San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) October 14, 2010
The national epidemic of stress is showing up in rising rates of anxiety, obesity, depression and sleep disturbances. Most of us reach for a pill, a cookie, a drink or the credit cards, but neuroscience is offering another solution: harness the brain's natural pathways to move through stress back to feeling relaxed and positive.
That's the approach of emotional brain training (http://www.ebt.org), a method developed at the University of California San Francisco. Until now the method has been available primarily through health professionals. A new EBT.ORG website launches today, making the tools more accessible to the public. A free video course with the method's founder and free membership in the website with automated coaching and social networking to learn the tools will be available through October 18, 2010 to celebrate the launch.
According to the founder, Laurel Mellin, "In the last 5 years, the stress levels have become more than most people using conventional tools such as relaxation and exercise can bear. It's time to call upon neuroscience to offer some solutions to this oppressive stress. That stress is the root cause of 80 percent of health problems, including depression, anxiety, overweight -- and that feeling of being on edge, like if one more thing goes wrong, I'm going to lose it!"
She said, "It turns out that the brain processes stress differently at various levels of stress. The optimal process when you're a little rattled is different from the best process when you are stressed out. EBT is based on tools that mirror these natural best processes. These are survival tools, and now training in the tools is available online."
Mellin is an associate professor of family and community medicine at UCSF, where she and her colleagues developed EBT. She says, "The method has been in development for 30 years, first as a treatment for childhood obesity (http://www.childobesity.com) but only three years ago we made a huge leap and discovered that last two tools of the method. The simplicity of the method astonishes me. There are five brain states and five corresponding tools. Bringing these tools to the public is our priority."
"One of the joys of this method is its simplicity. From a brain standpoint, the theory is that everyone on the planet is in one of five brain states in any given moment. The challenge is to know how to process stress given that particular level of brain arousal."
"So we numbered the states -- 1 to 5. Brain State 1 is the best state, the state of balance and feeling the glow that indicates a slight activation of the brain's reward centers. Brain State 5 is a full blown stress response, feeling overwhelmed, lost and confused. Then we looked at what occurs between parent and child, so that the child's emotional brain most easily switches back to states of balance, which are optimal for survival of the species. These processes we codified as the 5 tools to EBT."
"Each brain state is an entirely different world, with a different brain area in charge. Thus, each brain state requires a different tool to return the brain to a state of balance and well-being. Each time a person uses the tools, they switch up their brain state and leave a small but important change in their wiring, so that switching it up again becomes easier and more natural."
"The most common response to using the tools the first time is excitement. Say a person is in Brain State 4, definitely stressed and uses the corresponding tool. They switch up their brain state, feel a rush of positive emotions. Often they gasp: Hey, this actually works!"
Mellin, a New York Times bestselling author, released a book on EBT, Wired for Joy (Hay House, June 2010, which describes the recent innovations in the method, including rewiring the "survival drive" for overeating, distancing, merging or staying stuck in a negative mood.
EBT is available nationwide through health professionals who are certified in the method. They facilitate introductory and advanced courses in EBT through groups and coaching. Many offer on site introductions to the method. Certification in the method for health professionals is available through the non-profit organization, the Institute for Health Solutions (http://www.ebt.org).
For a free introductory online course in EBT delivered through a video e-course with the method's founder, and a one-month membership to social networking and web-based tools, visit http://www.ebt.org. Also available is a special seminar on food addiction and the use of the tools of positive emotional plasticity to rewire circuits that fuel drives for sugary, fatty foods. Both specials are available on the EBT website through October 18th, 2010.
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