by Planet Thrive member Jeny, recovering from CFS, MCS, FMS caused by toxic mold exposure
This is an introduction to the practical aspects of the how to write a evaluation essay Gupta Amygdala Retraining™ Programme for those who are waiting to receive the package, or who could benefit from a brief overview. This is written with the assumption that the reader has already watched the ideas for statistics project Gupta hypothesis videos and read the help with assignment reviews MCS hypothesis. This is my own interpretation, based not only on Gupta’s materials, but also on other readings and discussions with other retrainers.
In the very most basic sense, the goal is to stop any wiring circuits that lead to amygdala excitation and stress, and instead create circuits that lead to amygdala inhibition and feelings of health and safety.
Note: An excitatory signal increases the activity of the amygdala, and an inhibitory signal decreases its activity (towards a normal response). To be clear, this is not an “either/or” or “on or off” scenario. The amygdala functions on a spectrum of activity. It doesn’t have an on/off light switch… it’s on a dimmer dial. There is no risk of turning off the amygdala completely, only healing it back to a healthy level of sensitivity.
Amygdala excitation is any form at all of DESPAIR, FEAR, ANGER, RESISTANCE, or any need for PROTECTION. Any form of STRESS at all.
Amygdala inhibition is the opposite: HOPE, GRATITUDE, COMPASSION, ACCEPTANCE, and a feeling of SAFETY. What is the opposite of stress? EASE? (As opposed to dis-ease.)
|If you feel:||Then re-focus on:|
|need for PROTECTION, DEFENSE ===>||SAFETY, SECURITY|
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A PATTERN basically is the pathway that starts at the point of STIMULUS, which is turned into a MEANING, and then triggers a RESPONSE.
STIMULUS = Anything that you sense, coming from within or outside of the body. Odor, noise, light, vibration, temperature, energy, itchiness, pressure, ideas conveyed to you through speech, body language, or written word. Your own spontaneous thoughts can also serve as stimuli.
MEANING = This is the tricky part… identifying the meanings; difficult to explain… an example might be more useful. E.g. If I smell perfume (stimulus), I can assign the meaning of “Oh shit! Pain! Toxic! This is damaging my brain! This person is so stupid!,” or I can assign the meaning of “Oh hell yeah! Sexy! Smells wonderful! This person really takes care of herself and wants to make a good impression!” This happens automatically at first, but this is what we are working to change with our conscious mind.
RESPONSE = I like to replace that word with SENSATION, which can mean either a bodily EMOTION (such as when you feel “butterflies in the stomach,” a “sinking heart,” a “lump in the throat”) or in the case of CFS/MCS, a SYMPTOM. Gupta includes thoughts and behaviors as responses.
This is where the positive feedback loop comes in to play: the response can then act as a stimulus. In this case, “positive” is not a good thing, as we are continuously adding more fuel to the amygdala inferno.
So basically, you notice a stimulus, and/or you have a negative thought. But now you’re being mindful, so you STOP the negative thought (gently and with gratitude for the work your amygdala did in protecting you in the past) and change it to a positive thought AND the bodily sensation of health and well-being (this is where visualization comes in handy).
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Gupta created the Amygdala Retraining Technique and the Accelerator Technique to break these patterns. These involve body movements, eye movements, language, self-coaching, and visualization. Ancillary tools included are various meditations and breathing techniques. He also offers hours of instruction that explain the details of the hypothesis and guide participants in how to use the program through the many varied situations and stages of illness that arise. Many of these details are discussed throughout the Planet Thrive Gupta Amygdala Retraining™ Support Group.
There are many ways to rewire the brain. Another method many of us have been using is EFT, or the Emotional Freedom Technique (be sure to use the 9-gamut technique to integrate all brain areas; some practitioners leave this out). The challenging part still lies in identifying the stimuli and patterns, so the instructional portion of the program is integral even if one chooses to practice EFT in lieu of the ART or Accelerator. Any MINDFULNESS exercises you might find online or in books will be helpful in developing the skill of identifying patterns. Some mindfulness gurus, like Eckhart Tolle, will say that once you have become aware, you have broken the pattern. I believe that most of us with EI will agree that we need more active techniques, though we can find some comfort in knowing that awareness is the most important step. GRATITUDE LISTS or prayers and COMPASSION MEDITATIONS or prayers are helpful practices.
Of course, this is all my personal interpretation, so please leave suggestions and comments below if you have anything to add to the conversation.