The Psychophysiology of Self-Awareness

by Alan Fogel

Infants, before they can speak or conceptualize, learn to move toward what makes them feel good and away from what makes them feel bad.

See the case report by Suzi Tortora for a compelling example, pgs 77-79.

The practice and science of feeling our movements, sensations, and emotions. Embodied self-awareness is the practice and science of our ability to feel our movements, sensations, and emotions. As infants, before we can speak or conceptualize, we learn to move toward what makes us feel good and away from what makes us feel bad. Our ability to continue to develop and cultivate awareness of such body-based feelings and understanding is essential for learning how to successfully navigate in the physical and social world, as well as for avoiding injury and stress. Embodied self-awareness is made possible by neuromotor and neurohormonal pathways between the brain and the rest of the body, pathways that serve the function of using information about body state to maintain optimal health and well being. When these pathways become compromised, primarily as a result of physical injury or psychological stress and trauma, we lose our ability to monitor and regulate our basic body functions. This book explains the neurological basis of embodied self-awareness, how to enhance self-awareness, and how to regain it after injury or trauma.

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