UMBRELLA effect: Am I worthless? Part 3
So in part 2 you were introduced to top-down processing and bottom-up processing. In part 3 you will be given instructions in how to use bottom-up processing to help extinguish old behaviours, thoughts, feelings and attitudes which are currently encompassed within an umbrella, which holds them altogether. I will continue using the umbrella belief of 'I am worthless'.
Bottom-up processing is quick and easy to use to bring about significant change. Let us test this out with a few activities so you can appreciate the flavour of this new way of approaching change.
As we continue, it is important for you to remember the following:
An open body posture = Sat or stood with shoulders back, head held high, arms uncrossed with a hand on each leg. both feet on the floor, eyes wide open looking straight ahead or upwards, and a smile from ear to ear.
A closed body posture = Sat or stood with slouched shoulders, head facing downwards, crossed arms and legs, with eyes closed.
Exercise 1 With an open body posture (as above) allow a nice happy thought to be present e.g. I feel happy. Now repeat this statement in your mind over and over whilst gradually closing your body posture (as above), ending up with head down and your eyes closed. Once your body is fully closed, what has happened to that happy thought?
Did it disappear? Did it darken or turn negative? Did it stop being a happy thought in some other way? Did you start having self-critical thoughts? Did any negative memories appear?
Just make a note of these.
Now, close your body posture again and allow a negative thought to be present e.g. I feel stupid. Now repeat this new statement in your mind repeatedly and slowing open up your body, ending up with you looking towards the ceiling and smiling.
What happened to that negative thought?
Did it disappear and be replaced by a positive? Did it appear lighter in some way? Did it seem to lose its power? Did any positive memories appear?
Exercise 1 illustrates how a change in body posture can change your thoughts and feelings immediately, WITHOUT questioning or convincing yourself otherwise. This is bottom-up processing.
Looking up = feeling up
Looking down = feeling down
Exercise 2 Sit on a chair with an open body posture for a couple of moments. Keep your eyes open and look either straight ahead or upwards, with a smile from ear to ear. Notice how you feel in your body. Is there any tension? Is your thinking positive or negative overall? Once you have completed the above, with a hand on each leg, fist your hands and close your eyes. Keep clenching your fists tighter and tighter for a couple of minutes. Increasing the tightness as you go. Notice how you feel in your body. Is there any tension? Is your thinking positive or negative overall? What has happened to your breathing?
Once you have observed the changes, relax your hands, open your eyes and allow your breathing to return to normal.
Exercise 2 illustrates how a change in body posture can quickly bring about a negative change in your feelings, thoughts and attitudes, using no narrative to bring the changes about - it is like it happens by magic!
Interesting isn't it?
So how can you use this information to help improve your relationship with your emotions and self-beliefs? It is easier thank you think and I will show you how you can quickly achieve emotional wealth.
The umbrella belief I have been using as an example is 'I am worthless'. In top-down processing, the solution would be to try and replace this with the reverse affirmation - 'I am worthy'. Constant work with this affirmation may change things slightly for you and give you some positive results BUT those new affirmations will be useless when your primal self is triggered and takes over. And this is because your affirmations are only accessible to you when your primal self is in the background. Consequently, if your anxiety is triggered, your affirmations will no longer help you.
Therefore, trying to replace the umbrella belief in this way will be futile but there is a much simpler way, you affirm the negative belief instead! WHAT! Yes, you need to confirm how you are feeling in your body, rather than try to manipulate your body into feeling something it is not! In this was you acknowledge and accept your feeling, rather than dismissing it and this process of acceptance ACTUALLY changes the belief for you.
The safest way for you to tackle this new approach on your own is to work on feelings first before moving on to entrenched beliefs, for example, work on 'I feel worthless' before working on 'I am worthless'. This will enable you to gain confidence in the process, whilst simultaneously bringing about a greater management in response to your daily stressors BEFORE you address your long standing saboteurs.
Step by step instructions to achieve emotional wealth in response to your daily stressors is in Part 4 of 'Am I worthless?'