Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bliss Pointing


As researchers in psycho-physics know, almost all human processes and behaviours have a ‘bliss point’. Indeed, sensory satisfaction is largely driven by the bliss point phenomenon. What is a bliss point? It’s the optimum sensation or experience that results when the level of a constituent is ‘just right’ – neither too low nor too high. Our physiology is evolved to search for and maximise these bliss points.

For example, with sweet foods our palate is optimised for a certain level of sweetness. Too little sugar and the dessert tastes bland, too much sugar and it tastes sickly.

Similarly, there are optimum levels for brightness and other forms of sensory stimulation.

The import of this for understanding and overcoming life denying greed involves finding and maintaining the bliss points in your life.

The challenge...

You see, the challenge is that the human nervous system is built around the use of hormones and receptors to control and communicate within the system. Our body continually adjusts the amount of these chemicals and the number of receptors based on our ongoing experience.

Let’s look at an example. There is an optimal bliss point level for the amount of endogenous opiate (endorphin) receptors in our tissues. These are used in the control and signalling of pain and pleasure. However, when a person floods their body and brain with an opiate like the drug heroin, over time the body down regulates the amount of endogenous opiate that is produced and the number of receptors that respond to it.

In other words, the system attempts to maintain the evolved bliss point for internal opiates. Then when the person tries to give up the drug, they find themselves in terrible withdrawals, in massive pain and heightened response to normal stimuli. Even the slightest touch becomes painful, because their body can no longer produce sufficient endorphins to control the pain signals.

During the addiction phase, it takes more and more of the drug to produce the high, as the body continues to down-regulate the response to maintain the bliss point – the point of optimal opiate response. During the withdrawal phase, it takes many weeks or months for the body to regrow the receptors and the ability to produce and respond to internal opiates, as it once again attempts to maintain the bliss point.

Do bliss pointing!

The “take home” message about bliss pointing, is that to maintain optimal enjoyment from any experience in life, you need to carefully manage not to flood your system. If you have too much of anything, you will overflow the inbuilt bliss point and your body will down-regulate its response. You need to give everything a rest. Moderation in all things is the key.

You will only be able to maintain the life enhancing bliss point of happiness in your life if you carefully manage your behaviours and experiences so that you never continuously over-do or continuously over-indulge. Your wonderful brain/mind/body is like a garden, the plants need just the right amount of water and nutrients; too much or too little and the plants wilt and suffer.

So track for the bliss points in your life and carefully manage and maintain them. Remember: use moderation in all areas of your life. Your ongoing happiness depends upon it.

Thinking Tools – Moderating your Life
Moderation in ALL things!


optimal thoughts and life enhancing wishes
Grant

7 comments:

  1. Grant, I've never seen the case made for moderation in quite this way before. How interesting to look at it from this angle!

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  2. Hey Jean, yes you are so right, most people just don't realise how much of life, and how much of their biology is dependent and controlled by evolved bliss points. In fact, as far as I can tell, there is only one process that doesn't have a bliss point, everything else does!

    And once you understand the importance of bliss pointing, the case for moderation is so obvious.

    Thanks for continuing to read the blog and make the time to share your thoughts and comments. I wish more of my readers would give the gift of a comment occasionally :)

    great wishes and smiles
    Grant

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  4. Love this buddy. Perfect learning for CC in a couple of weeks. Matt.

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    2. Matt, saw a great flip behind you recently on Bliss Pointing. Can you send me a copy of it. It looked Fabulous. Thank you! Dara

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  5. Yes thank you Grant. Perfect learning, always very helpful to have these resources. Thank you! Dara

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