The Brain

The physical neurological part of the head.

The brain vs. the nervous system: The brain and nervous system are symbiotic. They need and depend upon one another. The nervous system is how the brain communicates with the body and vice versa.



Release of excess energy in the body


Dysregulation/Imbalance of the Nervous System

When the various aspects of the nervous system are unable to work properly: (1) Problems properly digesting food (constipation/diarrhea); (2) problems breathing (keep holding breath or racing breath); (3) problems with energy (excessive/depressed); (4) problems with threat response (over reacting/impulsive reactions/delayed or non-reaction); and (5) problems with thinking (racing thoughts/destructive thoughts/fear and worry). When an imbalance nervous system persists for an extended amount of time a person can experience a wide variety of illnesses, syndromes and diseases.



Thoughts about the quality of one’s mood.

  1. Are they in the mind/In the body? They are in the body and mind. Emotions are made up of physical sensations, thoughts and images.
  2. Where do they start? They start in the body. They are mental. conceptualizations and fabrications around a physiological experience. 
  3. Are they universal? Yes, they are universal. Although people do not always experience the exact same sensations, we all understand and can empathize energetically with another’s experience of an emotion.  
  4. What are the basic emotions? Angry, Sad, Happy and Fear.



In English, feelings and emotions are used interchangeably. Feelings are, however, natural instinctive reactions of pleasant, unpleasant and neither pleasant nor unpleasant.  

  1. How are these different from emotions? Feelings are plain (without a story). They are non-personal and are connected to every contact between a sense door and an object.
  2. What comes first: emotions or feelings? Feelings then thoughts and mental formations are created around them.
  3. What role do these play? They are the easiest and simplest way to learn to connect with and hold the uncomfortable/unpleasant. Connecting to feelings allows us to distinguish between our direct experience and our thoughts about our experience. Feelings depersonalizes difficulties so that we can choose the most appropriate response for the situation without over reacting. 
Interoceptive Awareness (Insular Cortex)

A skill that enhances one’s ability to distinguish between direct experience (felt sense) and thoughts about experience. Mindfulness exercises around attentional control act as a light switch that enables us to switch from the thinking mind to the felt sense which, in turn, enables us to switch from autopilot to intrinsic self-regulation.



Meditation refers to a broad range of techniques that increase awareness, greater presence, and a more integrated sense of self. They do this by integrating the mind and body, focusing attention, quieting the mind, or connecting to a higher power. They have been shown to improve general wellbeing. Some forms of meditation involve keeping attention fixed on a sensation like breathing in and out, on a sound, image, or mantra (a word or phrase that is repeated repeatedly). Other forms of meditation involve chanting or moving intentionally (e.g, Tai Chi. Qi Gong, yoga, or walking meditation).  Mindfulness meditation entails keeping attention or awareness on the present moment experience without passing judgment.

The Mind

In relation to our thoughts, opinions, views, judgments & analysis.

The role of the mind: To provide continuity of existence and to cognize, calculate, plan and organize data/details around everyday living.



The act of paying attention (and the returning of one’s attention) to an object. 

The role of mindfulness: Skill used to increase attentional control. Attentional control (concentration) provides stability of mind and protection to allow the nervous system to do its job (role). The mind: Provide continuity of existence and to cognize, calculate, plan and organize data/details around everyday living.

The Role of the Nervous System:

To regulate the body’s natural defense systems – circulation, digestion, energy levels and chemical balances. It regulates body’s homeostasis. 



A natural state of homeostasis; Having the capacity to connect with one’s own inner stillness (homeostasis) and to allow the natural ability of his or her nervous system to adjust to fluctuating stress levels.  

  1. How do we know we have it?  Sense of well-being, equanimity and humor around everyday challenges and experiences.  Not afraid to experience acute stress.  Body able to bounce back to natural homeostasis instinctively.
  2. How do we build it?  Learning to be still with and observe uncomfortable/unpleasant in the body; bringing curiosity to nature of mind/body relationship; learning to direct one’s attention from thought about an experience to the direct (or felt sense of the) experience in the body; and a willingness to observe physical and mental habitual patterns.  
  3. What undermines it?  Avoiding the uncomfortable/unpleasant; Ignoring body/mind signals of dysregulation; analyzing experiences from judgment, thoughts and opinions; being unable to distinguish thought from felt sense; and failing to address destructive habits. 

How much is physiological, psychological? Resilience requires both a physiological and psychological connection.  Some people start with physiological and allow it to help understand why certain psychological, i.e. using body sensation of unpleasant to understand mental thoughts around destructive habits.  Others use the psychological to increase a connection with the physiological, i.e. using thought to guide oneself to see through a panic attack into present moment awareness.  Ultimately, resilience is a physiological thing.  The more connected to and relaxed in one’s own body the more resiliency they will have. Being more connected to and relaxed in one’s own body means being able to experience present moment directly through the senses rather than one’s thoughts about the experience.


The ability for the “system” to return to homeostasis, a place of balance in which the organism (mind/brain/body) is functioning optimally. This is not just a question of the autonomic nervous system coming back to homeostasis, but the entire brain-mind-body system. Resilience is enhanced, undermined, and rebuilt/strengthened through the same domains, which are in constant interaction: psychological (the mind, thoughts, cognitive processes); physiological (the nervous system as well as the endocrine system) and social. All three domains need balance and all three can be a source of dysregulation, or imbalance, which can undermine resilience. All three domains (psychological, physiological, and social) interact within the framework of resilience. We might call this a psycho-social-physiological resilience (system).



The nervous system’s intrinsic ability to regulation its stress response.



Noticing the smallest incremental changes in an object.



A traumatic event is defined as an event that causes a long-term dysregulation in the autonomic and core extrapyramidal nervous system. In other words, trauma results when the system cannot return to balance, or homeostasis, and, rather, is locked in a dysfunctional dynamic mode. A person will go in and out of a dysregulated state without necessarily being traumatized. Trauma is the result of a long-term inability to return to homeostasis. 



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