Higher State of Consciousness

Surprisingly, only 20% of our brain is conscious. So, what does that mean, 80% of what we do is out of our conscious awareness, we are basically responding to life on autopilot. Our brain’s energy operates on default mode, which keeps the brain engaged in a myriad of thoughts and daydreams at any given time. For this reason, people often cannot say or recall what they have been thinking about when someone asks.

Our brain is constantly bombarded with a multitude of sensory input that consciousness has no chance of actively dealing with. Therefore, the brain continuously monitors every flow of information and only the most important, relevant thoughts are selected and forwarded to the consciousness. Think of your brain as being the “gate keeper” to what enters consciousness.

So, what exactly is consciousness?  According to brain scientist, consciousness is being aware of yourself. While the term consciousness has often eluded and still remains a mystery to researchers and scientists, all agree that consciousness is easier to identify than to define.  I often refer to consciousness as being aware that you are aware—a deeper level of sensorimotor capacity.

Consciousness has two levels: primary level and secondary level. At the primary level of consciousness is basic awareness—I see and the flowers. At the secondary level of consciousness, there is awareness of awareness—I see, smell, and can feel what the flowers are evoking in me.

Automatic processes are unconscious, bottom-up processing. Direct behavior occurs without much attention. Unlike automatic processes, conscious operations require focused attention, requiring top-down processing. For example, stopping at a red light is a bottom-up processing, requires little thought processing. Whereas, actively searching for street address is top-down processing because it requires more cognitive processing.

When we are able to become consciously uninhibited, our sensorimotor capabilities become expanded. Likewise, creativity and ingenuity become less restricted. According to scientists, latent inhibition limits brain consciousness. Geniuses and extremely intelligent people have low inhibition, which creates more creativity. Mediation and certain brain wave states can facilitate a higher level of consciousness and low inhibition.

Exercise:

Here is a simple technique to exercise your consciousness. For one hour try being fully conscious—at the secondary level. Become aware that you are aware. Whether you are at work, school, grocery store, coffee shop, etc, become aware of your existence—be aware of your surroundings, thoughts feelings, and behaviors. See how it feels to go for one hour without being on automatic pilot. See how much information your brain will become overwhelmed with. Use this opportunity to make conscious decisions instead of perfunctory ones.

~Dr. Debi

 

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How Strong is Your Brain

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As a neuroclinical therapist, I still find myself thinking about how amazing it is the way the brain can process things. Here is an example of the fascinating human brain. Some of you may have seen similar things before but for me, no matter how many times I see them I am so amazed at the brain’s ability.  Hope you find them interesting as well.

Can you meet this challenge?

Good example of a “Brain Study” If you can read this OUT LOUD you have a strong mind.

7H15  M3554G3   53RV35   7O   PR0V3   H0W   0UR   M1ND5   C4N  D0   4M4Z1NG   7H1NG5!
1MPR3551V3   7H1NG5!  1N  7H3   B3G1NN1NG   17   WA5   H4RD   BU7   N0W,   0N   7H15   LIN3   Y0UR   M1ND   1S   R34D1NG   17   4U70M471C4LLY   W17H   0U7   3V3N 7H1NK1NG   4B0U7   17,   B3   PROUD!   0NLY   C3R741N   P30PL3   C4N   R3AD   7H15.
I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe.  Azanmig huh?  Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

~Dr. Debi

5 Effective Stress Buffers

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Whether you want it or not at some point in your life you will be effective by stress. Depending on what type of outlets you have, determines how well you will be able to deal with the stress. Researchers have suggested that there are 5 broad outlets you can use to modulate stress:

  • Physical outlets: exercising
  • Distractions: hobby
  • Displacement: taking it out on another (often not recommended)
  • Social support: family/ friends
  • Predictability: some of the time knowing the stress is coming your way, helps you to prepare.

Guess what you could win… FREE E-Book

Want to win a FREE E-Book copy of “The Mindfulness Response: Inner Happiness Every Day.”

For a limited time, I am offering 5 people the opportunity to learn the secrets for developing “inner happiness” for FREE!

Simply email me at debi@drdebimoore.org and you will be entered in a contest to win an E-book version of “The Mindfulness Response: Inner Happiness Ever Day.

Please include in email subject line:”E-book Contest”

Winners will be randomly chosen.

Contest ends July 15.

Mindfulness Response Book Cover

Listen to Your Heart and Mind

drdebimoore

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

I read somewhere that happiness is all around us, even in the darkest of times. All one has to do is to be open and receptive. As a neuro-clinical therapist, who regularly sees clients who are experiencing depression, anxiety, and post trauma, part of my challenges have been to help my clients see “happiness” despite the sadness, confusion, and trauma they may be experiencing. And often that is not an easy task. A common response from my clients: “How can I possibly be happy when I am feeling so down?” A simple response would be: to tell the person, just be happy for the blessing you have. How many of you may have heard that very same statement when you were seeking support from someone? It is not that simple…

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Do you fight or flight?

autonomic_NS_diagram

DO YOU FIGHT OR FLIGHT?

Imagine you are walking in the woods when suddenly, you see a snake. How is your body going to respond? Will you fight or flight?  Most people will not have time to think about how they will respond; they will just respond. Thanks to an important system in your body, you do not have tell yourself if you should run from the snake. The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) regulates numerous involuntary physiological responses such as breathing, heart rate, hormone secretion, or body temperature. You are not concerned with these vital functions because they are usually controlled by the ANS. While for most of us the ANS is generally out of our conscious control, the truth is that the cortex of the brain, normally associated with conscious thought, is able to change the autonomic nervous system to some degree.

Sympathetic Division versus Parasympathetic Division

What exactly is occurring physiologically when you see a snake or sense fear? After you see the snake in the woods, your cortex sends this message to another part of your brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus sends a message to the amygdala (another part of the brain), which sends a message to the peripheral nervous and in turn this message gets sent to the ANS who routes this message to the sympathetic division. While this sounds like a lot of delivery of messages, neurons communicate each other at average of 275 miles per hour. Therefore, your brain is sending messages instantaneously throughout your body.

The sympathetic division, which is one part of the ANS is triggered by threatening or challenging physical stimuli, such as a snake, or by psychological stimuli, such as breaking up with your significant other. Once triggered, the sympathetic division increases the body’s physiological arousal. The flight- fight response, which is a state of increased physiological arousal caused by activation of the sympathetic division, helps the body cope with and survive threatening situations.

Sympathetic                                     Parasympathetic

Pupils dilate                                         Pupils constricted

Dry mouth                                            Salivation

Goose bumps                                        No goose bumps

Increased heart rate                            Decreased heart rate

Maximum supply of blood muscles  Maximum supply of blood to internal organs

Adrenal glands increased                   Decrease adrenal activity

Inhibited digestion                             Stimulate digestion

Sympathetic division increases heart rate, increases blood pressure, dilates pupils, as well as other physiological responses. After you have been physiologically aroused by seeing a snake, it will take some time before your body returns to a calmer state. The process of decreasing physiological arousal and calming down your body is triggered by the hypothalamus which activates the parasympathetic division. A shown in the above chart, the left column shows the body’s physiological arousal being activated by the sympathetic division, while the right column shows how the body response when the parasympathetic division is activated.

Quick tip: next time you are feeling overwhelmed decrease your sympathetic division response by taking a deep breath. This will help increase the parasympathetic division response.

As a neuro-clinical therapist, I assist clients in being able to regulate their ANS to have better control over their physiological responses and to decrease stress responses.  I teach many techniques to increase parasympathetic activity. If interested, please attend one of my FREE workshops.

~Dr. D. Moore

 

 

 

 

Brain Matters

Brain

How much do you know about the brain?

Quick Facts

  • 80 percent of the human brain is water
  • The average human brain weighs 3 pounds
  • One neuron may connect to as many as 25,000 others
  • Roughly 95 percent of what is known about the brain has been learned in the past 10 years
  • The brain of the Neanderthal was bigger than that of the modern man
  • Messages travel to the brain on average at 225 miles per hour
  • Humans have roughly 85 billion neurons

~The Mindfulness Response Institute

“Retraining the mind to think differently.”