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My Gray Matters Al Babich, Ed.S, NCC. LPC MSCA Fall Conference 2013 Mental Hygiene and the Quality of Life. What do you think is : Intentional/Reactive Life. Share with the person next to you what you believe is a Reactive Life.

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My Gray MattersAl Babich, Ed.S, NCC.

MSCA Fall Conference 2013Mental Hygiene and the Quality of Life

What do you think is :Intentional/Reactive Life

Share with the person next to you what you believe is a Reactive Life.

Share with the person next to you what you believe is an Intentional Life








"philosophy" can refer to "the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group".

The word "philosophy" comes from the Ancient Greek (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom

Intentional Life is a philosophy of living that manages choices for a quality life.






Experience (Internal and External)

Interpretation (Creating Meaning)

Integration (Register for Memory or Skill Development or Action)





The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is classically divided into two subsystems: the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which operate independently in some functions and interact co-operatively in others.

The sympathetic system is often considered the "fight or flight" system, while the parasympathetic system is often considered the "rest and digest" or "feed and breed"system.

Sympathetic Nervous System

  • *Increasing heart rate and blood pressure*Shunting blood away from the skin & viscera & into skeletal muscles*Dilating the bronchi to improve oxygenation*Dilating the pupils (perhaps to enhance visual acuity)*Mobilizing stored energy, thereby providing glucose for the brain and fatty acids for muscles

  • Sympathetic nerves to sweat glands promote secretion of sweat, thereby helping the body cool.*By inducing piloerection (erection of hair), sympathetic nerves can promote heat conservation.

Sympathetic Nervous System

  • Symptoms of SNS Disorders

  • Blood pressure problems like high blood pressureErectile dysfunction in menHeart diseasesTrouble with breathing and swallowingHeadacheMemory lossTremors, seizuresLoss of muscle strengthSlurred speech

Parasympathetic Nervous System

  • The functions of the parasympathetic nervous system include slowing down your heartbeat, lowering your blood pressure, and increasing blood flow to your skin. Its main purpose in doing all this is to reverse the effects caused to the body by the sympathetic nervous system.

  • The parasympathetic nervous system antagonize the SNS and returns the body back to its relaxed state.


  • “The system of interoception as a whole constitutes ‘the material me’ and relates to how we perceive feelings from our bodies that determine our mood, sense of well‐being and emotions.”


  • Monitors internal homeostasis regulating the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous System

Interoception Experience

  • First row stand

  • Phobias (Public Speaking)

  • Socializing (Parties-What do you worry about)

  • Interoception and Interpretation (feeling then attribution)

  • Mutual Admiration (What’s that usually called and how does it dictate behavior?)

Anterior InsulaIn humans, a meta-representation of the primary interoceptive activity is engendered in the right anterior insula, which seems to provide the basis for the subjective image of the material self as a feeling (sentient) entity, that is, emotional awareness.


  • Triune Brain Theory

Can You Eat It?

Will It Eat You?

Can You Mate With It?

Default Brain

  • Using the Triune Brain Theory, which part of the brain default during an (Psychology) experience.

Default Brain

  • What Autonomic Nervous System is engaged during Stress?

Brain Development

Human Development

  • Infants

  • Children

  • Adolescents—Its lethal

  • More adolescents die every year (23,662) due to accidents, suicide and homicide (Center for Disease Control) then all the deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan for the entire wars (ten or more years).

Comparison of deaths of Adolescents and Combatants in Mideast

Executive Function

  • Prefrontal Cortex (PFC)

Prefrontal Cortex (PFC)

Prefrontal Cortex

  • to differentiate among conflicting thoughts

  • determine good and bad,

  • better and best,

  • same and different,

  • future consequences of current activities,

  • working toward a defined goal,

  • prediction of outcomes, expectation based on actions,

  • social "control" (the ability to suppress urges that, if not suppressed, could lead to socially unacceptable outcomes).


  • Attention is the synchronization of neural firings generally initiated by the Prefrontal Cortex to neural networks in specialized parts of the brain.

  • Assumptions:

  • Neural networks are connected

  • Neurotransmitters are adequately accessible

  • “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” (Hebb)

Attention and Mindfulness

  • Brain Wave is Alpha (physical and mental relaxation, although aware of what is happening around us)

  • Brain Activation is Prefrontal Cortex, Anterior Cingulate, Insula, Hypothalamus etc.

  • Neurotransmitters are Dopamine and Serotonin.

  • Autonomic Nervous System is Parasympathetic. (Calm, Peaceful)

  • Interoception is pleasurable.

Mindful Experience

  • Breathe

Reward Circuitry

Rewards System

Reward System

Fear and Anxiety

CompassionAnterior Cingulate

Intentional Life is a philosophy of living that manages choices for a quality life.

  • What principals in Psychology, Physiology, Neurology could provide for an Intentional Life?

  • How do you do it?

Intentional Life

  • Psychology

  • Physiology

  • Neurology

  • Spirituality





PhysiologyAutonomic Nervous System

  • Sympathetic Parasympathetic


  • What part of the brain should be the most active for an Intentional Life?

How does an individual “manage choices” for an Intentional Life?

An Intentional Life Begins With Attentional Management.


What is the coalescing factor in traditions of Spirituality?

What does Love and an Intentional Life have in common?

What does Love and an Intentional Life have in common?

  • Answer:

  • A Fully Functioning Brain


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