Well, I've got up to completing the next batch of Podcasts for the 'How to make the right decision, every single time' course.
This week, I've got the following goodies for you to listen to, from Workshop 2 of the course:
Module 1: What makes a decision 'good'?
Module 2: The mind's role in the decision-making process
Module 3: The soul dimension to decision-making
Just click on the nice blue pictures below, to download the MP3.
(And don't forget that you can sign up to get the full, FREE version of this course by sticking your email in the sidebar (if that's working...) or if not, in the sign-up box on the home page.)
The following is an except of the FREE version of the 'How to Make the Right Decisions, Every Single Time' course that I've put together.
If you want to get the full FREE version, then just stick your email into the form in the blog sidebar here (on the right), and give it a day for the full report to be delivered straight to your inbox.
UPDATE: Wouldn't you know it, my embedded form isn't working!
Instead, I've stuck one here in the blog, below, while I try to figure out what Mailchimp is up to.
Did you know that when it comes to the big decisions in life, like which house to buy, or what place to live, or who to marry, your rational brain is really only rubber-stamping your final choice? The real decision on these big ticket items is being made by your gut, or your emotional brain, and it’s then passing that choice up to your rational brain for the formal sign-off.
I know it doesn’t always look like that, because the rational brain is very good at coming up with a whole bunch of justifications and rationalizations as to why the decision you made is the best ever, even if really it isn’t. That’s the source of all those cognitive biases we talked about, back in the last module.
Let’s use a couple of common examples, to show what I’m talking about here. Say, someone is addicted to cigarettes. At the emotional level, at the physiological level, they feel they need the nicotine, that the nicotine is filling some sort of emotional need.
(Technically, they’re right, because people only get addicted to substances in the first place because on some physiological level, they enjoy the sensation it gives them and end up craving more of it.)
Now, you can take the cigarette addict, and you can show them all the stats showing how many smokers die from lung cancer, and from emphysema, and all the other nasty diseases. Then, you can show them how many hours of their life they’re wasting every day stuck in the smoking room, or out by the front door of their buildings. Then, you can give them a huge pie-chart clearly spelling out how much many they’d save if they quit their habit; and how many people they may be poisoning with the second-hand smoke – and it won’t make a blind bit of difference.
What’s going on here is that all of these arguments are being made to the rational, cognitive brain, and they’re all good, watertight reasons to stop smoking. The smoker themselves will probably agree with you 100% that quitting would be the best decision they ever made – but unless and until they get their emotional brain onside, they simply can’t get there.
Because it’s the emotional brain that’s really pulling the strings, and we first have to find out the real reasons that person wants to carry on smoking, and to frame the argument in those terms, if we really want to get somewhere.
The same thing holds true for any addictive, negative or self-destructive behavior or habit you care to mention. You can make as many rational arguments as you want to about how junk food is bad, and exercise is good, and how important it is to work on reducing your anger, and reducing your anxiety and stress, and getting more motivated, but until you start talking the language that the emotional brain understands, you’re going to be stuck at square one, unable to move forward.
This is such an important point, I’m going to repeat it:
Rational arguments are great for the rational brain.
Your frontal lobes loves all the statistics, and the research and the information, and the facts you’re filling it up with. But especially on the big decisions, your rational brain is not the one who’s in the driving seat. Your gut, your emotional brain, is the one calling the shots, and until and unless you recognize that fact and start talking to the emotional brain in the language it understands, you won’t be able to get out of the gate, when it comes to making a good decision and sticking to it.
In the next module, we’re going to discover what language the emotional brain speaks, how to understand it, and most importantly of all, how to start communicating with it, so we can get it on board in our decision-making process.
The short answer is ‘yes’ – but to understand why, we have to go to Chinese Medicine for the explanation.
(There may be also an explanation of why this is occurring in conventional medicine, too, but that’s not my field or expertise.)
You can think of the human body as being a sort of ‘liquid crystal’ conductor of electromagnetic energy. These electromagnetic impulses are one of the ways that the different parts of the body communicate with each other. They start off as thought impulses, convert into electromagnetic signals, and then zip-off to various areas to trigger off different physiological changes.
One signal will tell the body to produce more stress hormones, another signal will tell your brain you’re full after a good meal, and so on and so forth.
Now, according to Chinese Medicine the body has 14 main ‘energy pathways’ or meridians, that can be thought of as kind of super-highways for carrying these electromagnetic signals around the human body.
(BTW, a number of rigorous experiments have now been done in Western settings to prove the existence and veracity of energy meridians.)
Each energy meridian is associated with a different set of organs and / or physical functions
Each one of these 14 meridians is associated with a particular set of organs and / or physiological functions in the body. When a meridian gets blocked, weakened, or somehow unbalanced, sooner or later, that’s going to show up as some sort of emotional and / or physical issue or problem.
It’s similar to what happens when a log falls across a stream. For as long as the log is blocking the path, the water can’t flow along its regular route. You’re going to get flooding as the water builds up behind the log, but you’re also going to have things dry out and wither up ahead, because the stream is no longer reaching all that vegetation and watering it, the way it used to.
Remove the log, and things go back to normal – and it’s the same with energy meridians. Get rid of the problem or blockage, and the body will start to function properly again.
(There’s a lot more to say on this subject, and if you’re interested in learning more, I recommend picking up a copy of a book I wrote called: How your emotions are making you sick.)
How Your Emotions Are Making You Sick (Matronita Pocket Guides Book 3) - Kindle edition by Rivka Levy. Professional & Technical Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Bladder meridian and the nervous system
So now, we’re getting to the crux of your question: how is increased urination, wetting the bed etc, related to psychological trauma?
In a nutshell, the energy meridian that is associated with the nervous system is… the bladder meridian.
The diagram at the top of this post shows you the path the bladder meridian takes down the full length of the body.
When someone has experienced psychological trauma, they are often ‘living on their nerves’ – they feel jumpy, irritable, exhausted, panicked, scared, easily startled etc.
This is because psychological trauma can cause the body’s fight-flight-freeze response to get permanently switched on, causing the person to feel stressed-out, anxious and tense 24/7, which is a whole other part of the equation. This is directly connected to things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
If the nervous system is under strain, then the energy in the bladder meridian is also being weakened, blocked or disrupted in some way.
If this continues over time, or is particularly acute, it can and does result in the physical functioning of the bladder being affected, in some way.
That could easily result in the issues you described in your post, plus things like wetting the bed in children. It’s common knowledge that children wet the bed when they’ve been psychologically traumatized in some way: bullied, yelled at, threatened, scared, criticized etc.
It's also very common for children to be traumatised by watching the adults in their life fight, fall-out, threaten, get angry, breakdown, etc, even when it's nothing directly to do with the child.
How to fix the problem
At the body level, things like massage, acupuncture and acupressure can help you to rebalance the bladder meridian, and encourage the energy to start flowing properly again.
At the mind level, the psychological trauma has to be addressed and resolved. If it’s ongoing, take steps to remove yourself from the source of the trauma, if that’s at all possible. (If it’s an angry boss, that’s usually much easier than if the problem is a parent, spouse, or other close family member.)
If you can’t get away from the problem, then you have to identify things you can do to reduce the psychological impact of being in that stressful relationship or situation. Having firm boundaries really helps, as does understanding what’s really happening, and how negatively it’s impacting you, physically.
(Often, our physical issues show up because we’ve been ignoring our gut reactions about what’s really going on with some of the people around us, and how they are treating us and making us feel.)
At the soul level, any sort of meditation that focuses on things like self-compassion, forgiveness, and connecting to God in whatever way that feels comfortable can give you a very deep sense of being cared for and looked after, which can work wonders for taking down the deeper effects of psychological trauma.
Again, a number of scientific studies have now been done to prove the positive affects this type of meditation can have on traumatized individuals, but the best advice is to try it and see – because it really does work.)
TO SUM UP:
Bladder meridian is connected to the nervous system, and the nervous system gets taken out by psychological trauma. Take steps to remove and deal with the trauma (as much as possible), and strengthen the bladder meridian, and your issues should clear up.
That's what someone asked me on Quora, and here's how I responded:
The truth is that both depression and derealization are actually symptoms of being traumatized.
Here's what's going on: when people experience some sort of acutely stressful or threatening situation (like a car crash, terrorist attack or mugging, for example), OR, when they experience some sort of chronic, ongoing stressful or threatening situation (like being around emotionally abusive people, for example) – they often develop what’s called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD for short.
When the fear of being severely hurt / abused / neglected / is chronic and ongoing (as opposed to a dramatic ‘one-off’ event), then the person is said to have developed something called ‘Complex PTSD’, or C-PTSD, for short.
One of the very common symptoms associated with a PTSD-type response is that the traumatized person starts to feel disconnected from the world around them, as though either it’s not real, or that they aren’t real – that’s the derealization that you’re describing.
The ‘Mohawk’ of Self-Awareness
Physiologically, this is happening because the part of the brain that’s most involved in the body awareness is literally taken off-line by severely traumatic experiences. In his excellent book ‘The Body Keeps the Score’, Bessel Van Der Kolk describes this part of the brain as the ‘mohawk of self-awareness.’
If you take a look at the diagram above, you’ll see the five parts of the brain that are responsible for registering sensations coming in from the outside, and for effectively feeling ‘real’. To quote Van Der Kolk, these five regions are:
“The posterior cingulate…gives us a physical sense of where we are…the insula…relays messages from the viscera to the emotional centres; the parietal lobes which integrate sensory information; and the anterior cingulate, which coordinates emotions and thinking.”
When they did brain-scanning experiments with traumatized people, they found that most of these areas of the brain were completely off-line. The only part that was functioning in any small way was the posterior cingulate, which literally stops you from walking into walls, etc. (BTW, this is also why traumatized people are routinely clumsy and physically awkward.)
So to recap, the parts of the brain that are responsible for sensing the world, and for helping the person orient themselves in their surroundings etc, is usually almost completely shut down traumatized people
Again, this happens to people who have PTSD, and C-PTSD, and most of the people with C-PTSD usually got that way because they experienced chronic abuse and neglect at some point in their lives, very often when they were children.
The Connection to Depression
So now, how is all this connected to depression?
First of all, let’s explain what’s going on from a physiological stand-point.
When people are traumatized and have some sort of PTSD / C-PTSD, that can lead to feelings of derealization (as described above).
When someone is feeling permanently traumatized / shocked / stressed-out at the physiological level, that means that their body’s fight-flight-freeze mechanism is effectively jammed in ‘shock’ mode.
Some traumatized people will react with ‘fight’ to external stimuli that are triggering them – i.e. always irritable, angry, on the defensive, aggressive, in your face.
Others will react with ‘flight’ – i.e. escapism, running away from difficult situations and relationships, tuning-out mentally etc.
Then, there’s the most problematic state of all, which is ‘freeze’. Freeze is what happens when neither fight or flight worked to solve the problem, and the body sends the mind the signal to shut-down and go into a sort of mental ‘stand-by’ mode, where only the most basic systems continue to operate, and the person often spaces-out or disassociates from what the very difficult thing they are experiencing.
‘Freeze’ is effectively clinical depression.
Just to bring this point home, recent research was done that showed that so-called ‘silent’ forms of child abuse like emotional abuse and severe neglect cause depression.
How do you solve the problem?
Anything you do to solve the trauma will positively affect both the derealization and the depression, which are both effectively symptoms of the PTSD / C-PTSD.
Trauma is causing both the depression and the derealization, and once you take care of that at its root, these symptoms – and any others associated with the trauma – will reduce and disappear over time.
I've got a treat for you: I've started podcasting the 'How to make the right decisions, every single time' course, and I have the first installments ready for you today.
They're in MP3 format, so they're ready to upload straight to your easy listening device (I hope...)
Introduction: The decision making methodology that's going to change your life
Workshop 1, Module 1: Why being able to make the right decision is so important
Workshop 1, Module 2: What you're going to learn, and how it's going to help you
Just click the image below, to download the MP3.
just click the images to download your mp3!
When it comes to making good decisions, the self-help gurus (whoever they are…) usually line up to tell you that just need to get enough information, and apply your willpower and brain power, and voila: you’ll get the perfect decision.
There’s just one problem with this advice: it’s baloney. Once you start to dig a little deeper, you discover that there’s a whole bunch of things that you need to factor in to your decision-making process. So to help you sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to figuring out whether that piece of self-help advice is actually really going to help you, I’ve put together a list of the 6 myths about making a decision that everyone thinks are true.
Myth 1: The more information you have, the better your decision will be
As anyone who’s ever sat on the internet for hours trying to choose the right shade of paint for their guest room can tell you, information overload is actually really unhelpful, when it comes to making a decision.
Researcher Angelika Dimoka, head of the Center for Neural Decision Making at Temple University, did an experiment where she kept piling more information onto a group of volunteers, who were expected to make a decision based on what they were learning. Past a certain point, the ‘information overload’ actually caused the part of the brain responsible for making decisions (called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) to shut down.
Dimoka said: “[The volunteers] reached cognitive and information overload. They started making stupid mistakes and bad choices because the brain region responsible for smart decision-making had essentially left the building.”
So if you want to make a smart decision, gather the bare minimum of information and research you need to make an informed choice.
Myth 2: The more you know before making your decision, the happier you will be with it
This is another one of those myths that sounds like it should be true, logically, but experiments have repeatedly shown that it isn’t. In one such study, done in 2006, researchers analyzed college grads who were looking for their first job. They found that the more time and effort the grads had put into researching their company, industry, location, pay and benefits, the less satisfied they were with their decision to join a particular firm.
Sheena Iyengar, the main researcher, noted: “They knew so much, consciously or unconsciously, they could easily imagine why a job not taken would have been better…Even if they’d made an objectively better choice, they tended to be less satisfied with it.”
So when it comes to feeling like you just made a good decision, ignorance really often is bliss.
Myth 3: You shouldn’t rely on your gut reaction, when making a decision
This is one of those myths that has a speck of truth in it, inasmuch as gut reactions can often lead to impulsive decisions, which aren’t always realistic or very likely to work out. BUT, a study done by the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands found that volunteers who made a choice about which apartment to rent unconsciously did better than their peers, who spent a lot of time consciously trying to figure it out.
One of the reasons this happens is because it’s all too easy to fall into ‘information overload’, where the conscious decision-making part of your brain goes AWOL (except you don’t know that happened, and you’re still relying on your brainpower to come up with the right answer).
But the subconscious has an ability to kind of ignore a lot of the irrelevant stuff, and zoom-in on the really important aspects of a decision – if you let it.
Myth 4: Unemotional people make better decisions
This is another one of those common canards associated with decision making, but let’s go back to Angelika Dimoka, decision-making researcher extraordinaire, to find out if it’s actually true:
“If emotions are shut out of the decision-making process, we’re likely to overthink a decision, and that’s been shown to produce worse outcomes on even the simplest tasks,” she says.
So there you have it: if your emotions are included in the process, and if your gut reaction is also factored in, then you’ll have the best possible chance of coming up with the right decision, even when it’s something simple like what brand of detergent to buy.
If you’d like to learn more about how to make the right decisions, every single time, join our mailing list to get instant access to Rivka Levy’s new online course, that will teach you everything you need to know. NB: If you already signed up for the JEMI mailing list, you'll be sent the link automatically over the next day or two - so watch your inbox or promotions tab!
my big decision: i'm giving the 'how to make the right decisions, every single time' course away for free
So, as you've probably noticed, I haven't been posting very much the last couple of weeks. The reason for that is that I've been working (slaving..) on getting my new Decision Maker course ready, and it's taken a lot of time to pull together.
The plan was this: write the course; tell you how great it is; you buy it = we're all happy!
But as usual, my plans never quite go to plan. As I was finishing it up, I suddenly realized that most people don't know why making the right decision is so important, or why it's often so hard to do. To put it another way, the penny dropped that probably NO-ONE is going to buy this course, because they don't even know what they don't even know, when it comes to making decisions, or how it's impacting them so much.
Dear reader, I was so gutted when I realised this.
So what to do?
After a lot of thinking, praying and sighing, I got the following brainwave:
I'm going to make 95% of my course available to you to download, for free. That way, you'll be able to learn the theory, see how it all fits together, and then make an educated decision (!) about whether buying the course will help you.
The course itself will have all the extra practical processes and techniques to help you apply what you're learning to your own real life, but I'm giving away all the other stuff for free, because I know how much it's going to help you, just to understand how the different parts of your brain are meant to work together, when it comes to making a decision.
So keep your eyes peeled next week, when you'll be able to download 95% of the course that's going to transform your decision-making, and quite possibly, your life, completely for free.
Have a GREAT weekend!
As we’ve been discussing in previous posts, being able to make the right decision is probably the single biggest thing that will enable you to have true peace of mind, and help you to move forward in life and have the best chances of achieving your goals and aim.
It’s hard to capture the power of a right decision ‘in theory’, so I thought I’d share some true stories with you of people who have recently seen their lives turn around, from learning how to do this.
True Story 1: Getting back to business
Sam’s last business venture flopped, leaving him pretty nervous about starting up something new. But as the bills were piling higher and higher, he realized that he couldn’t spend any more time nursing his bruises, and he had to get back to earning some money, some how. He had a few viable ideas that he’d been tossing around, and was coming closer to taking the initial steps required to kick things off – except every time he settled down to work on the business plan, he’d get such a bad attack of the shakes that he’d had to stop and go for a walk to clear his head, or take his mind off work some other way.
This continued for a couple of weeks, until he realized that the decision to start up another business was stressing him out so badly, he was literally going into ‘freeze’ mode, where his mind was blanking and his anxiety was taking over.
If this was his reaction, maybe going back into business wasn’t a good idea, and he should just try and find a regular job, instead? But a regular job didn’t give him anywhere near the same chance of earning good money, and working his own hours, like he’d been used to doing.
So what was the right decision?
As part of my methodology, I explained to Sam that his emotional brain was the part setting of the anxiety and shakes, and it had to be dealt with before any real, rational decision could be reached.
He did some easy ‘calming’ exercises to bring the blood back to his forebrain, and get him out of the fight-flight-freeze response that was being triggered each time he thought about going back into business. Then, he learnt how to have a conversation with his emotional brain, to find out what the anxiety was all about.
Long story short, Sam’s emotional brain wanted reassurance that he wasn’t going to run out of money while wasting his time chasing after a pipe dream. Once Sam realized that he had to set firm milestones this time round, and call it quits early on and go and find regular employment if he wasn’t reaching his target income by a set date, his emotional brain was reassured enough for us to move on to the next part of the decision: should he go for the business idea he now had on the table?
This is where the mind-mapping techniques he’d learnt as part of my methodology came into its own, and Sam mapped out his options in a rational way, and came to the conclusion that he needed to do a lot more homework to feel things out, before committing any big amounts of time or cash to the project.
He came up with a bunch of action points to take forward, that would help him make an informed decision on whether that particular business seemed a good option, and most importantly of all, he’d gained some crucial self-awareness about what was causing his anxiety and emotional paralysis, and how to overcome it.
True Story 2: The Big Move
Emma had recently gone through a nasty divorce where her wealthy husband had hired the best lawyer he could find, and wiped the floor with her. Emma was left with nothing, and had developed an abiding loathing for anyone or anything that reminded her of her husband, his family, or their old life together.
Although she had a good job and grown up children still in the same city, she wanted a change of scene, and was seriously contemplating making a new start, and going somewhere completely different.
But she was very torn about the decision, and was full of confusion, doubt and guilt about whether she was doing the right thing, both for herself, and for her grown up kids.
On the face of it, the decision seemed pretty simple: list all the pros and cons of the different cities she was considering and then see which one came out on top and go for it. But when there’s such a strong emotional component involved in making the decision, the rational brain actually goes offline, and you’re left with your emotional brain in the driving seat – which can often cause a lot of problems, especially if it’s making some irrational assumptions.
The first part of the process with Emma was to set out the cities she was considering moving to, and to rank them according to her own priorities for what she was looking for. Once city came out a clear winner – but Emma was clearly still unhappy with the choice, and hadn’t bought into it emotionally at all.
So what was really going on?
Again, part of my methodology is to teach people how to listen to and acknowledge their emotional brain, which is usually operating under their radar. As a result of that process, Emma discovered that a huge amount of her decision was being driven by anger, and a wish to somehow ‘get back’ at her husband and everything he represented.
By the end of the decision-making process, Emma had realized that she actually needed a break to recuperate, not a permanent move, and was feeling much more at peace and calm about taking a few months off to try somewhere new.
As a result, she was much happier about trying out the original ‘no-brainer’ choice for a new location, and was feeling much less guilty about her decision, because now she could see it was actually a necessary part of her healing process, and not just a knee-jerk reaction designed to teach her ex husband a lesson.
Sam and Emma had two very different types of big decisions to make, but in both cases and awful lot was riding on them being able to make the right decision. But here’s the thing: if you don’t understand how your emotional brain (which is making 95% of your decision unconsciously) and your rational brain (which is consciously in charge of the other 5%) are working together, or contradicting each other, it’s very, very hard to come to the right conclusion, and to feel good about your choice.
If you’re working solely on the assumptions made by your rational brain, you’ll often FEEL anxious, guilty, scared, uncertain or angry about the decisions you’re making. But if you’re going solely with your gut, your often missing out a whole bunch of necessary information and details that ensure that your decisions are realistic, workable and sensible. So you need to figure out how to get both parts of your decision-making faculties working together, and that’s what my methodology does.
I have a bunch more case studies to share with you, and I’ve included many of them in my new ‘How to Make the Right Decision, Every Single Time’ online course, which will be available online for $75.
In the next post, I’ll tell you more about how this methodology actually works, and how it can really help you, with your big life decisions. Stay tuned….
The biggest thing stopping us from making the right decisions it that we usually don’t have the tools to figure out all the implications of the choices we’re making. Take choosing a career. Most people, many people, will tend to look at the money aspect first, and base most of their decision about what career to go for on the bottom line: who’s paying the most, and how much money am I going to make?
It’s only a few years’ or even decades later that they wake up one day, and realize that they actually hate the job they picked simply because it paid so well, and that while they have a lot of money in the bank they have no time to spend it (because they’re also working) and no-one to spend it with (because they couldn’t keep a relationship together in the 20 minutes a week they had when they weren’t at work or asleep).
That’s a great example of a ‘bad decision’, or a decision that went sour because only one aspect of the choice was being considered. Before you can be behind your decisions 100%, you first need to be able to bottom out everything it actually means to you, all the pros and cons of taking it.
To come back to the career example, before choosing to go into law, it’d be a great idea if the young undergrad could sit down and have a system that would help them figure out what’s really important to them, and what’s really going to make them happy in life.
A system that would pit the prospect of making a ton of money, on the one hand, against the other things that affect their quality of life, like free time, stress and fulfilling relationships. That way, as the undergrad’s true preferences were revealed and added up, it would probably create a very different picture of their ‘ideal career’, that would have profound implications for what they choose to study now, and also how the rest of their life is going to pan out.
Say they realized how much they like to play their guitar in the evenings. Say, they had a system that would let them quantify what being able to play some bass with their buddies actually meant to them, quality-of-life-wise, like: social interaction, creative expression, a great way to de-stress, and even, pure fun.
Once they identified the true value of being able to jam on a regular basis, then they could make a true choice about what would really be better for them: a job with long hours and lots of cash, or a job with less cash, but more free time.
By the way, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they would automatically pick the more laid-back career, but it would mean they could make an informed, realistic choice that would give them real peace of mind, and underline the importance of them still being able to play the guitar in the future.
So now, the question of questions: how do we actually make sort of life-affirming, right decisions that don’t leave us scrambling to cover our bases when things don’t go to plan?
The answer is deceptively simple, but incredibly effective once you know how, and I’ve created an easy-to-learn, practical system that can teach anyone how to do it.
It’s going to be available shortly for the introductory price of $75, and in the next post, I’ll introduce you to some of the practical ways it can literally transform your life.
As promised, I'm starting to put together some free practical resources that you can download and apply straight to your real, actual life to see some scarily fast transformations.
Here's the first one for you: My free 38-page report on 14 easy things you can do right now to boost your mood.
The report has ideas covering all three areas of body, mind and soul, and they can really help you get out of slump and get your mojo back ASAP.
Please feel free to download this, and share it around with anyone you want - the more the merrier.
If you'd like more of this sort of thing, you can sign up for the spiritual self-help email list (if you haven't already...), to make sure you'll get the latest goodies, freebies and info on other things as soon as they're ready to go.
You can sign up for the spiritual self-help email list here: http://eepurl.com/bRwnh5
You can click HERE to download your PDF report, and I hope you enjoy it!