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A Controlled Illusion

Do you know that emotions that seem to happen to you are actually made by you?

Your day-to-day experience is a carefully controlled hallucination, constrained by the world and your body but ultimately constructed by your brain. The whole constructive process happens predictively.

Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD. In “How Emotions Are Made, the secret life of the brain, tells us our senses have no emotional meaning, our brains are making those stories up themselves: “An emotion is your brains creation of what your bodily sensation means, in relation to what is going on around you in the world.”

Emotions that seem to happen to you actually are made by you. Do you believe that what you see influences how you feel? Actually, the opposite is true.

Do you realize that your emotions are not happening to you?

Emotions are what our brain creates to make sense of some of the feelings in our body. Once we become aware of this, we can begin to understand that our emotions are not happening to us, and this allows us to take more responsibility. We will learn more about responsibility in another article. Evolution allows us through our body budget, to either be in balance, in the black, or to be running a deficit. When it’s generally in balance you are feeling okay, you feel pleasant or comfortable. When you are running a deficit, you feel crappy, you can feel absolutely miserable. As it goes on it will affect other systems like the immune system and you get sick, or it may set you up for heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. It may set you up for some episodes of depression, anxiety, chronic pain and if it goes on long enough potentially Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, all of which are results of energy and resource deficiencies in the body budget.

Our senses have no inherent ability to create emotional meaning. They are just receiving energy waves from our environment and transmitting that information to the brain. Our brains are creating perceptions about those sensations from the body that we label emotions - or if you want the brain is making these stories up itself.

What if emotion is a perception?

Emotion is a perception, and that perception happens ahead of time. This is best demonstrated in an example. We were thirsty, and we drank a glass of some cool refreshing beverage. We drink the whole thing, and we aren’t thirsty anymore. Now it takes 20 minutes for the liquid you took in to reach your blood stream and change the osmolarity, the volume of your blood stream, to tell your brain that there is now more hydration there. So, 20 minutes earlier than the biological signal to your brain, you stop feeling thirsty. Why is that?

The answer is the same as the answer to How does a batter in baseball make a hit when a ball is pitched at him? There is no way that he sees the ball leave the pitchers hand and follows it to the place where he swings the bat to connect with that ball. He swings where he thinks the ball is going to be in a millisecond from now. It is all based on the brain predicting. You have spent many times in your life where you have drunk a liquid and at some point, you stopped feeling thirsty. So, your brain is preparing your sensate before the sense data arrives.

Did you know that you are the Architect of your life?

If you learn to interpret or predict your sense data in a different way, it can empower you to have more control of future neuropathways used for predicting in the future. Your brain keeps score, and your body is the score card. These old, memorized patterns are what I refer to in my book, The Health Code, as to how trauma, emotions, and memories get stuck in our bodies. The most current neuroscience tells us that the emotions aren’t stuck in the body, but the pathways that link body parts and organ systems to emotions are well worn, well used, neuropathway that the brain has constructed to make prediction faster and more efficient.

When it comes to your health in general, you truly are the Architect of your life in a way that presents the maximum opportunity for well-being. You can better regulate your emotions by keeping your body budget solvent. It is easier for your brain to modulate your body. If you are not running a deficit you are going to have less opportunity to feel like shit and there is going to be less opportunity for negative emotions. Everything from sufficient sleep, healthy choices in how you eat, movement and exercise, and proper management of your psychological and social internal and external environment keep your body budget solvent, balanced and in the best possible position to empower your life. That is the bottom line.

You’ve Got This!!

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