal) in less time than it takes to reach the crib. 

On the other hand, babies cannot activate their parasympathetic nervous system, or calm themselves down on their own. This has to be activated by loving caregivers. 

A baby will begin to associate certain behaviours with their caregivers. If the caregiver responds lovingly and soothingly when the baby is distressed, it will come to expect similar behaviour next time.

 

In other words:

  • Baby is distressed: sympathetic nervous system activated 

  • Caregiver responds positively: parasympathetic nervous system activated

  • If the caregiver consistently responds in a loving and calming way, the baby will develop a strong parasympathetic nervous system. 

There are two interesting factors here.

  • Anticipation

  • Imagination

If a baby is consistently soothed, then he or she will learn to anticipate that during hyperarousal, they will be comforted.

 

Over time, the imagination alone will be enough to calm them. This is a sign of the healthy development of the parasympathetic nervous system.

There are several ways you can develop and activate your body’s natural calming process. All you have to do is activate your vagus nerve.

Polyvagal theory centres on comforting social cues that calm and relax us.

IN SHORT:

Polyvagal theory works by using our body’s natural braking system. You can train or develop your parasympathetic nervous system to override and prevent panic and anxiety. The key is to get to know your own unique entrances to self-regulation, using creativity and creating social bonds that support this process. 

Internal Family Systems Theory?

IFS is based on an integrative model. The approach combines established elements from different schools of psychology, such as the multiplicity of the mind and systems thinking, and posits that each sub-personality or part possesses its own characteristics and perceptions. IFS also brings together various strategies from the Bowenian therapy base as well as techniques from more traditional narrative and structural modalities. The different elements are united through the goal of understanding and effectively addressing the different parts of the mind.

Though this therapy technique sees each level of consciousness as having different sub-personalities, each sub-personality has its own likes, dislikes, burdens, and history, and each sub-personality is thought to play a distinct role in achieving self-preservation for the person in therapy. Every part within a person is responsible for warding off behaviors, actions, or reactions that could result in dysfunction or disharmony within the individual. Thus, each part is validated and recognized as important due to its primary function. Parts may be identified as having either healthy and productive roles or extreme roles. Those parts with roles considered extreme may benefit from therapeutic work. The IFS model emphasizes the network of relationships between parts as parts may not be able to experience change in isolation.

The IFS model has 5 basic assumptions:

  • The human mind is subdivided into an unknown number of parts.

  • Each person has a Self, and the Self should be the chief agent in coordinating the inner family.

  • Parts engaging in non-extreme behavior are beneficial to the individual. There is no such thing as a “bad part.” Therapy aims to help parts discover their non-extreme roles. 

  • Personal growth and development leads to the development of the internal family. Interactions between parts become more complex, allowing for systems theory to be applied to the internal system. Reorganization of the internal system may lead to rapid changes in the roles of parts. 

  • Adjustments made to the internal system will result in changes to the external system and vice versa. Therefore, both the internal and external systems need to be adequately assessed.

There are three distinct types of parts in the IFS model:

  1. Managers are responsible for maintaining a functioning level of consciousness in daily life by warding off any unwanted or counterproductive interactions, emotions, or experiences resulting from external stimuli.

  2. Exiles are most often in a state of pain or trauma, which may result from childhood experiences. Managers and firefighters exile these parts and prevent them from reaching the conscious level so that proper functioning and preservation are maintained.

  3. Firefighters serve as a distraction to the mind when exiles break free from suppression. In order to protect the consciousness from feeling the pain of the exiles, firefighters prompt a person to act on impulse and engage in behaviors that are indulgent, addictive, and often times abusive. Firefighters may redirect attention to other areas such as sex, work, food, alcohol, or drugs.

Managers and firefighters play the role of Protectors, while exiles are parts that are protected.

In IFS therapy, the Self represents the seat of consciousness and what each person is at the core. The Self demonstrates many positive qualities such as acceptance, confidence, calmness, wisdom, compassion, connectedness, leadership and perspective. Unlike visible parts, the Self is never seen. It is the witnessing “I” in the inner world—this aspect of an individual does the observing.

The IFS model aims to differentiate the Self from the other parts (managers, firefighters, and exiles) making up a person’s inner world. The ultimate goal of IFS is to unburden or restore extreme and wounded parts and establish a trusted, healthy, harmonious internal system that is coordinated by the Self. 

Once in a state of Self, people in treatment will know what to say to each part in order to promote internal system harmony. IFS therapists therefore try to help people achieve and maintain a state of Self so they can become counselors to own internal families. This increased internal harmony often results in positive thoughts and behaviors in the external life of the individual. 

IFS is used to treat a wide variety of mental health conditions and psychological wounds. It may be applied in family, couple, and individual situations. As of November 2015, this type of therapy is listed in the National Registry for Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) as an evidence-based practice. It has been shown to be effective for the improvement of general emotional and mental well-being and has been rated as promising to improve symptoms of phobia, panic, generalized anxiety, depression, and certain physical ailments. 

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Somatic Experiencing?

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Felt Sense: Focusing

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Expertless EMDR? 

How can we reap the benefits of EMDR without access to a reliable professional while remaining safe?

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