Post-hypnotism

Postby moonlightress » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:41 am

I was lucky enough to run into Jimmyh on this subforum in a previous thread, who knows stuff I also want to know about. He’s agreed to try and explain his ideas to me and since there may be others who are interested, I’m starting this thread. Thanks, Jimmy. :D I’d planned to begin by copying over some posts from the previous thread where we got started, and I will, but I have a question first.

You once described yourself as a “post-hypnotist”. I never asked what that actually was, at the time. I mean, I think I have some idea, but what exactly did you mean by that term?
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#1

Postby jimmyh » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:07 pm

You once described yourself as a “post-hypnotist”. I never asked what that actually was, at the time. I mean, I think I have some idea, but what exactly did you mean by that term?

The term “hypnotic phenomena” exists because people find things like name amnesia to be “weird” and “not normal”. What is “normal” though? Anyone who is at all familiar with the scientific literature on hypnosis will know that anything you can do with hypnosis you can also do *without* hypnosis, so “hypnotic phenomena” can’t actually describe a natural category of things that exist out there in the territory.

What it refers to is a group of things which demonstrate the common failure of people’s maps of “normal human psychology” to allow for things like forgetting one’s own name, or greatly modifying one’s pain response, or whatever. The commonly drawn envelope of “normal stuff that can be done” doesn’t include the things we call “hypnotic phenomena”, and the only way to quickly learn to deal with this when you learn that hypnosis is real is to draw a *second* envelope around the things that can be done *in hypnosis*. A fresh hypnotist might know how to solve a problem like “it hurts” by doing “an induction, then a deepener, then giving suggestions that follow a certain form”, while simultaneously having *no idea* how to deal with something like that without hypnosis.

“Post hypnotism” is the idea that you no longer find use for two separate envelopes, because your “normal stuff” envelope now fully encompasses all of the so called “hypnotic phenomena”. “Post hypnotism” means you don’t need to shift mental gears into “doing hypnosis” mode and thinking of what you’re doing as “hypnotizing” to access them when the situation calls for it. It’s not enough to know on an intellectual level that there is no fundamental divide if you don’t actually know how to bridge the gap and get things that look like hypnotic phenomena without doing hypnosis. In this sense it is hard and there are no shortcuts. I’m not even sure I’m 100% there. From time to time I do have the thought “okay, I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to do this without ‘cheating’ and ‘doing hypnosis’”, though lately I’ve been having success without having to shift gears, and without missing out on the results.

The reason I find it to be an important concept is that very very little of the value in expanding one’s ability to understand and do things lies in the narrow enclosure that we normally think of when we think of hypnotic phenomena. Yes, it can be cool to pull out now and then, but it’s an extreme example of a *corner case*. It’s not every day that “you can’t remember your name” becomes a critical skill.

The further you get from the corners the more space opens up to apply to more things, and so the widest/most fruitful margin is always going to be in expanding ones “normal” capabilities to encompass slightly more “hypnotic” things, rather than extending one’s abilities “with hypnosis” to extend further into the corner. *Rarely* do you have a friend who can’t sleep due to pain which fits so easily into the form where “would you like me to hypnotize you to not be bothered by pain” can even be a potentially fitting solution.

Usually it’s more like “my friend/lover/coworker/whatever thinks X and won’t listen when I explain the problems with that”, and “can I hypnotize you to listen better” is usually out of the question. Usually the solution is such a small incremental improvement that it doesn’t stand out as “OMG, impressive magic hypnosis!”. Usually it just looks like “just rapport” or “slightly better social skills, well within the normal range”, or whatever.

The difference is that there’s actually a set of principles to use in determining how to do things better. Instead of relying on models things that aren’t precise enough to be actionable (e.g. “it’s about rapport!” “how do I do rapport?”) which leave you kinda floundering and struggling to learn by randomly throwing things at the wall until something sticks, you can actually start to look at interactions within the frame of “hypnosis” and debug *why* the person hasn’t accepted your suggestions. It doesn’t mean you become some transcendent immortal superperson because there are still problems to be solved. Just because you know how to navigate doesn’t mean that you automatically know where you are, how to get to where you want to go, or are able to cross the terrain you’re faced with. However it *does* mean that you’re ready to at least address the problem, if you want to take a crack at it. It takes those formerly opaque and seemingly impermeable walls and turns them into merely “problems to be solved”, so that you can start to expand the envelope of what you’re capable of — even if it’s nothing special yet. Not “unreachable”, just “homework”.

The other really cool thing is that those walls aren’t just pushed slightly further back. They just *don’t exist*. Corners may cover a small fraction of the territory, but sometimes they can be *really cool* parts of the territory, quite untouched and very worth exploring. Yes, *sometimes* it just looks like “slightly better rapport, but nothing special”, but other times it goes a bit further and really does start to look “special” (or “hard to believe”) from the outside. Once you get there everything seems “just normal”, of course (by design!), but it’s a very different kind of normal, and that takes nothing from the experience.
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#2

Postby moonlightress » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:46 pm

I’m glad I asked, instead of assuming I knew what the term meant, because it’s not quite what I had understood by it.

jimmyh wrote:What it refers to is a group of things which demonstrate the common failure of people’s maps of “normal human psychology” to allow for things like forgetting one’s own name, or greatly modifying one’s pain response, or whatever.

What, no hypnocrack? :lol:

The reason I find it to be an important concept is that very, very little of the value in expanding one’s ability to understand and do things lies in the narrow enclosure that we normally think of when we think of hypnotic phenomena. [.…]

Usually the solution is such a small incremental improvement that it doesn’t stand out as “OMG, impressive magic hypnosis!”. Usually it just looks like “just rapport” or “slightly better social skills, well within the normal range”, or whatever.


“Slightly better rapport but nothing special” is not to be sneezed at. And one person’s “slightly better” is another’s “impressive magic hypnosis”. The hypnotic phenomena corners *are* very cool and fun and impressive, but I never could get any sensation in my hand and I’m more interested in Speaking with “the subconscious” about the more normal, everyday stuff.

I have a feeling that combining your cognitive approach with my hypnotic-trance/emotional/spiritual angle could be a kind of turbo-charge to problem-solving, hence my interest. It muddies the waters with confounding variables, I know, but then I’m not out to investigate any hypothesis; it’s mainly from self-interest that I ask (plus, of course, curiosity about how it would work.)

The difference is that there’s actually a set of principles to use in determining how to do things better [.…] you can actually start to look at interactions within the frame of “hypnosis” and debug *why* the person hasn’t accepted your suggestions. [.…] it *does* mean that you’re ready to at least address the problem, if you want to take a crack at it.


And is scripting that ‘set of principles’ what you were referring to at the end of that blog post? That’s where we’d got up to in the other thread. Instead of running back and forth between threads I’m going to copy over the relevant bits from before; here they come.
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#3

Postby moonlightress » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:49 pm

Referring to the blog post:

jimmyh wrote:
moonlightress wrote: Those last two paragraphs. Really? Like, really? How? You can teach someone how to do this? Did you ever script it? And if you did, *where is the script*? :shock:

OK, a hypnotist can do it. [.…] If all hypnosis is indeed self-hypnosis, then it follows that you should, in theory, be able to do this yourself. But even if you can convince yourself it’s possible to do that, then making the leap from doing it in trance - with your second-guessing, inner-critic conscious lulled to “sleep” - to just doing it consciously? That idea’s a *mind-bend*.


I know a lot more things now than I did six years ago when I wrote that ;). Some things have changed, some haven’t.

One of the big things is that I see things as “mostly regulated, if poorly and incoherently” rather than “often unregulated”.
Imagine someone were to say “Man, my factory is running too hot, but I lost the keys so I can’t get in to adjust the thermostat”. If you simply take this at face value, then it seems that the thermostat setpoint is unregulated, and if you can find a way in and change it, the change will persist and be helpful (or not, depending on whether you chose a good new value). If you hand them the keys, you’d expect them to say “thanks!” and go adjust it for themselves.

If you realize that it’s not actually their factory at all, and that this is *why* they don’t have the keys, then all of a sudden your expectations change. If you adjust this thermostat, it’ll almost certainly get changed back, and might have unintended consequences in the meantime. If you give them the keys, they might not be so keen to go in and change things, despite their words.

When things are actively regulated (even poorly), it becomes necessary to deal with the regulating body and it becomes *unnecessary* to actually go adjust thermostats yourself. Simply convince the regulator to do it themselves.

As it applies here, it no longer seems weird that I could give people these keys and have them not say “holy sh** this is amazing” and then go on to do lots of great things with it. It kinda seems more like giving the keys to the guy who owns the factory, not the guy who is paid to understand and run the damn thing. Of course he isn’t going to know what to do with them.

I still think that there is a good amount of stuff where the door is closed and people can be taught to walk in and “just fix things”, but that it has to be done quite differently if you want them to actually make use of it much.

These days I kinda just talk about the things that you can do, and don’t take seriously the idea that the door is “locked”.
For example, over the weekend we had the brakes go out on a ranger and though the driver did the exact right thing, still my friend got pretty banged up in the crash and wasn’t sure he was going to be able to sleep well due to the pain. “Man, this pain is going to wake me up, and that would be bad [and I don’t feel like I can change this]” kind of thing. I just talked to him for a couple minutes along the lines of “But you wouldn’t *need* to wake up, right? I mean, you cleaned and dressed your wounds well, so it’s not like if you slept through the night there would be any *problems* or anything, right? Nothing you might *need* to wake up and address?”. “Oh, no. It’s fine. It’s taken care of”. “Okay, good. So you can just sleep through the night and if it hurts it hurts, but it’s nothing worth waking up for since sleep is more important right now”. “Yeah”. “Good. So do you think you’re going to sleep fine?” “Yeah, I think I’ll be good”.

It’s that easy. However, that’s how you have to do it. You can’t just say “pain begone!” or the pain will start saying “**** you” in return. What needs to be taught isn’t “here are the keys”, but “There is no lock, just go in and talk to the guy who is regulating things. He’s reasonable”. It’s a little different to teach that, but it’s teachable too.

The way I teach it these days is partly by walking people through some examples like that so that they can see how it works, and also to just reside in the frame that it’s completely doable and that there is no locked door. If *I* don’t think there’s any reason people can’t do something, and I’ve earned their respect as someone who wouldn’t be wrong about something like that, then they just know it’s an option. No “hypnosis” necessary, even for things you might normally think of as “hypnotic phenomena”.
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#4

Postby moonlightress » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:50 pm

jimmyh wrote:
moonlightress wrote:If all hypnosis is indeed self hypnosis, then it follows that you should, in theory, be able to do this yourself.

Hah. When you can hypnotize people without them without their knowledge or consent for things that they continue to believe are impossible even after the fact, I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say *all* hypnosis is self hypnosis. It takes two to tango, but it only takes one willing participant to suplex the unwilling one.

But yes, it’s something you can do yourself.
moonlightress wrote: But even if you can convince yourself it’s possible to do that, then making the leap from doing it in trance - with your second-guessing, inner-critic conscious lulled to “sleep” - to just doing it consciously? That idea’s a *mind-bend*

Well, the thing is, you already know it’s possible. Because I’m taking it for granted, and you know that it’s quite unlikely I’d be saying this if it weren’t true. You still have to figure out how to accept that, but it’s a significantly different thing than trying to figure out if it’s possible or not.

It’s not really a matter of doing it in the face of an active inner critic, it’s that you shut the bitch up in a slightly different way. Instead of saying “shh, sleep now darling”, you just look at her and say “do you have a point. If you do, I’ll listen”. It just kinda becomes *normal* to have the room to think and consider these things. Can you imagine what *that* would be like?

To just have space to work consciously and unconsciously because the inner critic isn’t going to say anything unless she actually has something worth stopping to listen to?
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#5

Postby moonlightress » Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:52 pm

moonlightress wrote:
jimmyh wrote:... It just kinda becomes *normal* to have the room to think and consider these things. Can you imagine what *that* would be like?

You’re telling me 2+2=5, right? :shock:

Funny enough, just this morning I listened to a tape that went: <induction> "Imagine you're standing in front of a door labelled "Your subconscious mind". Now imagine yourself opening that door."

The possibility, yes. The accepting, however, involves a substantial restructuring of my map and that's non-trivial because it has far-reaching implications. I'm alternately reeling (read: thrown into trance) and pushing it away, trying to work out *if* I can handle *that*.


moonlightress wrote:Isn’t it interesting; it’s possible I learned more from the struggle with your *omission* of the piece of information (in the other thread) about what to do when you don’t know what to do. I really *don’t* know what to do. I *do* expect the information to be true and useful. Right now I’m doing “nothing”, just swimming in cognitive dissonance.

Is that the secret? Remain in the cognitive dissonance and resist the impulse to defend against it, while the parts of your mind throw the ball to each other in turns, as they swim around the whole pool to find the goalpost?


[End of posts copied over from the previous thread.]
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#6

Postby moonlightress » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:08 pm

So, to today…..

A waterpolo game later, subconscious processing in trance with hypnotic acceptance, done. I can't imagine it, yet, but I'd really like to. I mean, I get that it's possible, in theory, but, I don't know, getting my conscious on board with how exactly that’s going to work, is going to take a little longer.

My critic didn’t like the word ‘bitch’ and was back-chatting about it, but I acknowledged she had a point, so we’re good now. Maybe that’s a start?

jimmyh wrote:It’s that easy. [.…]

What needs to be taught isn’t “here are the keys”, but “There is no lock, just go in and talk to the guy who is regulating things. He’s reasonable”. It’s a little different to teach that, but it’s teachable too. [.…]

The way I teach it these days is partly by walking people through some examples like that so that they can see how it works, and also to just reside in the frame that it’s completely doable and that there is no locked door.


It's easy for you to say “It’s that easy.” .... :shock:

I can’t wrap my mind around “There is no lock, just go in and talk to the guy who is regulating things. He’s reasonable.”

Would you consider “walking me through a few more examples”? Not pain=tickle, not temperature. Not hypnotic phenomena. Just examples of “can you make it so I don’t wake up from the pain tonight?”
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#7

Postby moonlightress » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:25 pm

Scratch the bolded parts below, I just changed my mind.

moonlightress wrote:The hypnotic phenomena corners *are* very cool and fun and impressive, but I never could get any sensation in my hand and I’m more interested in Speaking with “the subconscious” about the more normal, everyday stuff.

Would you consider “walking me through a few more examples”? Not pain=tickle, not temperature. Not hypnotic phenomena.

I just had a brainwave. :D I've thought of an application that would be *so cool* and highly relevant to me, and I imagine it would fall in the “hypnotic phenomena” category. I had a look around the net and found it has indeed been tried with hypnosis, with statistically significant success. Very significant.

Here’s the WebMD article:
Hypnosis Halts Hot Flashes for Some Women

And here’s the (full text!) PubMed report of the study:
Clinical Hypnosis in the Treatment of Post-Menopausal Hot Flashes: A Randomized Controlled Trial

(Which article has been cited in 12 other articles.)

Are you interested in trying this idea out in practice; same procedure as last time? Head straight for a corner case, why not? Go big or go home.

If I can see it's possible in theory, and you say it’s possible in practice, my question is, how? “Just go in and talk to the woman who’s regulating things” is, presumably, the kind of PHS which ran into:
jimmyh wrote: [......] a lower level refusal to play by the stupid new rules.

The right way to have it implemented is to have the new abilities simply added to your locus of control.

I’m all ears. I’m psyched to give this a go with just the way you do it. No confounding variables (assuming motivated intention isn’t confounding). No trance. If it works in trance, it should be able to be done out of it. (If you’re right, that is. But we already covered that part in the last thread. Call me suggestible. :D )

Plus, this isn’t one you can try out on yourself…. :lol:

Are you interested in trying? What do you think? Is it possible? Of course it’s possible. Right?
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#8

Postby jimmyh » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:30 am

“Slightly better rapport but nothing special” is not to be sneezed at. And one person’s “slightly better” is another’s “impressive magic hypnosis”.


Exactly.


The hypnotic phenomena corners *are* very cool and fun and impressive, but I never could get any sensation in my hand
Oh, so you mean you achieved complete anesthesia? :P


and I’m more interested in Speaking with “the subconscious” about the more normal, everyday stuff.


Ideomotor signals can be fun. I can’t remember if I’ve told this story on my blog or not, but way back when I was first playing with this stuff I tried to do the “speaking with the subconscious through ideomotor signals” to help me not be seasick. The actual wording I used was “feel comfortable”, which turned out interestingly. I did get the “yes, that would be okay” signal and I did feel comfortable, but then about 5 minutes later I felt like I was going to puke… just without discomfort. And a bit later I noticed I was cold because I was shivering… also without discomfort.

My blog post about adapting to polyphasic sleeping describes what I do these days when I want that kind of thing changed. Much less “crazy magic” in the way it’s framed, but the results were just as far out there compared to the expectations I had going into it.

And is scripting that ‘set of principles’ what you were referring to at the end of that blog post? That’s where we’d got up to in the other thread. Instead of running back and forth between threads I’m going to copy over the relevant bits from before; here they come.

I don’t understand the question

A waterpolo game later, subconscious processing in trance with hypnotic acceptance, done. I can't imagine it, yet, but I'd really like to. I mean, I get that it's possible, in theory, but, I don't know, getting my conscious on board with how exactly that’s going to work, is going to take a little longer.

can’t imagine what, exactly?

My critic didn’t like the word ‘bitch’ and was back-chatting about it, but I acknowledged she had a point, so we’re good now. Maybe that’s a start?


Haha, awesome. I hadn’t meant it in the “nasty unpleasant woman” sense, just the informal “not using the most polite terms because we’re all friends here and we don’t have to” sense where it basically means “person”.

It's easy for you to say “It’s that easy.” ....

Once you find the right mindset to come from..
I can’t wrap my mind around “There is no lock, just go in and talk to the guy who is regulating things. He’s reasonable.”

Why not? Just because the person regulating has made some choices that you didn’t agree with at the time?

Forget about “wrapping your mind around it” as a “truth”. What *would* you expect it to look like if there’s no lock and you can just go talk to the regulator?
Are you interested in trying this idea out in practice; same procedure as last time? Head straight for a corner case, why not? Go big or go home.

If I can see it's possible in theory, and you say it’s possible in practice, my question is, how? “Just go in and talk to the woman who’s regulating things” is, presumably, the kind of PHS which ran into:
[...] Are you interested in trying? What do you think? Is it possible? Of course it’s possible. Right?

Shrug. I don’t have any personal experience with it, so it’s not like I can guarantee a “yes, it’s possible” and demystify it for you. But if the study says they got results, it’s probably something you can influence at least a little bit.

I don’t really get the problem though. What is it exactly? You “feel hot”, and then what? Where does the “problem” part come in? Does it actually get in the way of anything, or is it just a “it feels uncomfortable and I don’t like it” kind of thing?
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#9

Postby moonlightress » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:22 pm

Holy smokes Jimmy, I think this “go talk to the one who’s regulating things, she’s reasonable” actually works! I think I’m managing to talk with her.

I’ve been thinking about, and processing what we’re discussing, every day. Hard not to, with every hot flush. (The example you used earlier of the thermostat in the factory is amusingly apt. :lol: ) I’ve been over the three blog posts we’ve been discussing, countless times and only getting “what the hell is this guy talking about” for the longest time, but once I saw, really saw not just thought, that it’s quite possible to talk to the regulator and why not just do that, and did, I found myself standing in a different place.

I haven’t understood how to apply all the examples you’ve walked me through, from your frame of “it’s perfectly possible”, but I guess each has given me a slightly different piece of the puzzle. (The blog posts overlap to some extent, too, at least to my mind.) Then I had those sessions with Ines, and afterwards she said that in self-hypnosis, you can just talk to the SC and ask it to do stuff. Like it’s the most natural thing in the world and why should you think otherwise? I’ve now had *two* people who know what they’re talking about, telling me I can do just that. Just ask system 1 to change what it’s doing, to reference another of your posts. It was mind-boggling at first, but then it started to make sense, first in theory and now in practice. Now, it’s more a matter of *how much* you may be able to request, and have it made so. But I was stuck on just how you actually do that; how do you “talk to the SC”?

Ines gave me some concrete steps, so I’ve been trying it out, every day - and the ideomotor signals happen just the way she says. Whaaaaat?? I mean, it happens despite the thought that it can’t possible be that easy. I accept and thank my SC for the response and don't question it - well, almost; I'm not all the way with suspending disbelief that anything has actually taken place, other than that my arm has given a signal that I didn't consciously have control over. But if *she* can converse with my SC (and this is how she does it) it no longer seems odd that I should be able to do it, too,

I don’t know why I’d forgotten this, but the first hypnotist I went to, said “I’m going to show you how hypnosis/my talking to the SC works” and did the Chevreul’s Pendulum demo with me. I was gobsmacked because I wasn’t even in trance yet, just sitting staring at the pendulum, not moving, listening to his voice and doing nothing else (haha, I *so* was in trance). I tried it at home sometime after that and it worked as well. I was just cleaning up here at home and found my makeshift glass-bead-and-chain pendulum again, and the ideomotor responses still work. Why had I not connected the fact that it was the same thing that Ines was doing with finger signals? (Is that what you meant by, "You believe the sky is red, by looking at it when it is red?)

jimmyh wrote:What about talking to the part of you that regulates the judgement that gets in the way of talking to your other regulation systems?

I think I’m managing to do this. My sceptical conscious still tries to say “nahhhh, that’s rubbish” but that voice isn’t the only voice and I know who I want to listen to. I go back and forth: am I just fooling myself or is this how to do it? More and more there’s that “shhhh”, let’s just see where this is going. Shhh, she’s reasonable, nothing bad is going to happen” and then the response of “OK, I’ll be quiet and play along, if that's what you want." Your other suggestion to turn and say "Is it rubbish? Are the reasons you think so really valid?" is also useful. After all, I really, really want this, so the sceptic is rolling her eyes a bit, but ok with it.

jimmyh wrote:... similarly, if the reason you’re going to wake up easily or stop having hot flashes is “hypnosis!” then “hypnosis doesn’t work [for me]” is enough to break the spell. If the reason you can do it is more thoroughly grounded then you can’t “break the spell” without also removing your knowledge of how things actually work, and it feels more like “why wouldn’t I be able to do this thing where there’s nothing stopping me?”

And at that point you go into trance and realize that you can — and do it.

And it works. Wow.

jimmyh wrote:What do you find if you search for experiences nearby “hot and comfortable”, and how might they be amended/modified/stretched to fit the context where you want to be comfortable?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the memory I found, of lying on the beach, warming up in the sun after a swim in the sea, which was “warm and comfortable”. (As I said, “it’s hot and it’s nice”, was a contradiction in terms!) But that pleasantly warm feeling is definitely stretchable. (Guess you’re right, I’m going to have to enjoy sweating. :lol: )

jimmyh wrote:That’s part of the way there. That’s what it feels like to be warming up, and to enjoy exposure to warmth. Now what might that be like if you were already pretty warm, but knew you weren’t going to get *too* warm?

The, on a bus trip home, just after Christmas, I was sitting with my thick, freezing-temps winter jacket on, next to the air vent from the bus’s heating element, and was warmer than I wanted to be. I didn’t move to the other end of the seat or take the jacket off, because I wanted to try this out. A milder version of the sauna! It was hot enough to trigger flushes, but not hot enough to cause overheating. I had three flushes within an hour. I started to sweat, to the point where I would formerly have got annoyed....

jimmyh wrote:Start with no longer getting perimenopausal wiggy at the whole thing. Once you can see the problem for what it is without your judgements getting in the way, the whole thing becomes much easier to solve because you can actually think straight.

Yeah, previously I used to try and think "this is pleasantly warm" when they happened, which fell flat when 'warm' exceeded 'pleasant' and I’d get irritated. The sky just wasn’t red. I had a good laugh when you said the above, but switched to “it’s just there and it’s uncomfortable but that’s ok”. ---- So anyway, I was on the bus and it was just there, and I was sweating and noticing how that was ok - and then realised it didn’t feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t “it’s hot and it’s nice” but it wasn’t uncomfortable. And that’s when I saw that, hey, this works! Like, my mind shifted at that point. I asked for the hot flushes to be comfortable (and for the frequency to be reduced). Is my SC implementing my request? Is this how it works?

They aren’t all comfortable yet, some are still difficult, but I’ve had more that haven’t been uncomfortable. Same as you said with your interactive hypnosis example, that the slight delay is my peek into name amnesia working, I’ve experienced it now and it’s just to expand on that. Frame + Intention. (It was two words, dammit and you're not getting a button for this one... :lol: ) I’m now thinking about how to find a sauna I can use; it’s a logistical difficulty at this stage, or I’d head over there. Try and see how far I can stretch “hot and sweaty but comfortable”. I had a two hour bus trip yesterday and kept the arctic jacket on all the way, and again, some weren’t uncomfortable, just hot; some were "I must be crazy". Increased sweaty laundry(!) but never mind that, I’m having fun. :D

jimmyh wrote:Am I understanding you correctly that because you’re now more comfortable with them happening, you’re not really paying as much attention to when they happen and therefore remember less of them happening even though you think they’re actually happening just as frequently?

I didn’t keep a diary before, which I totally should have done. When several hours have gone by and I realise I don’t remember any happening, I wonder if it was just a warm feeling I didn’t even notice because it was mild and not uncomfortable? Or was I so absorbed in what I was doing, I just missed them entirely? If they didn’t happen, was it because I’ve been spending more time at home, in lower ambient temperatures? Ambient temperature is a big factor, which fits with the theory that there’s a small rise in core temperature, in the presence of a narrowed thermo-neutral zone. Also, they vary in intensity, so there are several variables. The jury’s still out on the answer to your question. But I should be able to tell if I get down from the estimated 10-12 a day + some at night. Or when I’m back in the overheated classrooms.

---
PS. Hot flushes are named, in English, for the skin flushing that occurs. Why they’re named, in American, for the flashes in which they occur, is anyone’s guess. Lots of things happen in flashes, it’s not descriptive of the phenomenon. :P
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#10

Postby moonlightress » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:24 pm

I had some more questions, but in the process of writing them out I figured out what you meant, so there’s just this one:

What I’m saying is that your brain is filling in missing gaps too […] and you haven’t yet spotted your brain doing this, in these cases. Because of this, it just looks like “the sky isn’t red”, even when it very much is.

What does that mean, specifically for what I am trying to do here? What are the gaps that my brain is filling in? I get that what you’re saying has to do with *looking* closer at reality, which may not be what you think it is, but it’s not an example I can see how to apply.


Separately; I went through the full text of the study I referenced earlier to see what I could find on the method of hypnosis and conclusion. (I’d forgotten how dull statistics are to wade through; thankfully they also used percentages.) I don’t know if you’re at all interested in this, but it seemed to point to another angle of approach, other than the thermo-neutral zone one.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3556367/

“The clinical hypnosis intervention consisted of hypnotic inductions and instruction in the practice of self-hypnosis towards the therapeutic goals of the reduction of hot flushes and improved sleep. In each 45-minute session, participants were provided specific suggestions for mental imagery for coolness, safe place imagery, and relaxation (my bolding) (individualized based on patient preference). Participants were also provided an audio recording of a hypnotic induction and tasked with the daily practice of self-hypnosis at home.”

I find the “safe place imagery” amusing. I don't imagine they were referring to a sauna :lol: Mental imagery for coolness sounds good, I haven’t done that.

In the conclusion, the researchers acknowledge placebo as a contributing factor to the improvement in both groups. But the intervention was matched in terms of time, attention and homework given to subjects, only hypnosis wasn't used in the controls - and still there was a marked difference. I imagine they were just trying to preempt the immediate cry from sceptics. Anyone involved with hypnosis already knows it’s an active ingredient. My bias is borne out by the study. :D

But I digress; here’s the interesting part. Remember I said the physiology was poorly understood, but one theory was that there was faulty signalling in the brain? Here’s their conclusion:

“The mechanism of action in clinical hypnosis to reduce hot flushes is unknown. As hot flushes involve increases in heart rate, flushing, and sweating, it has been posited that hot flushes are a result of autonomic dysfunction. A theory has been proposed suggesting that hot flushes may be a result of a decrease in parasympathetic tone. Notably, a link between hot flushes and cardiovascular risk has been reported, and this theory suggests that the cause may be a decrease in relative parasympathetic influence, as indicated by reductions in high frequencies of heart rate variability. A possible mechanism of action for clinical hypnosis could be that regular practice of clinical hypnosis improves parasympathetic tone resulting in reduced hot flush symptoms. (my bolding) This is an empirical question that should be investigated through comparative heart-rate variability analyses in subsequent studies.”

"Improves parasympathetic tone." "Tone"? I've yet to figure out how to approach that one, but I thought it interesting. I already have a regular practice, but it's self-hypnosis and not clinical (is that relevant, I wonder?) It can't be said I don't relax during it. Ah, I'm missing the "safe place" imagery... :lol:
---

And just because a post wouldn’t be complete without a reason to use a :P emoji:

“Secondary outcomes were hot flush interference, sleep quality […] To investigate the impacts of hot flushes on patient overall quality of life, the Hot Flush Related Daily Interference Scale (my bolding) was employed in this study […]

See, interference is a thing, not just “feeling hot”. :P
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#11

Postby jimmyh » Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:04 am

Ines gave me some concrete steps, so I’ve been trying it out, every day - and the ideomotor signals happen just the way she says. Whaaaaat?? I mean, it happens despite the thought that it can’t possible be that easy. I accept and thank my SC for the response and don't question it - well, almost; I'm not all the way with suspending disbelief that anything has actually taken place, other than that my arm has given a signal that I didn't consciously have control over. But if *she* can converse with my SC (and this is how she does it) it no longer seems odd that I should be able to do it, too,

Mhmm, and now what might it be like if you didn’t have this opaque divide between “you” and “your SC”, such that you could still watch your arm doing its thing if you wanted, but you also didn’t need to because you could just look and do that communication internally? Sorta like asking yourself “hmm, am I hungry?”


I think I’m managing to do this. My sceptical conscious still tries to say “nahhhh, that’s rubbish” but that voice isn’t the only voice and I know who I want to listen to. I go back and forth: am I just fooling myself or is this how to do it? More and more there’s that “shhhh”, let’s just see where this is going. Shhh, she’s reasonable, nothing bad is going to happen” and then the response of “OK, I’ll be quiet and play along, if that's what you want." Your other suggestion to turn and say "Is it rubbish? Are the reasons you think so really valid?" is also useful. After all, I really, really want this, so the sceptic is rolling her eyes a bit, but ok with it.

Okay, but why is she rolling her eyes? We’re not talking about anything crazy here, just making up your mind. I’m not saying “you can change your body temperature with the power of your mind!” or anything crazy like that — just that you can ask yourself questions like “are you okay?” and actually expect to reflect and achieve consistency between how things seem and how they seem like they ought to seem. Maybe you’re stuck with those sensations maybe you’re not, but they surely don’t have to be tagged as “terrible not-okay thing!” if it’s actually no big deal.

And from there you might find that some of those things that seem like fundamental “sensations” are actually your brains interpretations of temperature errors, and if that turns out to be the case and what felt like “sensations” are really more like “beliefs”, then why should it be hard to look at the territory and keep accurate beliefs there too?

And if that’s the case, and your body actually has some degree of control over its temperature, certainly you’d expect that influence to go with the direction your body is trying to take it?

There are certainly a lot of “if”s, but none of them are unreasonable or necessary. You still have to figure out what you can actually do (and then do it), but “realize that I’m okay when I’m okay” is certainly doable, and is all that’s really necessary.

[...]It was hot enough to trigger flushes, but not hot enough to cause overheating. I had three flushes within an hour. I started to sweat, to the point where I would formerly have got annoyed....

Oh cool, so you can provoke them!

Yeah, previously I used to try and think "this is pleasantly warm" when they happened, which fell flat when 'warm' exceeded 'pleasant' and I’d get irritated. The sky just wasn’t red. I had a good laugh when you said the above, but switched to “it’s just there and it’s uncomfortable but that’s ok”. ---- So anyway, I was on the bus and it was just there, and I was sweating and noticing how that was ok - and then realised it didn’t feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t “it’s hot and it’s nice” but it wasn’t uncomfortable. And that’s when I saw that, hey, this works! Like, my mind shifted at that point. I asked for the hot flushes to be comfortable (and for the frequency to be reduced). Is my SC implementing my request? Is this how it works?


Mhmm. It’s not “what you want”, necessarily, but it’s not really a problem either. No reason to freak out about it unless you actually are going to overheat or something.

What does that mean, specifically for what I am trying to do here? What are the gaps that my brain is filling in? I get that what you’re saying has to do with *looking* closer at reality, which may not be what you think it is, but it’s not an example I can see how to apply.


“It is intolerably hot”->”actually, it’s just a feeling that I don’t have to be uncomfortable with” is a jump you’ve made already, in at least some of the cases. This is one example. The feeling says “it fundamentally is intolerably hot!”, and you can point your attention in the direction of “is it intolerable, though? Can’t I just experience it as a thing and not be perturbed by it?” and you find “why yes, I can!” — which is not the same color you were originally interpreting the sky as being.

You can extend this further, focusing in on the new perception of the sensory data you get. Maybe instead of “it is intolerably hot” you’re just getting “my body is hotter than it should be, and this calls for maxing out our sweat production and urges to cool off, etc”. Is it, though? Is your body too hot? Because if you can look at that — staying associated — and get a “...no, actually this is fine”, then that’s when your body is going to chill out with the overzealous attempts to cool you, and your thermal regulation zone will be widened.

Separately; I went through the full text of the study I referenced earlier [...] it seemed to point to another angle of approach, other than the thermo-neutral zone one. [...] suggestions for mental imagery for coolness, safe place imagery, and relaxation

Yeah, completely expected. As a general rule, hypnotists are only experts in “saying things”, not in “knowing what to say”. If someone complains of being too hot, most hypnotists are going to do the first dumb thing and say “uh…. Feel cooolll…..”. Which, to be fair, can sometimes be enough. When I say “first dumb thing” I don’t mean to imply that it’s not a good first thing to try, just that it’s not really an informed approach, or one that’s likely to turn out to be optimal.

If it’s working at all for them, you can always play with those suggestions yourself. If you want to actually get control of the system and reliably get optimal results, it’s better to actually introspect and find what’s going on, which sounds a lot more like “narrowed thermo-neutral zone, and occasional overshoots” than “not enough coooolll, man!”. The former approach is likely to help to the extent that you actually manage to take the time and shake your attention off the other thing to remind yourself how you want to feel.

Taking control of the thermoregulation is something that can just become your new default. I think you’ve read my story about using self hypnosis to “feel comfortable” when seasick, and noticing that it also extended to being completely comfortable while shivering cold. Since then I’ve kinda run with that, and now there are a lot of contexts where I will get really cold before I bother to do anything about it because 1) there is not actually any risk/problem of doing so, and 2) it’s not uncomfortable because I recognize that there’s no problem. It’s kinda funny because it can get to the point of my legs not really working right when I get up to move, and requiring a much more involved “warming up” again. It’s not something that takes any effort or even a “I should be comfortable”, it’s just the thing that happens sometimes.

In the conclusion, the researchers acknowledge placebo as a contributing factor to the improvement in both groups. But the intervention was matched in terms of time, attention and homework given to subjects, only hypnosis wasn't used in the controls - and still there was a marked difference. I imagine they were just trying to preempt the immediate cry from sceptics. Anyone involved with hypnosis already knows it’s an active ingredient. My bias is borne out by the study.


Trying to “control for placebo” is an odd thing in hypnosis studies. It feels weird and almost sacrilegious to not do it, but it’s also kinda nonsensical when what you’re essentially doing is “designing better placebos”.

In the end, you just gotta pay attention to which bits are the working pieces (regardless of what you want to call them), and that’s really hard to do with things like this because first you have to actually identify what they *are*. I imagine I could really mess with such a study by coming at things with the right attitudes and framings in the “non-hypnosis” group if I wanted to show that “hypnosis” doesn’t help. Conversely, I bet I could really exaggerate the power of hypnosis as well. And I bet I could do both without doing anything your average researcher would pick up on, let alone quantify and document.

[...] A theory has been proposed suggesting that hot flushes may be a result of a decrease in parasympathetic tone.[...]A possible mechanism of action for clinical hypnosis could be that regular practice of clinical hypnosis improves parasympathetic tone resulting in reduced hot flush symptoms.[...]

Super interesting.


See, interference is a thing, not just “feeling hot”.


Sure, whining about non-problems can definitely interfere with things :P
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#12

Postby moonlightress » Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:36 pm

I’ve been sitting on this for about two weeks now, because it’s just been too good to be true. It’s the “freaky magic hypnosis” stuff from the start of the thread; the “corners” you were talking about. I wanted to wait until it was happening reliably and not just on the odd day.

I don’t get any flushes during the day (around 8-18) anymore. As in, *not at all*. There was a single day earlier this week (a particularly shitty day in a bad emotional state, when I stayed at home) where they happened at their old frequency, but for all the rest, just not at all. The whole day! I get the usual one immediately upon waking, maybe another during my morning routine. I get home at around 15.30 most days and then from around 18.00 I’ll have another 2-3 in the evening. It’s not just being too busy to notice; I’ve really been paying attention and many times during the day asked myself, have there been any in the past hour? Nope. Any in the past several hours? Nope. Any instances even, of feeling warmer than usual? Nope. I’m now forgetting too check in so often, and at the end of the day I just know there haven’t been any.

I’m astounded.

It’s not just the frequency that’s dropped so much. The remaining ones are milder and shorter. I still *just* break a sweat when they do happen, but they start and end within a minute. No actual drops of sweat, no getting so hot that I remove all clothing that I possibly can, while remaining within social norms (never wear anything with more than very short sleeves, that’s made of cotton or other breathable natural fibre.) I still mostly change clothes at the old rate out of sheer habit, but more and more I’m realising, “hey you can wear that blouse the whole day because you haven’t actually sweated in it yet. In a (communal laundry) pinch you could even wear it a morning more.”

I’m still getting the usual 2-3 night-time ones, that wake me up to throw off the duvet and wait until I cool down enough to pull it back over me and go back to sleep. Those are up next, to ask you about/think about/talk to my subconscious about. I haven’t yet got to the self-hypnosis “cooling imagery”, maybe I’ll play with that. (How do I tackle them when I’m asleep?)

How can all this be? I forget to think about it. It’s just the new normal, like you said. My inner sceptic has come up with all sorts of excuses why this has happened but none of them hold any water. I can’t think of any other reason, other than that it began after I started to talk to my SC (in self-hypnotic trance, is that “cheating”?), alongside all the talking we’ve done, and your explaining, and the shifts of thinking and “well, if you could do it in hypnosis like they did in the study, then you can do it, period.” And the intention of seeing if I could actually make this damn thing work!

How cool is that? :D :D :D

jimmyh wrote:Mhmm, and now what might it be like if you didn’t have this opaque divide between “you” and “your SC”, such that you could still watch your arm doing its thing if you wanted, but you also didn’t need to because you could just look and do that communication internally? Sorta like asking yourself “hmm, am I hungry?”

I don't know why this is still difficult; it really shouldn't be. It’s all my own mind; why do we humans just love to categorise? It's as if it’s just a realisation away and I can’t see why it’s difficult. How do you do that? Why/how is it different from the inner dialogue one has, eg “why am I so upset about this issue, what is it about it, that gets to me so much?” and then getting a memory or “aha” moment sometime later? Wondering why something is the way it is, then thoughts moving on to something else while the SC processes? You seem to be saying to not even have the answer “coming from the SC, later”, just thinking it through seamlessly.

I don't get your "am I hungry" example. You can tell if you’re hungry or thirsty, you get bodily sensations that tell you so. I don’t respond if it isn’t convenient and I can actually ignore those signals for some time (an old colleague affectionately told me, "you have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat") - until I suddenly realise near the end of the day, that I’m ravenous. How do you do that seamless dialogue? Are we back to the filter again?

Okay, but why is she rolling her eyes? We’re not talking about anything crazy here, just making up your mind. I’m not saying “you can change your body temperature with the power of your mind!” or anything crazy like that — just that you can ask yourself questions like “are you okay?” and actually expect to reflect and achieve consistency between how things seem and how they seem like they ought to seem.

I think the eye-rolling is about whether the ideomotor signals really are SC and not just wishful thinking and consciously controlled. It’s also about the idea that making decisions about things can actually achieve *physical* changes. I understand how changing your perception of something can change your experience of it (the jump from “intolerably hot” to “uncomfy, but tolerable”, then to “hot but not uncomfy) but not how that will change the physical thing itself.

And from there you might find that some of those things that seem like fundamental “sensations” are actually your brains interpretations of temperature errors, and if that turns out to be the case and what felt like “sensations” are really more like “beliefs”, then why should it be hard to look at the territory and keep accurate beliefs there too?

The answer is in this somewhere. Is this where my brain is filling in the gaps? Getting some faulty signal, then filling in “oh, that must mean the body is too hot, initiate vasomotor response” without looking at the actual signal and going, ”but hold on, that doesn’t actually make sense, because body temperature has a normal range within which I don’t have to do anything”?

Or do you mean “I feel too hot” could actually be “I just believe I’m getting too hot even though I’m not?” Tell myself, I might be getting hot but not to believe I am getting so hot as to need to sweat? Or is it irrelevant whether or not I can do that, but just focus on how it would be if I could?

There are certainly a lot of “if”s, but none of them are unreasonable or necessary. You still have to figure out what you can actually do (and then do it), but “realize that I’m okay when I’m okay” is certainly doable, and is all that’s really necessary.

Yes, it’s doable and I *am* okay when I’m okay. A physical change has happened, that’s undeniable. It’s as if some “magic” happened (it’s the SC! :D ) and I’m astonished that it’s so powerful. But why only some of the time, if the question and answer are the same? I still want to get to where I don’t have to wake up in the night 1-3 times to cool off. Maybe that will happen by “magic” too, but if it doesn’t, I’d like to know how to make it happen. (I’m asleep, so how? I’ve considered buying a lighter duvet (common sense works, too!) but the (already thin summer) one I have, is right for when I’m not flushing, or I’d be cold while sleeping.)

Oh cool, so you can provoke them!

It seems I can, yes, by being in a hotter-than-comfortable environment. I’m off the hook with the sauna; those things give me headaches, anyway. It will be very, very interesting to see what happens when summer comes. Aircons that blow cold are very rare here. I have a fan at home and one here, but haven’t used them for weeks.

“It is intolerably hot”->”actually, it’s just a feeling that I don’t have to be uncomfortable with” is a jump you’ve made already, in at least some of the cases. This is one example. The feeling says “it fundamentally is intolerably hot!”, and you can point your attention in the direction of “is it intolerable, though? Can’t I just experience it as a thing and not be perturbed by it?” and you find “why yes, I can!” — which is not the same color you were originally interpreting the sky as being. [...]

You can extend this further, focusing in on the new perception of the sensory data you get. Maybe instead of “it is intolerably hot” you’re just getting “my body is hotter than it should be, and this calls for maxing out our sweat production and urges to cool off, etc”. Is it, though? Is your body too hot? Because if you can look at that — staying associated — and get a “...no, actually this is fine”, then that’s when your body is going to chill out with the overzealous attempts to cool you, and your thermal regulation zone will be widened.

Maybe I *am* stuck with the few that still happen, but if some have gone, then why not the rest? How are they different? I’m still breaking a sweat with those that remain. Since you wrote this, I’ve been focusing on them, staying very much associated, and going “no actually, this is fine” (which it *is* at the start) but then it builds up beyond “this is fine” and goes to “too much now, have to sweat to cool off”. I don’t sweat overzealously, it doesn’t max out, but it breaks nevertheless; it still overshoots that point. There’s a step further I need to go. “No, my body isn’t *too* hot, I don't need to sweat” isn’t working….

If it’s working at all for them, you can always play with those suggestions yourself. If you want to actually get control of the system and reliably get optimal results, it’s better to actually introspect and find what’s going on, which sounds a lot more like “narrowed thermo-neutral zone, and occasional overshoots” than “not enough coooolll, man!”. The former approach is likely to help to the extent that you actually manage to take the time and shake your attention off the other thing to remind yourself how you want to feel.

I agree, but how do you just not sweat? I know I won’t overheat. I know it isn’t necessary to sweat. The small and rapid sweats that happen now aren’t enough to make much of a cooling difference anyway, so why bother to sweat at all? It doesn’t make sense, but tell that to my brain….

Taking control of the thermoregulation is something that can just become your new default. […] now there are a lot of contexts where I will get really cold before I bother to do anything about it […] It’s not something that takes any effort or even a “I should be comfortable”, it’s just the thing that happens sometimes.


That’s what’s so odd to me. I’m not doing anything to make them not happen in the day. It just happens (or rather, it doesn't). Having come this far, it would seem I’m at the level of frequency/severity that most others my age are, and not an outlier anymore, but now I want to see just how far I can push this. I want an unbroken night’s sleep, dammit.

moonlightress wrote:See, interference is a thing, not just “feeling hot”.

Sure, whining about non-problems can definitely interfere with things :P

‘Cocky and obnoxious’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. ..;) Whining? Non-problem? It’s from a *clinical study*, man. UF sells hypnosis recordings for it. I’m *this* close to saying, if it was males who got them…..! But since you’ve taken the time to keep patiently explaining stuff for so long now, it just made me burst out laughing. (It *was* a good, if dismissive, comeback.) After I read it, I’d planned to write, “Please speak up, I can’t hear you volunteering to do my laundry” ;) but hanging in with this C&O has actually produced less laundry now, so I’ll let this one slide. :lol:
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#13

Postby jimmyh » Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:36 pm

I’ve been sitting on this for about two weeks now, because it’s just been too good to be true. It’s the “freaky magic hypnosis” stuff from the start of the thread; the “corners” you were talking about. I wanted to wait until it was happening reliably and not just on the odd day.


Well, congratulations. That sounds like that must be both exciting and a relief.

I’m still getting the usual 2-3 night-time ones, that wake me up [...] (How do I tackle them when I’m asleep?)


That’s a good question. Waking up is interesting because when you pay attention you can start to notice the background things being loaded into your mind. An acquaintance once told me about how her boyfriend was able to quickly stop bleeding intentionally, but that when he’d fall asleep often he’d start bleeding again. It seems like what’s going on in cases like this is that you’re operating on something that ends up getting dropped for sleep, and then without that layer of regulation going on, you revert to the old process and therefore the old results.

Another interesting thing is to notice which things wake us up and why. I’m a “heavy sleeper” in the sense that my wife’s alarm can go off and she can literally climb over me to get out of bed and it *never* wakes me up. However, the night we were waiting for the bear to come back into camp, somehow I found myself able to wake up to even the slightest noises from little foxes running around. Similarly, I have no problem waking up to *my own* alarm, even when it starts out very quietly and I’m sleep deprived from experimenting with polyphasic sleep. It’s just that my brain is discriminating between “this isn’t worth waking up for” and “this is”.

This can be changed through conscious intention. When I was first figuring out how suggestion works, I had the idea to ask my wife to remind me to turn the oven off when I got in bed, knowing that she’d be asleep when I did. Her first response was to object that she *couldn’t*, because she’d be asleep. When I assured her that it’d be okay if she failed, but to tell me that she would anyway, she did — and then when I got in bed, she reminded me. She had no memory of it the next day and almost didn’t believe me, but simply the act of saying “Okay, I’ll remind you to turn the oven off when you get in bed” as if she meant it was enough to set the intention so that her brain was waiting for that cue to remind me, even though she had dropped everything else and went to sleep. Similarly, I bet you can imagine setting the intention to be a light sleeper if you knew a bear was likely to visit camp, even though it probably wouldn't feel like a conscious decision to do so.

If I had to guess, being on the alert for too many things and refraining from dropping some new programs probably impacts the restfulness of ones sleep to some extent. However, I’d also bet that this largely goes away once it’s more of a well worn pattern than a “thing to have to remember to do”. Instead of “forgetting about it” at night, I’d just try going to bed with the reminder that you’re probably going to get heat fluctuations at night too, and that it’s still likely to be okay enough to not bother waking up for or sweating about (literally and otherwise).

I don't know why this is still difficult; it really shouldn't be. It’s all my own mind; why do we humans just love to categorise? It's as if it’s just a realisation away and I can’t see why it’s difficult. How do you do that? Why/how is it different from the inner dialogue one has, eg “why am I so upset about this issue, what is it about it, that gets to me so much?” and then getting a memory or “aha” moment sometime later? Wondering why something is the way it is, then thoughts moving on to something else while the SC processes? You seem to be saying to not even have the answer “coming from the SC, later”, just thinking it through seamlessly.


It can be “later” too. Or you can sit there for a while until it does — it just depends on how available the answer is. Those ideomotor signals don’t always come instantly either, you know.

I don't get your "am I hungry" example. You can tell if you’re hungry or thirsty, you get bodily sensations that tell you so.

What makes you think there aren’t sensations for these other things that you haven’t noticed yet? Have you noticed that the “hunger” sensation is actually a collection of various different sensations like “empty stomach”,”low blood sugar”,”need for protein”/etc? Haven’t you had the experience where your stomach feels a bit off and you have to try to figure out whether these feelings mean “hungry” or “do *not* eat” or something else?

Or think about how you figure out if you want to go to the movies with your friends -- or if you want to go jump in the frozen lake when you’re having a hot flash. You go forward into that simulated experience, feel the coolness, feel the goodness of the coolness, feel the excitement in anticipation of the goodness of the coolness, and say “yeah, I want that!”. It can all happen in a flash and it’s easy to miss, but when you zoom in on things that’s what’s actually going on when we figure out if we want things — looking at sensations that imagining them produces. Looking a bit further, we can question whether our initial reaction is the correct one, or if maybe we’re wrong about one of those connections.

I think the eye-rolling is about whether the ideomotor signals really are SC and not just wishful thinking and consciously controlled.
Oh, well that is worthy of eye rolling. You’re definitely being a little silly playing with those training wheels of yours, since it’s part of you, not some imaginary friend inside your head.

That’s okay though, it’s a *productive* silly, unlike the silly of thinking that bike riding is impossible.

It’s also about the idea that making decisions about things can actually achieve *physical* changes. I understand how changing your perception of something can change your experience of it (the jump from “intolerably hot” to “uncomfy, but tolerable”, then to “hot but not uncomfy) but not how that will change the physical thing itself.


But you understand how “feeling hot” will change the physical things like “I’m wearing a jacket”, right? You just take the jacket off when you no longer feel like it’d be a good thing to keep wearing. It’s not weird that your brain would coordinate with your body to use its biomechanical actuators to remove excess clothing to help with regulating to it’s desired setpoint.

It’s only weird because we’re not used to the idea that we can “consciously” control the other actuators we have to influence physical things. It’s harder to watch ourselves constricting and expanding blood vessels, sweat pores, and the like, so it’s harder to associate the inputs with the outputs and be able to reflect on when our behavior isn’t making sense (“doing things consciously”).

However, that does not mean we lack the actuators or that they are not being controlled by a regulating system. It just means we’re not used to being in touch with that control panel. It’s not crazy to think that we might be able to do that the same way we’ve learned to use our skeletal muscles, but it’s also going to come with limitations just as our skeletal muscles do. Not just in “output” like “I can only lift X pounds”/”I can only output Y liters/hour of sweat which can only remove Z watts of heat”, but also mental limitations. Our brains limit the output of our muscles to protect ourselves, so often even when we think we’re giving it “100%”, we’re actually holding back. The Oxford Handbook of Hypnosis talks about this a bit, but perhaps the most obvious case is when we have a hurt shoulder or something that gets “weak”. A large part of that “weakness” is a self protection impulse, and if you get assurance from the doctor who just scanned your shoulder with an ultrasound that there is no tear, that strength can come back *immediately*. So just because we get *some* ability to reflectively change the desired output of our actuators, it doesn’t mean we’ll get their *full* capacity right away. That, again, is simply a matter of working towards coherence, which doesn’t seem that crazy to me.

And from there you might find that some of those things that seem like fundamental “sensations” are actually your brains interpretations of temperature errors, and if that turns out to be the case and what felt like “sensations” are really more like “beliefs”, then why should it be hard to look at the territory and keep accurate beliefs there too?

The answer is in this somewhere. Is this where my brain is filling in the gaps? Getting some faulty signal, then filling in “oh, that must mean the body is too hot, initiate vasomotor response” without looking at the actual signal and going, ”but hold on, that doesn’t actually make sense, because body temperature has a normal range within which I don’t have to do anything”?

Or do you mean “I feel too hot” could actually be “I just believe I’m getting too hot even though I’m not?” Tell myself, I might be getting hot but not to believe I am getting so hot as to need to sweat? Or is it irrelevant whether or not I can do that, but just focus on how it would be if I could?


We can anthropomorphize simple control systems like a bimetallic strip thermostat by saying that the system as a whole “wants” the temperature to remain constant. Perhaps more precisely, we could stay that the thermostat thinks it should turn the AC on when the temperature gets above a certain temperature. Of course, it’s not like there’s some english speaking ghost in the machine saying “here’s why I think the AC should turn on..”, and there isn’t any sort of self reflection going on at all. However, there *is* a process looking at the temperature and actively correcting that to keep the temperature in a certain spot. If we see a person (or animal) moving a ball back to the same spot every time it rolls away, we’d say that this person/animal *wants* the ball to be in that spot — and this is true even if they don’t have the mental faculties to reflect on this and endorse it. In this sense, the curvature of the bimetallic strip or that sense that the ball is “out of place” can function like “beliefs”. Not as a “thing we tell ourself we believe”, but as a model of the outside world and its difference from what we’d like it to be.

If you know nothing about how thermostats work, the thingy bending just means the thingy is bending. Similarly, the feeling of hunger is just a feeling of hunger and pain is just pain. However, when you start to understand the structure of the control systems, you can start to see the curvature of the bimetallic strip as the “belief” the thermostat has about the ambient temperature, and the relative position of the contact as the “belief” it has about where the cutoff should be — because as you start to change your mind about where the cutoff should be you automatically begin changing the relative positions to match. Sometimes this comes naturally, and like when our feelings of disgust directly form our perceptions of right and wrong. When people say things like “I believe X is wrong”, often what they really mean is “the idea of X provokes a certain set of feelings in me, which I interpret to mean that X is wrong” — usually without awareness that they’re making this connection and reasoning in this way. That doesn’t mean that the statement “X is wrong” is wrong, just that this is often how it’s computed.

As you start to introspect and reverse engineer yourself, often things which start out seeming like “just sensations” end up looking more like embodied parts of our beliefs, and become modifiable as we do. Instead of “that hurts, and I don’t like the pain”, it’s “wow, my leg is damaged, and I don’t like that my leg is damaged”, and the sensation of pain itself becomes a complete non-issue because desiring to not feel pain transforms from “a completely normal thing to want” to the very strange desire to have incorrect perceptions of reality — like saying “it’s raining, but I don’t want to believe it is”. It’s not that the physical sensation itself feels any different, it’s just that when it has a different meaning you respond to it differently and that same sensation of pain can now exist free of aversion. Instead of “this sensation that’s bad and I don’t like” it’s just part of your brain and body’s beliefs about the state of your leg, and nothing to fret over (beyond just fretting about the state of your leg *itself*, maybe). Just like how it feels like something to have the thought “I think my leg is broken”, it feels like something to have your nerves firing, and for that to be interpreted as actual damage, and so on and so forth.


Yes, it’s doable and I *am* okay when I’m okay. A physical change has happened, that’s undeniable. It’s as if some “magic” happened (it’s the SC! ) and I’m astonished that it’s so powerful. But why only some of the time, if the question and answer are the same?


Just because you’re consciously convinced that the answer is the same doesn’t mean you’re always going to be just as convincing when you tell yourself that the answer is the same.

Maybe I *am* stuck with the few that still happen, but if some have gone, then why not the rest? How are they different? I’m still breaking a sweat with those that remain. Since you wrote this, I’ve been focusing on them, staying very much associated, and going “no actually, this is fine” (which it *is* at the start) but then it builds up beyond “this is fine” and goes to “too much now, have to sweat to cool off”. I don’t sweat overzealously, it doesn’t max out, but it breaks nevertheless; it still overshoots that point. There’s a step further I need to go. “No, my body isn’t *too* hot, I don't need to sweat” isn’t working….


It sounds like you’re getting to the point of losing credibility and pushing for things which are currently beyond the trust you have to invest. If you have someone encouraging you with “you’re fine :)” it’ll help at first, but at some point if they don’t seem to notice you struggle and show no sign of ever saying anything *else*, it starts to become hard to believe them. “When wouldn’t you say that!?”. If you get into that situation, no matter how much or how strongly you reassure “you’re fine” it won’t help because the issue is no longer “they don’t realize you think they’re fine” it’s “they do not trust your judgement of what ‘fine’ is”. In those cases, you stop telling people what’s fine and what’s not. Instead, help give them some room to relax and not tolerate the questionably tolerable and inquire with curiosity into the fineness or lack thereof. If it’s not fine, why not? In what way are things not fine, and how do we know that?

If you do that, one of two things will happen. 1) you will learn how things actually aren’t fine, and therefore know not to keep pushing things, or 2) you will help them realize that things are *still* fine, and that you were right once again. Either way is a win. Additionally, either way the person will start to trust you a lot more, since now they can see that you care and are open to their perspective.

I agree, but how do you just not sweat? I know I won’t overheat. I know it isn’t necessary to sweat. The small and rapid sweats that happen now aren’t enough to make much of a cooling difference anyway, so why bother to sweat at all? It doesn’t make sense, but tell that to my brain….


By not feeling too hot. You can’t override the impulse to sweat the way you can override the impulse to take your jacket off (I mean you personally, at this moment. I see no reason why it shouldn’t be possible for one to acquire that skill) so you have to not want to cool off. Meaning, you look at the question “am I too hot?” and actually find the answer to be that sweating isn’t necessary. Of course, this isn’t a “telling yourself” thing so much as it is a “seeing” thing. Looking at the sky and all that.

‘Cocky and obnoxious’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. ..

Cocky, obnoxious, and… right? Transcendent? Hopefully I’m living up to my new nickname :P

In all seriousness though, I do mean it. Whining about non-problems *does* interfere with things. It’s just not true that “whining about non-problems” is this trivial issue to be looked down upon, or which can only happen to big babies. I fully expect that getting stung by a tarantula hawk, for example, will mess with my ability to focus and perform well on various tasks. At the same time though, it’d just be my brain “whining” (“screaming”?) about a complete non-issue, and a more masterful handling of incoming sensory data would relegate that information to the background and correctly identify it as “not a problem”.

This kind of thing also becomes much harder the less mental resources you have to spend on it. Just like it can be a bigger issue when you’re asleep than when you’re awake, it can be a bigger issue when you’re stressed/preoccupied/etc. I don’t think I get motion sickness anymore unless I’m sleep deprived, but when I’m low on sleep I’m quite sensitive to it and my only option is to just shut down. Normally I’m pretty comfortable with temperature swings, but when I had the stomach flu I felt pretty uncomfortable and sweaty when the fever was breaking even though I absolutely knew that I wasn’t too hot. It’s just that I was just too busy dealing with much bigger sources of misery to even care about the fact that I was mildly uncomfortable about this other thing *too*.
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#14

Postby moonlightress » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:45 pm

I'm writing a reply, but just this for now:

This kind of thing also becomes much harder the less mental resources you have to spend on it. Just like it can be a bigger issue when you’re asleep than when you’re awake, it can be a bigger issue when you’re stressed/preoccupied/etc.


This explains a lot about the difficulty. Like a *whole* lot; because I am heading into finals now: written exam next week, then oral exam in 2 weeks. So this'll change once I get some emotional and cognitive energy back.
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