Method Overview
Basic Tenet of Vittoz: Mind Management

The Concept of “Managing one’s own mind.”
Dr. Vittoz identified a common thread among all the his clients:  the lack of proper mind management.
“Managing one’s own mind,”  as he described it,  is the innate capacity of the human mind to balance:

  1. the influx of the nervous system to receive sensory stimuli, called receptive thought, and
  2. the mind’s ability to process that input, called emissive thought
    In balancing the influx of sensory stimuli and the processing of that stimuli, humans are in a position to manage the two as they choose.  They are no longer victims of or dependent upon the thoughts which occur to them.  They can balance input and processing of that input, they become healthier and happier. 
    To balance the two is natural. 
    To lose that balance is common in the Western world. 
    Regaining that balance is not difficult.

Important Vocabulary:  “Receptive” and “Emissive” thought

Receptive thought is the capacity to consciously receive the messages of the world around us, outside stimuli received through the five senses, (sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing) as well as the messages sent to us by our own bodies, physiological messages such as pressure or heat on the skin’s surface, or on an internal organ.

Emissive thought is the ability humans have to constantly put thoughts together from input from various sources, (personal history, feelings, judgments, education,) processing this input and coming to conclusions.

In order to regain emissive thought patterns which are fluid, flexible, efficient and controlled at will, folks must first be able to distinguish what stimuli are received by the five senses and by the body.

Healthy Mind Management

Normal people who live relatively happy and well-adjusted lives experience mind management automatically and spontaneously.  They take the time to experience the things they do, to drink in the world around them.  As a result, they are able to process this information and to function as human beings in some harmonious fashion which suits them.   They tend to finish what they start, show flexibility in their dealings with others, and fully experience their various emotions without being invaded or controlled by them.  They make decisions in a straightforward fashion without undue strain most of the time. 

On the other hand, when people fall into habits which Vittoz called “poor mind management,”  sensory stimuli input has a tendency to be fleeting and even to disappear.  People don’t notice what they hear or what they see as they move through the day.  This failure to consciously process sensory input deprives folks of the considerable pleasure that input affords, and leaves in its place chaotic receptive thought patterns. 

Sensory input in humans is meant to function as a steering mechanism for making good decisions:   “Do I see a bus arriving on the left?  Shall I cross the street?  No!”  or, “Was that a look of disgust on my friend’s face?  How shall I respond?”   Without conscious sensory input, folks function without full aid of that steering mechanism.  No one’s in charge.  People forget where they parked their cars, and do not “hear” what folks say to them.

To complicate matters, unconscious sensory input turns around in circles in the mind, invading the conscious mind as repetitive, incoherent thought without end or satisfaction.

Results of the mismanaged mind

A person may, as a result, feel agitated and stretched thin.  People experiencing poor mind management start many projects without bringing them to term.  They become preoccupied, and may have trouble making decisions.  Constant worry about many things can be a problem, and can lead people to painfully and systematically deform their interactions with others, misunderstanding the meaning behind the statements others make to them.  That’s tiring, psychologically and physically, and gives rise to mental space for all the emotional troubles of the past to resurface, recycling them again and again without the ability to move on.

Physical symptoms may also be present :  heart palpitations, muscle spasms, circulatory system or digestive difficulties, sexual malfunction, or physical pain of various kinds.

Psychological troubles many times include difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, or constant doubt or anxiety.

The Vittoz method asserts that these symptoms are often the consequence of the absence of equilibrium of emissive and receptive thought patterns.

The steps in a full series of Vittoz exercises include:

  1. Re-establishing Sensory Reception: Living in the present moment in contact with ones body and with the world.
  1.  Daily Practice: Living consciously in the here-and-now.
  1.  Clear Thinking:Developing powers of concentration.

  2. Handling the Will: 
    Living with freedom of choice.

  3. Relaxation Techniques
    Living holistically as a union of mind, body and spirit.

  4. Psychological therapeutic implications
    Living with emotions in a straightforward fashion.

  5. Physiological verification: Vittoz, EEG’s, MRI’s and Neuroplasticity
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