Mindfulness- awareness+focus. Our “attentional spotlight”. This is sometimes referred to as our “6th sense”
Exteroception- (outer range) Signals around me. What is happening around me? The work of trackers, hunters, bodygaurds, etc.
Proprioception- (immediate/lose range) Signals upon me. Where is my body in space? The work of physical therapists, coaches, etc.
Interception- (inner range) Signals within me. What is happening inside of me?
All 3 Modes of Mindfulness Require:
1)Let go of any predictions of what we’ll encounter.
2)Resist becoming “fixed” on a particular sensation.
3)Turn down our mental chatter or narrative.
“What’s the relevance of interoceptive awareness to our health and well-being? It turns out that many illnesses—anxiety, depression, gut disorders, eating disorders, and more—are diseases of disembodiment. In these illnesses, awareness becomes skewed. In chronic pain syndromes, for example, we tend to predict what we’ll encounter, but to remain there ruminating about it. “I think that shoulder pain’s about to start up,” we might say. “Yep, there it is. In five minutes it’s gonna feel sharp, like it always does, and then I’ll get that stabbing pain that lasts for hours.” Then we stay in that same area of the shoulder, refusing to move our attention. Should the pain actually let up, it creates a cognitive dissonance. We feel a disparity between the identity of pain and freedom from pain. The freedom is actually harder to integrate; it’s at odds with our pain-centered self-concept. Our mind cancels out the comfort, and wires the pain response in further.”
Distressed interoception and altered insular processing is associated with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, alexythymia (emotional blindness), schizophrenic disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and possibly fibromyalgia. It has been proposed that the neural pathways associated with interoception may be considered as a potential correlate for consciousness (Craig, 2009). The sensory receptors for interoception are free nerve endings, most of which are located in fascial tissues throughout the human body. It is helpful to understand that proprioception and interoception are organized differently in the human brain and that very different afferent pathways are involved in them. Figure 3 shows some conditions that tend to be affected by distressed proprioception and interoception.