Is The Gut More Powerful Than The Brain?
Love this little piece about the:
- gut (sensing),
- heart (emotions) and
- head (thinking) brains.
This sequence follows how the brain in our head evolves:
- we develop sensing first in the brainstem,
- then emotions in our limbic brain,
- then thinking in our frontal cortex.
The gut is our biggest source of information, filtering this information up through our heart and finally through our head.
You can also find the video here on Facebook:
How does it feel to consider your intellect as merely a filter for the wisdom of your gut and your heart?
Mindful Monsters: Emotions and the Vagus Nerve
This is a neat little video that briefly explains how the vagus nerve communicates sensations and how interoception helps us be with these sensations skillfully through affectionate awareness.
How useful might the “sacred pause” throughout the day, that allows you to notice how you are feeling, be for you in your self-regulation practice?
How useful do you think rating your body signals from 1 to 10 might be after you’ve taken that pause?
Bodily maps of emotions
This paper explores maps of bodily sensations associated with different emotions. Interoception is the ability to notice where our emotions are, and it seems there are some similarities between people in a similar demographic around where particular emotions are felt in the body.
When you look at the maps of emotions on the second page of this paper, are there body signals that you recognize that go with your own emotions?
Where are there differences between where you feel emotions and where they are indicated on the maps?
We’ve Lost Touch with Our Bodies
This article explores the notion that our modern lifestyle has contributed to our lack of interoceptive awareness. It then offers suggestions for how we might use modern technology to help us regain a connection with our body and increase our interoceptive awareness.
“In this age of disembodiment, learning to attend to signals from within could thus reconnect long-lost networks of perception that used to root us to the world, to inform our experience of love, affection, belonging and coherence with our environment. We perhaps need that now more than ever.”
If you’ve been developing a mindfulness or bodyfulness (awareness of your body from your body’s perspective rather than through the lens of your conceptual brain) practice, have you noticed that you are becoming more aware of your body signals?
If you haven’t been developing a mindfulness or bodyfulness practice, how does it feel to check in with your body signals, to connect with yourself on this visceral level?
I Feel, Therefore I Am
In this short On Being piece, Krista Tippett talks to playwright Eve Ensler about what it means to become embodied.
How does Krista’s quote (to the left) land for you? What thoughts, questions or arguments arise in your being in response to this statement?
When have you felt most embodied? Is there a way you might invite more embodiment into your experience?
Interoception and Social Connection
This article explores the possible connections between interoception and feeling connected to others. The authors write, “We suggest that interventions aimed to improve interoceptive abilities, such as mindfulness-based meditation practices, may be key for alleviating loneliness and improving social connection.”
If you would like some structure for your Somatic Self-Compassion practice this week, you might like to do practices from the collections below.
If you want to explore the topics of Interoception some more, please check out the Interoception category on the HeartWorks website.
Knowing that we are feeling some kind of body signal but experiencing difficulty in identifying, naming and processing the associated emotions, especially subtle ones. Alexithymia is literally translated as “without words for emotions.”
Also called “Body Schema” is our awareness of our body in contact with our external environment through the senses of vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, proprioception and balance. Exteroception is often contrasted with interoception.
A pre-verbal sense of “something” experienced in the body; an inner knowledge or awareness that has not been consciously thought or verbalized. We all have felt sense from the time we are conscious. The concept of “felt sense” was popularized by Gene Gendlin in his Focusing model and expanded on by Peter Levine in his Somatic Experiencing model.
Our sense of our internal body, including emotions and physiological/biological needs, and an ability to name and make meaning of these sensations.
The degree to which we notice sensations in our body and can identify and respond to them.
The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Intuition might come from felt sense or from a sense outside of the body.
Neuroception describes how neural circuits distinguish whether situations or people are safe, dangerous, or life threatening. Neuroception explains why a baby feels delight at connecting with a caregiver but cries when they see a stranger, or why a toddler enjoys a parent’s embrace but views a hug from a stranger as an assault. (Stephen Porges)
Somatic Self-Compassion Community on Facebook
You can see articles to support your study and practice on interoception on our Somatic Self-Compassion Community page on Facebook.