This chapter provides the tools for adaptiveness to assist you when changing implicit memory is not a question of what is realistic, but instead a question of what is a more helpful and constructive belief that you would like to cultivate. Here are the tools that you can implement as needed when using the “Template for Implicit Memory Change”:
Tools For Adaptiveness
Recall Adaptive Memories
Recalling embodied experiences or memories can prime or sensitize one’s perception to assist in the exploration and facilitation in cultivating other similar adaptive experiences.
|TOOL: Recall Adaptive Memories
Become aware of your body and at the same time recall any memories of when you were, or felt (even a little bit) the way of being that you are trying to cultivate. For example, this could be a moment of confidence, seeing the big picture, etc.
This adaptiveness tool helps with checking and clarifying automatic assumptions about your or others’ intentions based on your implicit interpretations and expectations. You can consider this in other people’s actions as well, but it is usually best to start with oneself as much is needed to sort out our own implicit interpretations and expectations, and this is where the locus of our control is.
The tendency for our mind to generalize leads us to generalize the significance of what we perceive causing us to either see more things as significant when they are not, or not see more things as insignificant when in fact they are not. The polarization will depend on one’s level of anxiety relative to their mood. With a relatively more depressed mood one will generalize the insignificance. With a more anxious mood they will tend to generalize the significance of stimuli (people, places, objects, and ideas). However, a marked feature – in addition to the generalization regardless of how it is polarized – is that it is not in the context of one’s values and goals in life.
What is the significance of this worry, the persons, or situation to your present values and goals in life that are important to you?
Different Visual Perspectives
Attaining different visual perspectives can actually aid in eliciting different conceptual perspectives of the same stimulus. Two tools for adaptiveness as follows can help with this. The first is a bird’s eye perspective, which can aid in eliciting new insights from the distance and seeing the big picture. The second is a third person’s perspective, which can offer insight and greater compassion by observing yourself. People tend to see others as more worthy of respect and compassion than ourselves. This may be because we cannot see ourselves in an experience and are often looking out and internalizing others’ responses.
|TOOL: Birdseye View
|TOOL: Third Person Perspective
Friend, Child, Loved One
The incorporation of an imagined loved one or child into our perspective can help to elicit greater compassion and a protective disposition and behaviour than we may automatically have toward yourself.
|TOOL: What would you say to a child, friend, or loved one
|TOOL: What might a loved one or child say to you
|TOOL: Want Child’s Experience Be
What would you want your child’s experience to be in the situation? Imagine the felt sense of this experience for 10 seconds as you are aware of your body.
|TOOL: Want Loved One’s Experience Be
What would you want your loved one’s experience to be in the situation? Imagine the felt sense of this experience for 10 seconds as you are aware of your body.
|TOOL: How Want Child View Themselves
How would you want your child to view themselves in this situation? Imagine the felt sense of this experience for 10 seconds as you are aware of your body.
Imagining an ideal mentor or guide can help in cultivating a sense of care and compassion toward yourself.
|TOOL: Ideal Guide
When we have a model this can provide a useful template for how to approach the problem, need, or situation.
|TOOL: Role Model
This tool for adaptiveness can assist with providing the motivational drive to endeavour toward the new adaptive way of being.
|TOOL: Rewards of the New Adaptive Way of Being
We know that connection is one of our core needs, and thus feeling liked and loved is at the foundation of this.
|TOOL: Imagine Feeling Liked/Loved
Imagined feeling like or loved and how that changes your ability to be the way that is more adaptive and ideal for your thriving.
Mindseye & Let Feelings Mingle
Utilizing visual or sensory-spatial models in your mindseye (embodied imagination) can assist with processing the images, impressions, feelings, impulses, or automatic thoughts that arise. This is because it activates and connects the prefrontal cortex (executive thinking) to the subcortical implicit processes allowing for mediation of these.
|TOOL: Mindseye & Let Feelings Mingle
In your mindseye, lightly envision or get the felt sense of the problem or situation and at the same time become aware of what your feelings, reactions, and values and let these gently mingle and linger in your light attention. Notice any images, impressions, feelings, impulses, or automatic thoughts in the form of insights.
Analyze Important Variables
We often are on ‘autopilot’ with regard to our attention and what we perceive. This adaptiveness tool can be helpful by consciously attending to aspects of the situation that highlight important information that provides perspective on the significance, value, or solutions in challenges faced.
|TOOL: Analyze Important Variables
We often forget what is important to remember in stressful situations. Contemplate what values, goals, factors, past experiences, people, or other factors are important to remember that will help you in this situation.
How Would You Think/Behave if Already Was
Similar to some other tools and concepts in this book, this tool for adaptiveness is a bottom-up approach to creating a solution versus a top-down approach involving problem-solving. This makes use of the implicit brain processes and capacity and tendency of the right hemisphere to get a sensory-motor and emotional short-cut to finding a way of being that accesses the database of implicit recognition memory (which is vast) to come up with a solution that drives into conscious awareness from the bottom-up (vs top-down cognitive conscious approach in problem solving). In other words, it helps with identifying a way of being by harnessing and directing the brain’s amazing ability to fill in the blanks and form patterns.
|TOOL: How Would You Think/Behave if Already Was
If you were already the way you are wanting to be, how would you need to think? How would you need to behave? What might you feel? What would your experience be in your embodied experience and point of view?
Highlighting the Good About You
Becoming aware of what is ‘good’ about you and ‘bad about them’ is only a brief thought experiment to counteract the bias you have against yourself in order to achieve some balance. This is not to suggest having this as a blanket approach. It is a specific and time-limited adaptiveness tool to counteract the bias against yourself in situations or for implicit beliefs where your bias is in the other direction.
You need NOT express this to the other person. It is an internal perspective you can have to foster greater self-worth to ethically assert yourself for when your own bias is skewed against you and you are only seeing the ‘negative’ aspects of yourself within a power dynamic.
|TOOL: Highlighting the Good About You
Bring your attention to what you believe is good about you and bad about them.
Reframing the beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions that arise can be useful in that this can help to identify the core needs underlying the generalized and negatively biased automatic interpretations and expectations that arise.
You may notice that any labels or generalized interpretations are often serving others needs and motivations. Break the interpretation or label down by describing it with as much specificity as possible and use more neutral terms by describing the behaviour or facts apart from the interpretation.
Reframe and define the labels you are using in neutral terms as to what you are needing. Be specific and describe what the labels mean in detail. Try to spot what the underlying needs are present.
Opportunities in the Challenges
Seeing opportunities in immediate and intense short-term challenges can be a difficult endeavour because the challenge that is facing us often requires our full attention and energy. Nonetheless, sometimes looking for unexpected opportunities that relate to the problem at hand can be a useful shift of mind.
This is because when we focus solely on the problem and reacting to it we may miss the opportunity to be proactive and seek opportunities that we may not expect from the current situation that apply to the problem. The key is the shift from being reactionary to being proactive because this shifts the motivation from avoiding loss to seeking reward, which in turn, changes what one automatically attends to, and the degree to which they feel self-agency and empowerment.
For longer-standing and chronic challenges, this also may be a useful endeavour because it can help us realign with our values, priorities, and increase the efficiency and care with which we approach life, thus increasing the quality of one’s experience.
|TOOL: Opportunities in the Challenges
What are the opportunities in the challenges you are facing? What are the unexpected advantages? This is not to take away from the gravity or seriousness of the challenge. It is about finding something constructive amongst the pain so as to move toward greater thriving when the time is right for you.
Compare with Worse Scenario
Comparing the situation with a possible worse scenario can provide greater perspective because our situation is relative to other contexts or happenings, and we only know what is ‘good’ relative to what is ‘bad’.
|TOOL: Compare with Worst Scenario
Compare the situation with what could be worse (e.g., jail, death, poor health)