[Book Draft: 2nd Edition]
Chapter Two: The Theory:
How can something this fast and fun work so well?
The Primary Features of ASC
There are four primary features about the ASC routine that I believe make it unique from most types of self-help therapies or routines designed to elevate mood and eliminate unwanted habits, compulsions and addictions.
The first unique concept about the ASC routine is that it's specifically designed to create elevated positive emotion and even a mild temporary, brief state of euphoria. A "natural high" if you will. Some would describe this type of high as a "runners high" or a "stage-performers high". This temporary altered-state of consciousness has various technical names including euphoria and hyperthymia.
To create elevated positive emotion (and hopefully the added plus of euphoria if desired), ASC uses a very specific mental/behavioral routine over a period of time (initially 30-50 minutes but with the potential to reduce the time needed to under 5 minutes). As the routine progresses there is a slow, continual elevation of positive emotion.
To create positive emotion and euphoria much more quickly (sometimes literally in seconds), ASC combines the first unique mental-behavioral routine with a completely new and revolutionary conditioning-learning-biofeedback technique designed to evoke one or more episodes of "frisson" (commonly known as "cold chills", "chills", "shudders “thrills”, "rushes" or "endorphin rushes").
The episodes of frisson evoked by Accelerated-State Conditioning are normally the pleasurable types like you might get listening to a favorite piece of music, hearing some extremely favorable news, etc..
With practice, a person can evoke multiple episodes of frisson within minutes (even seconds), which can produce a much more pronounced and dramatic elevation in positive emotion as opposed to the first method outlined. For this reason I advertise the routine as taking only five minutes or less.
According to many scientific studies, elevated positive emotion, has been associated with a wide range of natural chemicals in the brain and body such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and the endorphins.
An ASC “High” is Not a Hypomanic or Manic State!
Now let me emphasize, the "high" created with the ASC routine is not a manic state. It is however a mild euphoric or hypothymic state. And, I do not allow myself to maintain this state of euphoria for more than a few minutes. (However, in the past, to combat severe depression, I have used the routine for much longer periods). The way I’ve "come off the euphoric high" is with relaxation techniques. I’ve studied many relaxation techniques extensively and developed some new ones of my own later in the book. These stimulus-reducing techniques allow me the ability to calm down quickly after performing the routine.
After doing the ASC routine and then calming down to a normal mood I find myself energized, motivated and in a great mood which lasts for hours, even days!
Some Notes on the Highs Created with ASC
To repeat, the "high" created with the ASC routine is not a manic state (defined as having extended manic episodes or psychotic breaks or a loss of identity). And, I do not maintain this euphoric state for more than 5 minutes per day as a rule.
Of course some rare people are often in a more pronounced "altered state of consciousness" called hypomania much of the time, but they are the exception, and many of them will frequently go into long periods of depression as a result of staying at this elevated mood level for extended periods of time.
But again, the idea of the ASC routine is to put myself into this mild euphoric state for just a few minutes a day. Just long enough to alter my state of consciousness to experience the benefits of the routine (elevated mood and positive changes in behavior (habits). Then, the goal is to drop back to a more level and sustainable mood at the end of the 5-minute routine.
The benefits of the temporary elevation in positive emotion are many but the primary one, to focus on here, is that this routine can (once fully learned, which takes time) be performed in minutes. It has the potential to leave an “after effect of elevated mood” that can last for literally hours at a time.
Even if you have a lot of negative things happening simultaneously you can find yourself staying in a good mood. The old saying “water off of a ducks back” comes to mind, because your elevated mood sort of “insulates” you from reacting negatively to current events. You just sort of find yourself able to handle things better emotionally when you in the good mood created by your brief ASC morning
Dopamine is Associated with Frisson
I know that there is an association between chills and elevated mood but what is the physiological cause? One cause may be elevated levels of dopamine, the chemical associated with pleasure. A recent study led by McMillan University’s Valerie Salivation (1) demonstrates that the "chills" elicited by listening to music are associated with elevated levels of dopamine. Therefore, I think it's a reasonable assumption that the "chills" induced by the ASC routine are thereby associated with elevated dopamine levels.
Creating a Natural High is Optional
Now I certainly don’t feel I have to be depressed to benefit from Accelerated- State Conditioning. Even though I no longer have significant mood swings I feel I can still benefit dramatically by using the routine to reprogram my subconscious mind. I still want to change, add, or altering personality features, such as unwanted habits, compulsions, addictions, etc.. I still want to reduce occasional pain and boost my immune system as outlined below.
Personal Experiences Regarding the Highs
As stated, the euphoria I'm describing above is “intense”! As I've said, what I've developed with ASC, is the ability to open the positive emotional-chemical floodgates of the mind and use the body's ability to create many brain-made (and body-made), mood-elevating chemicals in an extremely short period of time.
To repeat, with Accelerated-State Conditioning, I've learned that I have the ability to create a dopamine/endorphin rush or chill at the end of every single sentence I repeat out loud! In other words, I can deliberately induce a surge of natural, "chemicals of positive emotion", every few seconds, during this routine. The resulting euphoria is evidenced by goosebumps (some call it gooseflesh) on the arms and legs, and feelings of ecstasy and extreme well-being. All of a sud-den, I feel even more alive than normal and profoundly present. Everything looks new, and fresh. Colors are bolder, odors are strong-er. Cares and concerns can seem to melt away and I’m completely focused on the "here and now"!
ASC's Subconscious Programming Feature is
Stronger & Faster When Mood is Elevated
The second unique concept of Accelerated-State Conditioning is that, in my opinion, the learning (conditioning, and re-programming, that takes place during the routine, while excited (mildly euphoric), is much more effective and permanent than any learning that occurs while doing similar motivational routines in a calm or relaxed mood!
Now, scientific research is starting to support my 30 year belief. For example, in Nature magazine (1997;385:533-536), research was described showing that when there is strong emotion present, the brain is flooded with protein, which enhances any memory laid down within a 90-minute period. The repetition of positive affirmations (a sub-component of the ASC routine and described below), theoretically works by creating new memories, which gain strength over undesirable memories.
This makes a lot of sense on a purely practical note. Just think back over the strongest memories you’ve had and you will probably recall that you were extremely emotional (e.g. excited, angry, happy, fearful, etc.) at the time your strongest memories were created. Some motivational speakers talk about this phenomenon, but the 5-minute daily ASC routine offers a practical, efficient, quick and easy way to put this knowledge to use.
Positive Affirmations Used for Permanently Changing
Behavior (Habits) Need to be Believable & Specific!
The third unique concept of Accelerated-State Conditioning is as follows; I believe that the well established practice of repeating positive affirmations, (again, one of the many sub-components of the ASC routine), works best (for both elevating mood and changing behavior long-term) when the statements are “truly believed", and not just mouthed in a half-hearted hopes that you will become that which you mimic!
Therefore, the choice of words and sentences and the order of repeating them are crucial to promote mood elevation through out the routine, as well as permanent behavior change. (This will be elaborated on in Chapter Five which describes the routine in exact detail.
Eventually, with practice, as you repeat positive statements (positive affirmations), you will feel a "endorphin rush" or "chill" nearly every time you repeat a sentence if you use the conditioning technique outlined in Chapter Five. And, during the ASC routine, the amount of positive things you believe about yourself increases, and changes, in quantity and quality, as the routine progresses and your mood elevates.
ASC Takes the Focus off the Negative
Some mental health professionals feel that depression can be primarily a result of bad habit mental habits. Focusing on negative attributes and events, coming to irrational and incorrect negative assumptions and conclusions. Losing our objectivity and then getting stuck, repeating these negatives over and over.
Other professionals believe the genetic component also plays a part (I don't share that opinion personally), but regardless the reason, creating natural anti-depressants (chemicals of positive emotion) with ASC works, just as creating mood-stabilizers and anti-anxiety medications can be done naturally with meditation, reducing stimulation, or monitoring internal dialogue, etc..
ASC Creates Chemicals of Positive Emotion
So, whatever your favorite theory, you have probably noticed that your thoughts and Self-Talk play a role too, and that is what we are manipulating here. In any event, I have every reason to believe the changes to brain and body internal chemistry are enormous during Accelerated-State Conditioning. I'm also convinced that during the ASC routine we are creating many "positive and healthy" chemicals with other beneficial attributes.
Every time someone currently well known in the mental health field, or metaphysical field, opens their mouth, they are talking about the benefits of these chemicals. They speak of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine being associated with feelings of well-being and the reduction of pain.
More recently they are bringing to light newly discovered peptides, and neuro-transmitters that underlie disease. They are frequently discussing disease fighting interleukin, which is associated with strengthening our immune system. The mind and body are perfectly capable of creating all of these chemicals themselves according to all this intense research).
ASC Concepts Are Well Supported
By The Mind-Body Movement
Just look at the mind/body movement both inside and outside of the scientific community and the health industry. Former "hard-core scientists" like neuroscientist Candice Pert, PhD, author of "Molecules of Emotion", and the discoverer of the opiate receptor sites, and Psychologist Paul Pearsall, PhD, author of “Super Joy“ and “Superimmunity“, and many other writers and researchers in both the rapidly expanding field of “Alternative Medicine” and the conventional medical and scientific world are acknowledging the power of the mind and the power of “brain made chemicals” over emotion and health!
And believe me, when you're doing a routine that creates a series of intense rushes or chills every few seconds for several minutes, you're “pumping” unheard of quantities of these chemicals of positive emotion into your system. My personal daily routine normally generates around 15 to 20 "hard rushes” within 1-3 minutes! My dopamine and endorphin levels are probably "off the charts" compared to the average individual at the end of a routine. No wonder, the effects of this routine last for hours and sometimes days on end.
And now, if I'm creating chemicals, within myself, that fight disease, I've got an excellent reason, in and of itself, to be doing this routine. For this reason, I try to do the routine every single day, without fail. To me, it's more important to have these "miracle chemicals" in my bloodstream daily than all the supplemental vitamins and minerals ever made! I just don't like being sick!
Affirmations Work Best With Visualization
The fourth unique aspect of the ASC routine is that affirmations are worded to be believable, specific and are meant to be “visualized” while repeated. The subconscious needs more than words to change programming and habits. It needs to see a picture of what you are trying to change. Thus when you repeat a specific affirmation try to see yourself doing the new behavior.