Hedonic tone is the term given to emotional tones that we feel in the body due to an evaluation of a subject, event or situation. This can occur when we evaluate situations on a subconscious level. The immune system responds to these evaluations and these responses can be emotional or physical and are triggered on an unconscious level.
For example if you were walking in your workplace and noticed a co-worker walking towards you .Who you didn’t get along with. Let’s say the simple sight of this person produced a knot in your stomach and a feeling of anxiety. This would be hedonic tone emerging. Because this feeling emerged without any conscious thought as it was due to an evaluation on a subconscious level.
By practising mindfulness of the body and emotions we can become aware of our subconscious evaluations. Enabling us to address them on a very subtle level before they gain momentum leaving us to address our stress responses to these evaluations when they are overwhelming.
Mindfulness offers one of the most direct ways to reduce stress as we target these stress response and emotional tones head on.
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Self regulation is the ability to change our emotional and mental state. This inturn relaxes one on physiological level.
When we are stressed or anxious we usually find that there are two main ways that we try to self regulate and calm the nervous system down.
- Self Regulating Internally:
The first way that we self-regulate is to attending to ourselves. This can take the form of meditation, self-enquiry, reflecting on our experience and taking some time out to relax or go for a walk.
- Self Regulating externally
The second way we can try to self-regulate is through external sources. That could be spending time with friends to distract ourselves from our pain. Self-medicating through alcohol and drugs or sex and avoiding our internal issues through excessive work.
Obviously the first category of self regulation is more beneficial and this is where mindfulness comes into the picture.
Through learning how to calm our immune system and practice mindfulness we gain and a meta-skill that will help us self-regulate when we are feeling excessive stress and anxiety.
Once we become more accustomed to our internal experience we find out what our emotional triggers are. And how to manage them and ultimately how to live a life that is less stressful and more productive.
Not only is the practice of mindfulness one of self-regulation. It is also one of self-discovery as we learn how to manage ourselves and learn what makes us tick and why.
For more information about Mindfulness, please visit https://www.realitybasedmindfulness.com.au.