The Science of EBT

The opposite side of the “1” is the “5.” We have survival circuitry, like faulty electric wiring. More primitive regions of our brain take over. Our unconscious emotional memories from childhood get triggered. Even inherited circuitry — the beliefs and fears from our ancestors — can light up.

This activity is all subcortical — outside or just on the edge of our conscious awareness. Your survival circuitry — primitive wires — can trigger behaviors you wish you could avoid.

EBT Can Help You Avoid Unwanted Behaviors

  • Numbing out using food when you know you’re not hungry

  • Zoning out with the Internet/Television

  • Arguing with your partner or kids about a “safe” topic knowing you need to bring up a more difficult issue and not sure how to broach the matter without a rift

  • Feeling stuck in a dead or mindless job

We go in and out of brain states all day long. The “1” and “2” states are considered homeostatic, the joy states. “3” is pretty neutral “4” and “5” are stress states.

Emotional Brain Training and Emotional Set Point

The more time we spend in “4” and “5”, the more likely we’ll stay stuck there. The brain loves the familiar neural pathways, so pretty soon, feeling bad is your “normal,” so you don’t realize that you could actually feel good, even great. The brain likes the easy path, so this becomes your emotional set point.

In EBT, we learn how to “check-in” on our brain state. We notice what brain state we’re in; then, we practice using emotional brain training tools to switch up our brain state. These EBT exercises raise our brain’s set point. We practice this over and over again until the brain begins to change. Our emotional set point begins to shift upward toward that “1” state.

EBT Tools to Shift Emotional Set Point

It takes a combination of tools to shift our emotional set point.

Mindfulness: We have to be aware of our state, a combination of thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. We practice lovingly observing our inner state.

Emotional Tools: The unconscious stores emotional memory. We can’t bypass emotions. They’re the root of the human experience and our brain state.

Cognitive Tools: The brain distills emotional experience into the beliefs about self, life, others, and more. We learn to uproot these unconscious beliefs and rewire them.

Body-Based Lifestyle Tools: Our bodies need to be in homeostasis or balance, or our emotional life won’t be able to shift much. That means exercise, healthy eating, sleep, and more. The good news is, we have a much easier time taking care of our bodies when we’re in a “1” and “2” brain state.

The daily practice of these skills and tools in EBT slowly and surely begins to rewire the unconscious, subcortical survival circuitry so we can spend more moments in joy.

Practicing Emotional Brain Training skills makes it easier to let go of our consumption, greed, and judgments and move toward the compassion and kindness at the heart of our very being.