Saturday, December 19, 2020

Building up self-nurturing compassion

 Tara Brach's process called RAIN

"The acronym RAIN is an easy-to-remember tool for practicing mindfulness and compassion using the following four steps:

Recognize what is happening;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with interest and care;
Nurture with self-compassion.

You can take your time and explore RAIN as a stand-alone meditation or move through the steps whenever challenging feelings arise.

• Visit RAIN: A Practice of Radical Compassion for a full description of the steps of RAIN. Download a new free printable guide here: RAIN: A Practice of Radical Compassion (PDF).
• The RAIN of Self-Compassion includes the steps of RAIN, as well as some translations to other languages.
• Radical Compassion, Tara’s guidebook to RAIN, addresses in depth the many applications of RAIN, and how to work with an array of challenges that arise.
• Download your free Radical Compassion Study Guide.

Note: The Two Versions of the Acronym RAIN:

There have been two primary forms of the RAIN acronym circulating in the meditation spheres, and we would like to clarify between the original and more recently evolved versions. (read more)" 

Monday, October 12, 2020

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Monday, October 5, 2020

How to Track Mindfulness


According to Glyn Blackett: "In their excellent book "The Science Of Meditation**", authors Dan Goleman and Richie Davidson review the research evidence that meditation (and in particular mindfulness) can create changes - both state changes (temporary) and trait changes (which are more enduring)...
One of the most common ways to track results of mindfulness practice is to use a standardised self-report questionnaire, such as "five facet mindfulness questionnaire". ..

Personally I like the idea of this test. And it struck me that it would be a relatively simple matter to adapt biofeedback software to perform this test. So I went ahead and implemented it as part of my own Mind-Body Training Tools suite of biofeedback applications...

Elsewhere I've written about the three key preconditions for flow, in the context of mindfulness meditation (the three being (i) having a clear and immediate goal, (ii) getting immediate feedback. and (iii) having the righrt level of challenge."

Self-Report Questionnaires One of the most common ways to track results of mindfulness practice is to use a standardised self-report questionnaire, such as "five facet mindfulness questionnaire".
Unlike other meditation apps, here at buddhify we try not to make a big deal about the idea of tracking how many days in a row you are able to meditate.
The companion app also has built-in meditation tracking. Use their guided meditations or simply track or log your own meditation sessions. Use goals to help ...

"It’s at the end of each session where Calm shows itself as more than just a meditation app. It’s an application and development team thinking about human behavior, habit building and tracking. When a session is over, Calm loads up a simple progress page where it shows you your current streak, how many sessions you have done and total meditation time. It also provides a monthly view of days you have meditate."
Sep 20, 2016 - As an added bonus, it does a amazing job of tracking and displaying your progress. Meditation is the practice of training your mind. It has been ...

Friday, August 14, 2020

Distress Tolerance and Polyvagal theory

 Note: Freeze can either mean being stuck in a still position to evaluate a novelty cue, or being stuck in a flooded position that is immobilizing. But it has also been elsewhere used to refer to the fold/flag/faint kind of ongoing frozen stance, avoiding movement.

Some definitions:
  • "Freeze: Like a deer caught in the headlights, freeze involves the orienting reflex, an inborn impulse to turn your sensory organs towards a source of stimulation. Here the goal is to “stop, look, and listen” to better understand the situation and to determine if there is a threat. Your pupils will dilate as you turn your head towards the sound or sights that sparked your interest or concern. Most importantly, freeze occurs in preparation for action and is short lived.
  • Flight and Fight: maintained by the sympathetic nervous system in which you are mobilized into flight or fight responses. This process involves initial attempts to flee danger; however, if it is impossible to escape you will resort to fight. The sympathetic nervous system increases blood flow to the heart and muscles of the arms and legs accompanied by faster and deeper breathing. Simultaneously, skin will grow cold and digestion is inhibited.
  • Fright: As we look further into the progression of trauma responses, we see that ...when flight or fight do not restore safety. When there is no escape a “fright” takes over with feelings of panic dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, tingling, and numbing. According to Schauer & Elbert (2010), this stage is considered to have “dual autonomic activation” seen in abrupt and disjointed alternations between sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system actions. It is in this stage that we see the initial symptoms of dissociation.
  • Flag [or Fold]: If there is still no resolution of the threatening situation you will progress into the fifth stage, “flag,” which is the collapse, helplessness, and despair that signals parasympathetic based nervous system shut-down and immobilization. Dissociative reactions dominate this phase. Voluntary movements including speech become more difficult, sounds become distant, vision blurs, and numbness prevails. The heart rate and blood pressure drop, sometimes rapidly, which in some cases leads to the sixth stage, “faint.”
  • Faint: The “faint” response appears to serve several purposes from an evolutionary and survival perspective. When the body succumbs to a horizontal position blood supply increases to the brain. Furthermore, fainting is connected to disgust; an emotional response which rejects toxic or poisonous material. According to Schauer & Elbert, experiencing or even witnessing horrific events such as forced physical or sexual violence can trigger vasovagal syncope (vagus nerve dysregulation) which promotes nausea, loss of bowel control, vomiting, and fainting."

"Fawn types seek safety by merging with the wishes, needs and demands of others. They act as if they unconsciously believe that the price of admission to any relationship is the forfeiture of all their needs, rights, preferences and boundaries."

"The ‘please’ or ‘fawn’ response is an often overlooked survival mechanism to a traumatic situation, experience or circumstance. Nonetheless, the ‘please’ response is a prevalent one especially with complex trauma or CPTSD and is acted out as a result of the high-stress situations that have often been drawn out."

 Here's another list:

The six responses to stress include:

  1. Fight: Fighting a threat 
  2. Flight: Fleeing a threat
  3. Freeze: Freezing and not doing anything in response to a threat
  4. Flooding: Being flooded with emotions in response to a threat
  5. Fawn: Cooperating or submitting to one's threat or captor
  6. Fatigue: Feeling tired and/or sleeping in response to a threat

Here's the bell curve another way!


The fight response happens when you feel you're in danger, but you believe you can overpower the threat. Your brain sends messages to your body to quickly prepare you for the physical demands of fighting. Some signs you're in fight mode include:

  • You cry
  • You feel like punching someone or something
  • Your jaw is tight, or you grind your teeth
  • You glare at people or talk to them with anger in your voice
  • You feel like stomping or kicking
  • You feel intense anger
  • You feel like killing someone, perhaps even yourself
  • Your stomach feels tied in knots, or you have a burning feeling in your stomach

You'll also know if you're in fight mode because you'll attack the source of the danger. The fight response can be extremely beneficial under certain circumstances.


When you believe you can overcome the danger by running away, your brain prepares your body for flight. Sometimes, running away is your best option. After all, unless you're a firefighter, you probably want to run out of a burning building. Here are some of the emotional and physical flight responses:

  • Your legs are restless
  • You feel numbness in your extremities
  • Your eyes dilate and dart around
  • You constantly move your legs and feet
  • You're fidgety
  • You're tense
  • You feel trapped
  • You exercise excessively



When you feel neither running nor fighting is the best choice, you can freeze instead. The following freeze responses can keep you stuck:

  • You feel cold
  • You have numbness in your body
  • Your skin is pale
  • You feel stiff or heavy
  • You have a sense of dread
  • Your heart is pounding
  • Your heart rate may decrease
  • You feel yourself tolerating the stress


When you've tried fight, flight, or freeze several times without success, you may find yourself using the fawn response. People who tend to fawn typically come from abusive families or situations.

For example, if you're the abused child of a narcissistic parent, your only hope of survival might be compliance and helpfulness. You can recognize this if you notice that no matter how poorly someone treats you, you are more concerned about making them happy than about doing what's right for you.

the main four response patterns are fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. Other patterns are combinations of these basic patterns. Common hybrid patterns include:

  • Fawn-fight: controlling threats in coercive and manipulative ways
  • Fawn-flight: avoiding the threat by becoming invaluable in the situation
  • Fawn-freeze: surrendering to the threat by taking on the victim role
  • Flight-freeze: avoiding threats by focusing on other situations

Some disorders tend to be associated with certain stress response patterns. Here are a few of the ones that have been identified:

  1. Fight type: Narcissism
  2. Flight type: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  3. Freeze type: Dissociative Disorders
  4. Fawn type: Codependency