Our genetic heritage has prepared us for instant fight or flight. This well known phenomenon produces behaviors that can range from incredible to destructive. Downshifting puts our system into a “do it now” mode. When we are Downshifted in reaction to a perceived environmental threat, we receive a chemical dump that gives us a burst of energy to handle a crises. We have the means to “do it now” and we lose access to our rational brain, the neocortex. The chemical cocktail we receive doesn’t vanish with the threat, but can remain in the body for up several hours.
The Downshift changes our physiology. We can experience selective hearing, called auditory exclusion. Our visual field can narrow and sharply focus on a threat. Because the intense concentration produces a blast of data, it “feels” like time slows down. Our large muscles are given a shot of energy and we lose fine motor coordination.
The challenge is to manage the Downshift which happens at critical times in our lives. We have several Mind Muscles™ exercises that manage and use the Downshift to our benefit.
Mind Muscles™ represents the process of creating new neural structures or Nemes. Because of Neuroplasticity, our brains are able to create new neural connections that can become new neural structures that exhibit persistence with repeated use. With the use of Simulation, our clients can build new Nemes that did not exist before.
Once created, the new pathways can produce an experience that may be preferred over the old ones if they feel better in the moment, are aligned with our identity and get us to where we want to go. Mind Muscles™ exercises are designed to create new Nemes that work better for us than the ones they replace and make our lives work better.
We all are familiar with “Genes”. Genes contain the replicable information that build and maintain an organism’s cells and can be passed on to offspring. “Memes” was coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 to explain the spread of ideas and cultural beliefs. “Nemes”, coined by Richard Friesen in 2009, continue this tradition of replicable information not as genetic material, nor cultural ideas, but replicable and repeatable complex structures in the brain. NEMES can have multiple functions such as survival, security and pain avoidance.
Nemes are created as a way to manage our perceived environment by structuring our map of reality, our beliefs and behaviors. Some foundational Nemes were created when we were dependent and our grasp of reality was limited and we experienced very few other options. The earlier they were created and the greater the survival threat that stimulated their birth, the deeper their pattern is rooted in our lives.
The Nemes then replicate and apply themselves to many areas of our identity and behaviors as we grow up. They shape the information we retain which supports our beliefs and triggers repeated behaviors that may no longer be useful to us. Because Nemes are so integrated into our neurological fabric, we experience Nemes not as brain structures but as indistinguishable from ourselves.
How this works is that a sequence of stimuli activates a series of neural connections. Each group of neural stimuli is activated with a spiking of that neural group. When groups spike in the same sequence over and over again, an amazing thing happens. Neurons that fire together, wire together. They become a synaptic chain. And a Neme is born with repeated use. Even if the stimuli that causes a spike in neural groups has no relationship, they are now connected.
The good news is that because of Neuroplasticity, we can create new Nemes. When done intentionally, we call these “Mind Muscles™ .” Mind Muscles™ we create serve us better than the original Nemes we want to replace.
One type of Neural Meta Structure (Neme) is the Pain Neme. Pain leave a memory trace in our central nervous system. This trace memory magnifies similar subsequent pain inputs. It is now believed that the memory of pain at the neuronal level is a key to chronic pain development. Recent studies at McGill University show the protein kinase PKMzeta plays an important role by strengthening the connections between specific neurons.
These are parts of ourselves, specialized Nemes, that have developed from an early age to protect us against threats to our well being and survival. When we created them, we had few options and these Security Guards were the best choices that were available to us. Since these guards are neurological structures that have been wired to our survival mechanism, they are very difficult to dislodge with brute force because that part of us is there to insure we are breathing!
We have to understand their positive intention for us and then to work WITH them to secure our safety. Security Guards don’t care about our quality of life. They don’t care if we are happy or depressed. They don’t care about love, joy or meaning in life. They check for one check for one thing – physical life. Are we breathing? Is our heart beating? Is there oxygen to the brain? If the answer is “yes” to these questions, they are doing their job.
Neuroplasticity represents the ability of the brain and nervous system to change both functionally and structurally with input from the environment and conscious creation of new neural pathways. Neuroplasticity occurs under several conditions. The most dramatic changes occur during normal brain development when an infant begins to process sensory information.
The rapid change slows with age. The ability of the brain to change itself is demonstrated with brain injury, when functional areas of brain activity are shifted to compensate for damage. But most importantly to us as humans, neuroplasticity give us the ability to improve our lives by creating new neural structures (Nemes) consciously.
We all are familiar with “Genes.” Genes contain the replicable information that build and maintain an organism’s cells and can be passed on to offspring. “Memes” was coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 to explain the spread of ideas and cultural beliefs.
“NEMES” coined by Richard Friesen in 2009 continue this tradition of replicable information not as genetic material, nor cultural ideas, but replicable and repeatable complex structures in the brain.We create internal neural structures (NEMES) that replicate in our brain that give structure to our reality. We then create mirrored structures in reality that Richard Friesen coined as REMES (Reality Meta Structures).
We attract people who support our NEMES. We select jobs and a lifestyle that preserves our NEMES. And if this doesn’t have the effect we want we train those in our communities, family and friends to support our NEMES. We actually replicate our internal NEMES in our external environment. When we are ready to create new NEMES that serve us better, we find that the REMES we have created are resistant to any changes. Thus, not only do we need to develop new internal neural complexes (Mind Muscles™) but we also need to deal with an environment that is attached to our old NEMES.
A Simulator is a structured environment that produces a new experience designed to feel better in the moment, is in alignment with our identity and gets us to where we want to go. Much like commercial airline pilots use simulators to learn to manage a number of challenging flight environments, Mind Muscle™ Simulators give the user a low risk sandbox to create different personal environments and find successful results. Just like the pilot who successfully manages a difficult gusty crosswind landing time after time in a flight simulator, the structured environment of a Mind Muscles™ simulator allows the creation and strengthening of new neurological connections or Mind Muscles™.
A Zip Line is a quick way to experience a new behavior and its destination without a lot of discipline or effort. Because it is “quick and dirty” it is also ephemeral. Just like getting a string across a canyon that can pull a cord that can pull a rope that can pull a cable, this neurological short cut is able to create the neurological pathways that can be repeated and strengthened with time giving the new behavior persistence. The value of the Zip Line is that it gives the user the experience of what it is like to be on the other side and that there is a path to getting there. This process is used in the design of Mind Muscles™ e-simulations.