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Mindfulness: Your Ticket to Emotional Well-being. Physiology of Stress.

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physiology of stress
Physiology of Stress

The stress system has two modes of operation. The fast mode involves the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)-driven sympathetic and behavioural 'fight–flight' response, which is mediated by the CRH1 receptor (CRHR1). CRHR1 also activates the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis involves CRH and vasopressin (AVP), which are produced in the parvocellular neurons of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN); these neurons secrete the peptides into the portal vessel system to activate the synthesis of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) in the anterior pituitary, which is processed to corticotropin (ACTH), opioid and melanocortin peptides, among others. ACTH stimulates the adrenal cortex to secrete cortisol (in humans) and corticosterone (in humans, rats and mice). Several afferent pathways activate the CRH neurons in the PVN; these include limbic pathways that are activated by psychological stressors, and ascending brain-stem pathways that convey visceral and sensory stimuli.

mind body treatment
Mind-Body Treatment
  • Mind-body treatment approaches typically focus on the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect physical and mental health.
Mind-body treatment fundamentally respects and enhances each person’s capacity for self-knowledge and self-care, and it emphasizes techniques that are grounded in this orientation.
  • In the mind-body tradition, illness and dysfunction are viewed as an opportunity for personal growth and transformation.
Somatic awareness and mindfulness are two key themes in the emerging science of mind-body interactions.
  • Somatic awareness is defined as the ability to perceive, interpret, and act on the basis of one’s own internal bodily sensations and it can be a powerful tool in maintaining health and facilitating recovery from illness and dysfunction (Bakal, 1999).
Mindfulness is a way of paying attention that originated in Eastern meditation practice. It is usually described as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1994).
  • Mindfulness represents alterations in how we construct (somatic) awareness. These transformations emerge from an experiential training for developing skills in monitoring and perceiving internals states of the body and external states of the world.
Mind-Body Bridging
  • Is based on the premise that every individual is fully connected to a wellspring of healing, goodness, power, and wisdom.
  • However, we all have a system in our bodies, the Identity System, that cuts one off from his source and causes the offender to react with anger, attempts to control others, and at times with violence.
  • When the Identity System is rested there is a dramatic positive shift in all their functioning and the offender “Lets Go” and moves forward.
identity system
Identity System
  • The Identity-System is a holistic system of the mind-body that functions by constructing and maintaining a thought picture of how we and the world should be at any given moment.
  • These thoughts are called Identity-System Requirements (e.g., I should feel rested when I awake in the morning. My wife should always be in a good mood. My partner should make me breakfast on my birthday, etc.).

Identity System

  • When the Requirements are frustrated, the Identity-System works in a way that creates mental commotion, clutters the mind, tenses the body, and contracts awareness.
  • Mind-Body Bridging is a simple technique for resting the Identity System which in turn resolves the fight or flight state (deactivates the default network)
to do list
To Do List
  • Please think about all the things you need to do or want to do in the next few days.
  • Now dwell on the To Do List and experience your body sensations.
  • It is not your To Do List that is creating your body tension, it is your Identity System that takes your wonderful list and clutters your mind and fills your body with tension.
bridging your to do list
Bridging your To Do List
  • Try to keep your To Do List on your mind and listen to the background sounds.
  • Continue to tune in to those sounds for a few moments and note what happens to your body sensations.
  • When you Come to Your Senses theIdentity Systemautomatically rests and you are Bridging.
two modes of awareness
Two Modes of Awareness
  • Self Referential Awareness
    • Default Network
  • Comprehensive Awareness
    • Executive Function Network

Boly et al (2008) Human Brain Mapping. 29:868-874

proposed mechanism of action of mind body bridging
Proposed Mechanism of Action of Mind-Body Bridging
  • ON/Off Switch
  • The Identity System activates the Default Network and deactivates the Executive Network
  • Mind-Body Bridging deactivates the Default Network and activates the Executive Network
which vessel are you in
Which Vessel Are You In?

Natural Functioning

Source-Fed Wellspring


Life’s Problems

Life’s Problems

deactivating the identity system
Deactivating the Identity System

When using Mind-Body Bridging people experience:

  • Reality oriented thoughts
  • Expansion of awareness
  • Relaxed body
  • Unimpaired mental and physical functioning
There are two wings of

Mind-Body Bridging

  • Bridging Awareness Practices
  • Befriending the Identity System

Identifying and defusing requirements

bridging awareness practices
Bridging Awareness Practices

“Come to Your Senses”




Derrik Tollefson, Ph.D. derrik.tollefson@usu.edu

Utah State University- Uintah Basin