Couples Breathe As One to Awaken Their Sexy Best Friend | Marriage Counseling 2022
You Take My Breath Away.
If and when your spouse or lover hits a hot button or threatens you in any way, your autonomic nervous system revs its engine and the ego stress response kicks in – and you hiss like a snake or quickly slither away.
This can happen when someone (and when that someone is your lover…):
Challenges you or your ideas, questions your belief systems, dares you, defies, confronts you, makes a demand, second-guesses you, mocks you, teases you, scolds you, shames you, disappoints you, test you, mimics you, or makes fun of your clothes, your statements, your school, your team, your religion, your values, your associations, your food choices, or anything that matters to you.
How you respond makes all the difference.
The Consequences of Emotional Fight-Flight
The following are a few of the ways we respond when our needs are not met or when we detect a threat to our ego – all the things we think we own – our sense of self:
- Harsh or defensive attitude
- Sarcasm and shut-down
- Impatience and reactivity
- Unclear and knee-jerk thinking
- Feelings of being overwhelmed and procrastination
- Surges of anxiety and depression
This emotional version of fight-flight is triggered by your autonomic nervous system as you sense a threat to the boundaries of your ego, creating physiological self-preservation reactions. When the ego or reactive stress response kicks in, this is what your body does:
- You start to perspire
- You start to breathe more rapidly
- Your blood pressure and your pulse begin to stress your heart
- Blood surges into the muscles in your arms and legs
- Your stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, and glucagon) start to surge
- Your blood sugar spikes
Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) – Disconnected Couple-Lonely and Stressed Out
Activated from threatening stressors:
High blood pressure
Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) – Sexy Best Friend – Relaxed and Connected
Activates the Relaxation response:
Visualize Positive and healing images
Neuroscience of Meditation
In “10 Mindful Minutes” by Goldie Hawn (collaboration between her and other brilliant scientists and researchers, Hawn describes a brain as “three brains in one.”
1. The “Stone Age” or Reptilian Brain – manages our autonomic response such as eating and breathing.
2. The “Emotional” or Limbic Brain – responsible for generating emotions and turning on and off our stress responses. Located deep in the center of the limbic brain is the amygdala, which acts like a GUARD DOG of the gates of the brain. Its function has evolved over millions of years, from the time of the saber-toothed tigers when we had to make decisions on whether to fight, take flight or freeze.
As the amygdala filters incoming information, it decides if it represents a threat or not. Once it determines a threat is imminent, it will fire up and release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which unleashes the symptoms of fear and anxiety. These hormones are toxic and can stay in the body for several days. The amygdala also releases glucose to our muscles in preparation for action.
If, however, the amygdala reads incoming information as pleasurable or safe, it will relax and open a kind of floodgate that allows data to move on up to the next level, the prefrontal cortex, where most of the critical thinking occurs.
3. The “New” or Critical Brain – plays a role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language and consciousness.The biggest part of the cortical brain is the prefrontal cortex (PFC) located right behind the forehead.
The PFC is like a WISE OLD OWL that observes, analyzes, and remembers information. It is in charge of the executive functions-thinking, planning, reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making, and impulse control. In other words, it controls most of what we think of as intelligence.
Meditation and the Brain
The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of meditation have all been documented for thousands of years.
Modern scientific techniques and instruments, such as MRI and EEG, have been used to see what happens in the body of people when they meditate, and how their bodies and brains change after meditating regularly.
The general consensus in the science world was that the brain was moldable and changeable only until a certain stage in our development. “Hardwiring” within the brain was a theory that held the attention of research for years.
We have, however, now determined that not only are there no “wires” in the brain, the brain’s circuitry is comprised of living tissue. The tissue, most importantly, is reshaped again and again by thoughts, memories, desires, and experiences.
The mental training and coordination a meditation practice serves can change the inner working and circulatory of the brain in the area that controls our focus, memory, learning patterns and perception of consciousness. The fact that our brains carefully adoptable and dynamic for the duration of our lives is an incredible quality known as neuroplasticity.
The more we repeatedly access new areas of the brain in focused and intentional ways, the stronger our brain capacity to create greater health and wellness through new habits, behaviors and experiences. As One Wellness is happy to walk along side of you and integrate meditation into psychotherapy for this very reason.
What Happens in Your Brain When You Meditate?
Our brains stop processing information as actively as they normally would. We start to show a decrease in beta waves, which indicate that our our brains are processing information, even after a single 20-minute meditation session if we’ve never tried it before.
The most powerful tool you have on your spiritual path is meditation, especially a practice that includes mantras (i.e., Breathe – As One; Sexy Best Friend; Love; Calm; Peace; I Am, We Are). Meditation is a journey from activity to silence – Conscious Awareness of your true self.
Enough for today.
I will share some practical types of meditations next week.
Click here to Schedule an Appointment for Couples Therapy & Meditation if you need help to get your Sexy Best Friend back.