How to take the quiz
Click on the button of the quiz you would like to take. A new window will open in which you will find the quiz. Leave the tab with this page open.
Answer the questions of the quiz.
Click on the button below the quiz to finish it.
You will then receive your test score. Because there are some questions specific for men and women, you will not be able to answer all questions. Therefore the maximum test score is about 90%. The test score will tell you something about the degree of your energy deficiency or your arrested development. Therefore, a 45% test score means that the area in which you tested yourself is operating at about half of its healthy function. But you will not receive a detailed explanation for your questions.
To receive a detailed discussion of the questions, please return to this page by changing the tabs again. You will find a discussion of all questions under each quiz.
Please remember, that a quiz will never be able to fully encompass all aspects of a question appropriately.
Also, you may feel that what I consider to be the “right” answer sets the bar quite high with regard to “normal” human behavior. I consider “normal” behavior to be a part of the problems that we experience individually and as a species. After all, the norm will only mirror the behavior or condition of the majority of the population. Normal does not equal healthy. Integral Evolution, on the other hand, is concerned with the preconditions that enable humans not only to be healthy but to evolve to the best of their potential.
Please do take the quiz in the right order – that way you will best benefit from it and also learn why the Integral Evolution system has been developed the way it is.
Results: Cellular Energy
I will now discuss the questions of the Quiz.
You might be wondering why you will be learning so much about your hormonal system, especially the adrenals when it comes to cellular energy. So I will tell you why: When the adrenal glands are either over or underactive, they are reacting to a lack of cellular energy. The main purpose of the adrenal glands is to keep up functionality while the body is running out of energy. They will mobilize energy reserves and re-route the available energy to body systems that are crucial for immediate survival. Therefore, hormonal problems in general and problems with the adrenal glands especially, are always a sign that there is a lack of cellular energy. I call this state adrenal dominance because once energy becomes scarce, the adrenals will take over the hormone system and also get authority over many tissues of the body putting the body in a State of Survival.
The following symptoms are typical of adrenal dominance and a lack of cellular energy.
Waking up tired and being awake in the evening
This is a sign of a reversal of the cortisol curve, an adrenal hormone. In adrenal dominance, the adrenal cortex initially secretes too much cortisol. Then it depletes and secretes too little cortisol. The transition from one state to the other is the reversal of the cortisol curve. As a result, sufferers often go to bed later and later, or they don’t sleep properly for the first part of the night because the stress hormones won’t calm down (cortisol is an antagonist of melatonin).
Unfortunately, the sleep of the first part of the night is crucial for good regeneration, which is why one should sleep at the latest at 11 pm, even better at 10 pm. Towards the morning the stress hormones rise automatically, this is also the phase in which we dream more. In these morning hours, regeneration is slower than in deep sleep. After a while, this can lead to more oxidative stress, aging, and a lack of regeneration.
If you wake up completely drained, your cortisol is most likely too low in the morning because your adrenal cortex has been exhausted by chronic stress (which equals chronic lack of cellular energy).
If you wake up completely drained, your cortisol is most likely too low in the morning because your adrenal cortex has been exhausted by chronic stress (which equals chronic lack of cellular energy).
If you need a coffee or other stimulants in the morning to get started, the same applies. The coffee will stimulate your adrenals and give you the impression that you have more energy. It basically puts you into a fight-or- flight mode by triggering the excretion of adrenaline (which stimulates your sympathetic nervous system which wakes you up). So basically, you are overriding your body’s signals by deluding yourself about available cellular energy with a drug.
If you want to have a healthy energy system and adrenal glands, you have to eat breakfast. After all, you fasted through the night (break- fast!), which the body can only do without much energy loss because ideally, it uses less energy during sleep (assuming there is also a deep sleep phase…). So, after many hours without any food, the body needs to replenish its energy resources so that the normal morning adrenal high (adrenaline wakes you up, your first steps make you release cortisol) can soon be replaced by the thyroid. The thyroid gland is the adversary of (overactive) adrenals that kicks in as long as there is plenty of cellular energy. But the thyroid doesn’t activate if there isn’t enough blood sugar available. The sugar can either come from stores in the blood or tissue (glycogen) – but these stores are empty in the morning – or from a food intake. Hunger in the morning is a sign that the adrenals are not suppressing hunger (which is what they are supposed to do), in spite of the fact that the body needs energy.
Other hormones are also responsible for the loss of water. Cortisol release, among other things, will prevent the retention of water in the blood (inhibition of antidiuretic hormone). Thus, frequent urination can be seen as a sign of stress. Of course, psychological factors also play a role here. Many people use the toilet as an “escape”, which must also be seen as a stress reaction, of course.
Energy dip 1,5 hours after carbohydrates or sugar
If you have a low about 1.5 hours after eating sweets or lots of carbohydrates, you have actually proven to yourself that you are suffering from blood sugar fluctuations that the adrenal glands can no longer properly compensate for. Indirectly, you now also know that your adrenal glands are generally weakening. After all, blood sugar is a way for the body to transport energy. Therefore, the adrenal glands monitor blood sugar very closely to prevent it from dropping dangerously.
When blood sugar drops, you either need to eat something right away or your adrenals need to mobilize sugar from storage.
Otherwise, you will faint or die after a very short while. You shouldn’t really notice the mobilization of sugar from the depots, though.
If you notice blood sugar fluctuations after eating carbohydrates, you are dealing with what is called “reactive hypoglycemia”, which is closely tied to adrenal dominance. In reactive hypoglycemia, all the blood sugar goes into the cells quickly after a meal through a spike in insulin, while normally blood sugar should go into the cells gradually.
The fatigue itself comes from the fact that now the weakness of the thyroid gland (which comes in tandem with adrenal dominance or fatigue) shows up as soon as the adrenal glands shut down. That is due to the fact that carbohydrates will down-regulate the activity of the adrenals in the short term.
If you trigger this mechanism several times a day by eating too many carbohydrates, you will stimulate your adrenals unnecessarily. They will exhaust themselves or won’t be able to recover if they are already exhausted.
Therefore, it is not a good idea to overcome blood sugar dips by eating even more carbohydrates or drinking coffee. In order to put an end to this cycle, you will have to cut any kind of sugar out of your diet (even healthy sugars and, of course, alcohol) and balance complex carbs with fat and protein.
Otherwise, regulation of blood sugar is simply not possible.
Not being able to tolerate meat is a sign of adrenal stress, since it indicates a lack of stomach acid and also of proteases (protein- splitting enzyme). In the stomach, proteins are normally denatured by the acid and pepsin (protease), then the pancreas in the small intestine adds further enzymes. In this way, protein can be broken down and absorbed well.
However, if gastric acid is missing, the arrival of the food in the small intestine does not trigger a complete release of further enzymes.
The small intestine will become overloaded if the stomach has not worked well in advance.
As a result, the meat is not digested well.
Putrefaction processes can occur, which can also lead to small intestine malabsorption.
Bacterial overgrowth or other problems with the gut flora are often a result of this mechanism (and not the cause). This can lead to digestive discomfort, flatulence, or the feeling of a “brick in the tummy”. Meat is almost the best tolerated of all foods as far as intolerances are concerned. But it is often more difficult to digest compared to other foods (which, in my view, is still not an argument for the vegan diet). However, many people are also unable to digest vegetable protein. This is because stress hormones trigger Survival Mode (fight-or-flight), which is supposed to interrupt digestion. Thus, poor digestion of protein is a good indication that digestion is impeded by too many stress hormones. So the rule is: take 20 minutes of rest before and after meals, take time to eat.
Chew your food thoroughly. In addition, if you have digestive problems, you should get your adrenals back in balance.
Fatty food intolerance
Only a few people tolerate fatty foods without any problems. The intolerance of fats could speak for a strain on the liver (which secretes fat-emulsifying bile acid into the small intestine) or the pancreas (which secretes lipases, fat-splitting enzymes into the small intestine). Again, of course, Survival Mode has an inhibitory effect on digestion. In addition, it is often the case that the liver is burdened by toxins and also estrogen dominance, making its job even more difficult. If energy is lacking, the body can no longer keep up with detoxification. The whole body suffers from this, but especially the liver. In this respect, the intolerance of fats is a good indication of adrenal stress and lack of energy. By the way, you can check for yourself whether you tolerate saturated or unsaturated fats better. Contrary to a widespread opinion, many people tolerate the allegedly “evil” saturated fatty acids much better than polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 6). This would be in line with my findings that omega 6 fatty acids are not as healthy as is usually claimed in society.
There are even researchers who say that too many omega 6 unsaturated fatty acids (corn, soy, flax, etc.) strongly oxidize the body and are also a major cause of aging, as well as adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, and estrogen dominance, as they go rancid quickly.
Exhaustion after moderate exercise
Many people have too little energy for their daily life, let alone for exercise. Unfortunately, many people think that exercise could give them energy in some form because they once felt better after it than before. However, those who feel better after exercise have merely overstimulated their adrenal glands. Exercise should be practiced by those who have extra energy for it. In any case, those who already have too little for their normal life should not do any endurance exercise, even moderate one. Healing and recuperation need plenty of energy that won’t be available if you waste it for exercise.
By the way, exercise won’t help you lose weight if you don’t have enough energy for exercise, to begin with.
If you insist on exercising, you will work off your adrenaline for a short time and feel more relaxed. Adrenaline, by the way, burns fat, which is why you will rather gain weight if you work it off. And then cortisol will kick in (if the adrenal cortex is still able to produce it), which builds up fat deposits and reduces thyroid output (which is meant to increase the basal metabolic rate and ensures regular fat distribution).
Too tired for sex
Many people do not regularly feel like having sex. This is a common symptom of Survival Mode because through it libido is suppressed.
Sex is a preparation for reproduction, which doesn’t make any sense once energy is not bountiful. So, if you only feel like having sex on vacation and at weekends, you are clearly leading too stressful a life. In other words, you are consuming more energy than you produce.
Of course, this will eventually become noticeable through other signs of energy deficiency, such as hormonal problems that will likely manifest at some point.
As long as your periods are not regular, painless, and not excessive, you will very likely have an estrogen dominance (whether or not it has been proven by testing). Estrogen dominance is a consequence of adrenal dominance as a means to prevent reproduction from occurring by down- regulating or opposing progesterone in number. Since the menstrual cycle is also connected to reproduction, it will also be negatively influenced by the Survival Mode.
Lack of nighttime or morning erections
A lack of morning or nighttime erections is usually a harbinger of erectile dysfunction (although this can be years in coming). The same applies here as has been written about libido.
Unfortunately, men are often even much less concerned with their health than women. In addition, everything that concerns a male’s “nether region” is often closely linked to his masculine identity.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that problems are dealt with proactively, on the contrary. The topic is kept quiet and hidden.
In any case, it’s not a discussion that men have in the locker room during sports, where many men like to compare muscles.
Menopause should only be noticeable by the fact that menstruation occurs more irregularly and infrequently, and then stops altogether.
Everything else speaks to stress. The more symptoms, the more stress. Even the frequent hot flash is a problem of fluctuating blood sugar with subsequent adrenaline output (to stabilize blood sugar). Whereby, of course, the psyche also plays a role: menopause has already been called the time for “emotional leftovers”. By the time of menopause, a woman usually has suffered many years of adrenal exhaustion, which is then intensified because the ovaries stop producing progesterone. This gives estrogen free reign, which additionally promotes the release of stress hormones.
In addition, many women have “abused” their menstruation as an alternative detoxification option until menopause and will increasingly litter up in menopause.
In this respect, menopausal symptoms are not a curse, nor are they a mysterious phenomenon once you understand what adrenal fatigue is.
Insufficient muscle building
In Survival Mode, the body eventually starts to digest itself (catabolism). In this respect, muscle building makes little sense. Muscle protein is broken down by the release of stress hormones to produce new blood sugar, which is simply more important for survival than bulging muscles.
If you eat tons of protein and/or overstimulate your muscles locally, you may still see muscle growth. But at what cost to the rest of the body?
Those who secrete and also utilize (the hormones must also arrive in the cells, in order to work) sufficient thyroid hormones, will likely have an adequate basal metabolic rate, a fat distribution without any problem zones, as well as a good physique.
With excess cortisol: Belly fat and spare tires, generally rather overweight.
In case of adrenaline excess: Scrawny, haggard, and sinewy. Can’t put on weight.
With estrogen dominance: large breasts in women, belly fat, saddlebags, man boobs/swollen mammary glands in men (with prolactin excess, of which thyroid hormones are counterparts…) and also spare tires.
Puffiness of any nature is often related to a lack of regulation of cortisol, as well as estrogen dominance.
All cosmetic problems speak for an insufficient supply of nutrients to the body surface and a deficient transport of toxins. In Survival Mode, the blood is centralized by the release of adrenaline and cortisol, so that primarily the vital tissues and organs are supplied. The adrenal glands supervise this centralization.
The surface of the body is neglected because it is not important for survival at first. Initially, pallor (or circumscribed redness) and coldness appear on the skin. Skin, hair, and genitals (men!) go empty. Later, the connective tissues also become clogged. Then the detoxification organs will stop functioning well, forcing the body to release junk through the skin and sweat (pimples, rashes).
Later, wrinkles and all kinds of signs of aging appear.
All this is no rocket science. Once you understand this logic, you can really explain all cosmetic (and many other) problems to yourself in the light of energy scarcity.
The only way out of this dilemma is to make sure that the body has enough energy left to supply all tissues equally with nutrients (which thyroid hormones and progesterone take care of). Of course, substitution with hormones does not really change the energy supply of the body in the cells. Only nutrition can do this. Thus, sooner or later, even with substitution, cosmetic problems will occur.
Weak energy metabolism
Not everyone who thinks they have enough energy actually has enough of it. Stress hormones may give you the impression that you have enough energy. That is their job. But when you are under constant stress, you cheat yourself into thinking that you have enough energy to heal, grow or stay young. If you can perform throughout the day without having a drop in performance, you may have enough energy. In such cases, it may also be that you are simply in a continuous adrenal high due to adrenal dominance. In such a case, the crash will definitely come.
A review of all the points in this section can give you further clues as to whether you are fooling yourself by feeling you have enough energy…Those who have lows during the day or feel exhausted now know they could use some more energy.
Need for stimulants like coffee, sweets, cola, red bull to get through the day
This question is a follow-up to the previous question. If you only feel really energetic with stimulants, you have too little energy and are playing for time with the constant overstimulation of your adrenal glands.
Thus, if you want to keep your adrenals healthy or even heal them, stay away from stimulants. Think of them as drugs that keep you out of touch with reality. Rather take care of your adrenal glands and your energy balance. What I often hear is that people feel that they need to stay functional. I find that very short-sighted. Nobody “has” to be efficient at the expense of their own health.
Those who think so may want to take a look at their beliefs, which could be a not-so-nice remnant of early childhood traumas and, by the way, reflect the attitude of a very misanthropic society.
The mood itself can be influenced by hormones (and their little siblings, the neurotransmitters). However, if you now blame your bad mood on hormones and neurotransmitters, you are putting the cart before the horse. In my experience, “negative” emotions without an acute cause always have an origin in childhood and are messengers of developmental trauma. Being constantly flooded with bad moods should therefore be considered a bad greeting from the past and causally taken care of. But acute moods also don’t arise without a reason. They will always relate to some circumstance in your life.
Maybe you are dissatisfied with your job or your partnership? Maybe you are brooding because you basically can’t feel yourself?
Nevertheless, certain hormonal shifts favor the intensified feeling and perception of one’s own mood. Because stress hormones push away unwanted feelings (this is also a normal effect of stress so that you won’t get the idea to recap your childhood while you are running away from a threat…). Once the adrenal glands become weaker and weaker, the secretion of stress hormones no longer functions reliably on a permanent basis. This leads to mood swings like in a burn-out, chronic exhaustion, or before menstruation in women. Sometimes people have mood swings on the weekend, over holidays, or during vacation. Many people then say: “That’s not me – I don’t know myself like that!”. This way of dealing with themselves at this point is unfortunate, in my opinion. Because every mood they have is theirs and has a (legitimate) origin somewhere.
To call moods arbitrary, wrong, or to have them come from the “outside” does not exactly speak of self-responsibility towards oneself.
Anybody who wants to get healthy, will not be able to avoid listening to what their body wants to tell them very carefully through moods.
To go looking for new sources of stress in order to avoid any bad moods, however, is not a good idea, either. Because many people are actionists, their stress levels rarely go down.
I have already said a lot about sleep. Only those who sleep at least 5 hours at a time give their adrenal glands the opportunity to regenerate. If you go to bed after 11 p.m. or get up before 6 a.m., you will strain your adrenal glands in the long run. Of course, this is even more true for shift work. That’s why so many flight attendants take thyroid hormones…
When the adrenal glands are stressed, the load of stress hormones is high, which is why you sleep poorly.
So, if you have sleeping problems, you should definitely take care of good sleep hygiene and especially get some rest in the evening (no more screens or exercise after 8 pm) and above all, don’t go to bed hungry. We need to remember that during sleep the body needs to be able to keep the blood sugar stable for a longer period of time without food intake.
So, if you starve yourself, you will be awakened at night by adrenaline and cortisol.
Incidentally, the idea that meals after 6 p.m. make you fat is a persistent myth. Those who have trouble tolerating meals after 6 p.m. have digestive problems anyway (which, in turn, are indicative of adrenal dominance).
However, sleep hygiene is not everything. Persistent problems with falling asleep or sleeping through the night, as well as the feeling of not being refreshed in the morning, are indicative of adrenal stress and a lack of cellular energy.
The same applies here as already explained for excessive daily toilet use. Healthy people do not need to go to the bathroom at night. In men, of course, this can also be a problem with the prostate, in women, it can be a lowering of the bladder or a weak pelvic floor (posture also plays a role here, which in turn can have something to do with early persisting childhood reflexes). But even these problems do not exist in a vacuum.
They indicate hormonal disorders, which in turn are associated with adrenal stress and lack of energy.
Stress is nothing but an expression of lack of cellular energy that will trigger adrenal dominance. Officially, stress is said to be the attempt of the body to adapt to changing internal and external life circumstances. That may be true, but in defining stress in this way, people miss the actual point: the adaptation itself requires energy. Not just any adaptation to changing circumstances will reflect negatively on the function of the body. Only when there isn’t enough energy to upkeep all necessary functions plus some more to ward off some extra challenge, the adaptation to the environment becomes detrimental. From experience, I can say that only a vanishingly small number of people really know what stress actually is and what its objective signs are. And that the subjective perception of stress does not exclusively determine whether there is objective stress in the body.
After all, stress also pushes away the sensation for itself. Also, our society dysfunctional to a degree that stress is just perceived as normality. Stress is often even a badge of honor. The psychological mechanisms that cause us stress are seen as desirable personality traits, such as constantly overworking or sacrificing oneself for one cause or another. An additional and very important reason for stress to be such a blind spot for people is the fact that nobody in modern society has a reference point in what it means not to be stressed. Babies are naturally born stressed. In healthy development, they evolve out of the default mode of survival, learning what it means to live as opposed to just know how to survive. I have never met anyone who had transcended survival mode in childhood. Stress can be objectified very easily, once you are prepared to recognize its signs.
Chronic illnesses and auto-immune disease
Chronic illnesses are visible proof that the body has a lack of energy on a cellular level, whether there is a problem with the production of energy or its free movement within the body. While the lack of production of energy is often more of a nutritional problem, the movement of energy is mostly a combination of gaps in the person’s development, emotional trauma, and iatrogenic disease (see later chapter). The incapability to manage one’s own energy is one of the big markers that a person has not grown up and cannot self-regulate. The body may turn against itself through allergies or auto-immune processes which are an expression of catabolism and self-destruction.
Lack of function, of which a regular repair process of the body is also a part of, as well as self-destruction patterns, are a sign of the survival mode. Therefore, in my opinion, in the treatment of any disease, no matter what it is, one should consider the health of the adrenal glands as a measure for problems of energy metabolism.
Any treatment on the hormonal level will never be able to solve the root cause of hormonal problems because hormones are only messengers of the transition from the living to the survival mode when energy becomes scarce. Hormonal problems resolve when the energy metabolism is restored and Survival Mode becomes obsolete. However, it is still worthwhile to understand the dynamics between the hormonal glands. The interplay between the adrenal glands, the thyroid glands, and the sexual glands represents a general way for systems to deal with energy problems.
Once this dynamic is understood, you will probably recognize a general principle of nature that can be applied to anything, including metaphysical questions, world politics, and the evolution of our species.
Want to know more?
I will offer you an in-depth explanation of the principles I have laid out here on my website.
Have a look at:
“Energy deficiency and energy blocks” and the continuation of it in
“Living instead of surviving” that will tell you more about what happens inside the body when survival mode kicks in due to a lack of cellular energy.
You may, of course, read the whole section of key concepts of Integral Evolution from the beginning. That will embed the concept of energy in a broader concept. If you would like to know what role energy plays in evolution, start at “Why do we evolve?”. Pick the perspective you like best, as long as you do not forget that health, evolution, and energy are intrinsically connected.
Results: Physical Nervous System
The idea that the nervous system needs to evolve in order for health to be established and evolution to take place in an integrated fashion is a very new and foreign idea to most people. I am not talking about psychological balance here. I am literally talking about the wiring of the brain.
Proper wiring of the brain is a precondition for your autonomous nervous system to work properly. You may assume that your body knows how to breathe properly. But most people do not breathe properly, especially, when they are stressed. While stress in itself will change the breathing pattern, this is not what I am talking about. Many people I know, for example, stop breathing altogether when they are stressed. Or they can’t feel into themselves and continue breathing at the same time. In other words, their body is not functional enough to multi-task. Our nervous system by means of the sensory apparatus coordinates sensory information from our inside and our outside.
This ability is not built into humans from the beginning. It needs to evolve. In the course of about 7 years, the body will map itself internally and therefore “know itself” on a very basic neurological level (which is called proprioception), IF things go well. Which mostly, they don’t. The problem with this lack of self-knowledge is that subsequent systems depend on the proper evolution of brain wiring. It starts with our literal orientation in time and space. Ideally, we possess an internal GPS system, which, like a satellite, needs to triangulate data in order to know its position in space. What I mean by that is that we need our vision, our hearing, and our sense of balance (vestibular apparatus) in order to get correct information about the material reality outside of ourselves. Our inner orientation results from the synchronization of proprioception and the data that we get from outside ourselves. Therefore, we depend on the nervous system in its capacity to deal with data appropriately if we want to evolve beyond the point of reflexive behavior.
The more complex we want to become as individuals, the more able to handle more and complex data our nervous system needs to be. In other words: the evolution of the self starts with the nervous system (that needs huge amounts of energy to develop). But it doesn’t end there.
Psychological function depends on proper wiring
Psychological function depends on the functional wiring of the nervous system. I mean emotional as well as mental development. Emotional development needs to be completed before mental development can actually happen and proceed in a way that does not end up in the so-called adult plateau.
Most people erroneously assume that brain development stops once we reach adulthood and that our brain rather devolves as we age.
While this is a practical reality for most, it is a result of evolutionary gaps, starting with a lack of energy on a cellular level continuing with lack of proper brain wiring, emotional immaturity, and mental dissociation from the body.
Therefore, self-regulation will not be possible for most people on a physical, emotional or mental level. True self-regulation does not favor the functionality of only parts of the body-mind unit to the detriment of other parts of the system. Self-regulation is a state that concerns the functionality of the whole system. And the nervous system is its chief executive.
The health of the wiring of the nervous system can be measured on basically two milestones of children’s development. The first one is the achievement of the so-called neuromotor maturity. It corresponds to the stage in which a child’s body is able to walk for the first time.
The ability to stand depends on a good posture and on the ability to move head, arms, and legs independently and to keep balance while doing so. Posture is a successful attempt to withstand gravity. Posture is not a result of the training of individual muscles. It is about the knowledge of the brain where goes what and how things need to coordinate with each other.
Effective and will-controlled movement
Through proper wiring of the brain, effective and will-controlled movement is made possible. Effective means with the loss of the least amount of energy possible. Will- controlled means that you are in control of your body and that not your body is in control of you. Embodiment starts here, as you see.
But the ability to walk is also psychologically important. By being able to walk away from mother, the child will also demonstrate that it is ready to start breaking from the symbiotic state with the mother in which it was born into. Therefore, emotional health also starts with the ability to walk. The development into autonomy and individuation (read: personal development) literally depends on the ability to move independently from the mother and to exist emotionally and mentally independently from her. Both, dysfunctional posture and the perpetuation of a symbiotic state are the rule in our society, even if some people can compensate for them on a superficial level and therefore seem to be healthy or even well evolved (what we call “normal”, unfortunately).
Symptoms of Neuromotor Immaturity
As I already pointed out when I was discussing energy metabolism, dysfunctions of the wiring of the nervous system need to be evaluated from an objective perspective.
However, we should better not measure the proper function of the nervous system on what is considered to be the normal standards.
Often overlooked symptoms like the following can point toward neuromotor maturity, among others:
- Inability of the nervous system to come “down” after stress, stress situation still affects hours later
- Overloaded when multitasking
- Difficulty with organizing things in order (counting backward, following a choreography, following instructions) Hyperactivity or attention deficit Clumsiness, hitting stuff when walking Shaking hands when doing delicate motor work
- Visual disturbances like double pictures, inability to focus (not near or farsightedness)
- Highly sensitive Aversion to large crowds
- Has to actively think where left and right are
- Difficulties using mirrors while driving, need to turn your head
- Writing is/was clumsy (difficulties holding pen, turning paper vertically)
- Difficulties answering a question directly, circles around the point
Any of the symptoms that I brought up and many more are an indication of nervous dysfunction. The more symptoms, the more dysfunction.
Want to know more?
“Self-regulation and maturity” and continue with
the top of “Nervous System, Hormonal System, Immune System“
Again, you may read the whole section of key concepts of Integral Evolution from the beginning. You will then start from the perspective of what tools are needed for people to embark on a journey of self- development and spiritual development successfully, meaning without creating problems along the way in form of stagnation, dysfunction, and spiritual by-passing.
If you are interested in the developmental perspective, start with: “Health issues, psychological problems, and the shadow are signs of an arrested development”.
Results: Emotional Maturity
Emotional maturity on an individual level is what makes us be a “grown-up”. While mental development on an individual level (as opposed to mental development as a species, which happens while we grow up) starts when we have reached adulthood, while emotional maturity will get us there. In my discussion of the nervous system, I have already hinted at the fact that emotional maturity is a rare commodity. Some people in the field of psychoanalysis call this a weakness of “ego”, which I do not like using since in my experience, there is rarely a problem with ego, but almost always a problem with the self. I see the ego as the sum of all fractioned and dissociated parts of the psyche, while the self is one integrated personality in control of the whole psyche. The ego-personality is immature by definition because ego parts get stuck in the past at the time they were created and dissociated.
There is no evolution in the ego because it can only adapt through mechanisms of compensation, but never heal. The self on the other hand is the result of healing and evolution. So, I will call a lack of emotional maturity a “weakness of self”.
While the ego needs to “die” in a certain way in order to be integrated, neither personal nor spiritual evolution have anything to do with leaving behind one’s own personality, in my opinion. The opposite is true: individuation requires the polishing of one’s own uniqueness, which is, in part, composed by one’s personality. In a nutshell, emotional maturity is reached when a person leaves behind his brain stem dominance, which does nothing but crying out “I want! Now!” by default. Brain stem dominance is our default mode when we are born. It is tightly connected to the survival state and adrenal dominance. Being stuck in this mode is a perfectly appropriate state when an individual is in symbiosis in early infancy.
The child wants, the parent understands the need and gives unconditionally. This is the only time in which the nature of love and the nature of a relationship are congruent. Any form of true love is unconditional, while relationships are not usually unconditional by nature.
Mutuality in relationships
Healthy adult relationships are always marked by mutuality. People in a relationship constantly need to find a good balance between giving and taking. But at the beginning of our lives, we do not have to give anything. We only take – we are in a very healthy and normal form of narcissism. In the time span of 21 years, we are called to make the transition between unconditional to conditional and mutual relationships.
Therefore, emotional maturity is basically a learning process on how to find that balance on a situational basis.
Emotional maturity allows for a fluid state of autonomy so that we neither need to withdraw from people in order to secure our emotional boundaries (pseudo autonomy) nor do we want to merge with others (lack of autonomy). True autonomy is necessary for real connection.
Without it, emotional relationships will always be unfulfilling.
The problem is that most people are not emotionally autonomous and therefore, they are not able to sustain fulfilling emotional relationships. There are all kinds of ways in which people try to work around the fact that they are still stuck in a state of symbiosis, which is where the ego comes in with its compensations and manipulations. The basic programming of someone stuck in symbiosis is: “Someone needs to fulfill my needs unconditionally – and I do not have to give anything in return”.
The reason why people are still stuck in symbiosis besides the fact that their nervous system has not evolved properly is the fact that symbiosis was not fulfilled properly in early infancy. The breaking of symbiosis and the beginning of autonomy will only occur when the child has had its needs fulfilled properly.
The problem now is that the parents can only satisfy their child’s symbiosis in a certain window of time for the mechanism to work as intended. Should they not fulfill their child’s symbiotic need while it is still small and before evolutionary mechanisms will prompt it to go to the next phase at about the age of 3, symbiosis stays unfulfilled. Looking from the outside, the child will seem to be developing properly, but only parts of him are continuing to mature, while other parts are staying behind. That is even true if the parents try to remedy their previous attitude in later years, which isn’t possible once the evolutionary window of symbiosis has closed.
Therefore, we now have the unfortunate situation that people want their needs to be fulfilled unconditionally by a caretaker, but neither their parents nor anyone else for that matter would be able to satisfy this need. Alas, no one else but they themselves. The only way out of an unfulfilled symbiosis as a grown-up is to address the needy child parts within oneself with one’s own self, which is a psychological paradox for most people. Since most people do not have enough of a self to take care of dissociated ego parts, these ego parts stay behind and do not integrate into one stable self. While taking care of dissociated ego parts is possible with only a partial self, there needs to be enough of a self for this to work…
Truly rational decisions
On a neurological level, emotional maturity and the self are brought about by the development of the limbic system and later of the frontal cortex. The limbic system gives us the ability to give and take, the frontal cortex gives us the ability to differentiate and to balance needs, our own, and the needs of
Without our frontal cortex, we can’t actually make rational decisions, although many people confuse those with decisions that are not based on instincts or emotional needs.
This is an unfortunate misconception that yields very poor results in terms of the common good. Truly rational decisions are a situational balance of instinctual needs (brain stem), with emotional needs (limbic system) by the frontal cortex. The neurological maturation of the frontal cortex at about 21 years of age is the natural result of proper development of the limbic system if neurological wiring is also functional. As we see, there is a physical component to self- regulation and an emotional one. Both things together constitute a functional unit that can be compared to the operating system of a computer.
Pseudo emotional autonomy
Emotional maturity is often confused with pseudo rationality or pseudo autonomy.
Again, I will argue for an objective perspective on this topic.
Emotional maturity is not measured by one’s thoughts, it is measured by one’s actions and the ability for emotional self-regulation. There are quite a few highly functional individuals that are considered to be “normal” by regular psychological standards but are just as emotionally immature as people who come across as being childish. In this case, we need to look at the actions of this person and at their internal environment. People who are highly functional are often also well compensated, which means that they may seem autonomous and act autonomously in many areas of life. They may seem very independent, but on the inside, they are afraid and live in a high state of tension and stress – which will manifest physically and emotionally sooner or later (and eat away at the person’s energy reserves). In some people, emotional immaturity may only be apparent to the untrained eye through the manifestation of psychosomatic symptoms, etc.
Please keep that in mind while reading the following symptoms of a “weak self”. Especially people who consider themselves to be very independent have a hard time admitting to themselves that they aren’t. Emotional trauma, especially developmental trauma, has a way to disconnect us from reality by dissociating us from overwhelming pain. For some people, this dissociation has a lot to do with avoiding feelings of dependency, helplessness, or the acknowledgment of personal needs.
Symptoms of a weak structure of self
Typical symptoms of a weak structure of self can be:
- Being overwhelmed by one’s own life. Complex processes cannot be grasped as a whole; instead, one simply shuts down, gives in to fear, or represses aspects or facts.
- The whole life revolves around the defense against fear: one does not choose what one actually wants, but what scares the least.
- Others are manipulated to behave in such a way that one’s own fear is calmed down.
- The fear is often so overwhelming that rational and evidence-based arguments do not reach people once the brain stem (fight or flight) puts the frontal cortex (which could evaluate the rationality of the fear) out of order (if it had been operational in the first place…)
- The desire to be “taken by the hand”. Expectation that leader figures (therapist, politician, media, Instagram influencer) will make one feel safe, thus conforming behavior to anticipatory obedience.
- Fear of change and novelty. Fear of making decisions.
- Need for praise and confirmation and reassurance.
- Fear of trusting the body.
- Feeling of being abandoned by the body. Automatically triggered fear of death (survival terror) when feelings or needs arise.
- Fear of fear, non-objectifiable existential fear in the sense of an immediate threat to life (e.g. starving, dying of thirst, freezing to death, being murdered) although there is no objective threat. Things like losing one’s job in a country with adequate social security or getting into a state of shock if status symbols can’t be afforded any longer can be manifestations of this irrational existential fear.
- Needs must be satisfied immediately, with no ability to delay gratification.
- Needs must be satisfied by others. Search for providers, projection of father or mother role onto intimate and social relationships.
- Feelings of rejection when needs are not met or not met immediately by others.
- Therapist hopping, emotional splitting (but he said and then she said…)
- Inability to see long-term consequences of one’s actions.
- The feeling of being a victim of one’s circumstances, not understanding that we are even connected to circumstances that we do not partake in directly.
- Inappropriate and exaggerated risk avoidance, losses are perceived much more than gains.
- The feeling that there is no safe place anywhere in the world.
- Controlled by sensations (related to oneself): cold, warm, nice, not nice, hunger, which are acted out reflexively, while real feelings (related to others): love, hate, envy, are often perceived little realistically, are suppressed or excessively amplified. The trend towards New Age “heart- centeredness” has unfortunately led to this immature form of feeling being proclaimed in part as absolute truth and even as a desirable state by those affected, without them being in contact with their actual (repressed) feelings: “But this doesn’t feel good to me/not coherent/doesn’t resonate with me”. It is not about denying people their perception, but becoming aware that personal perception is not always the measure of all things. That is especially true if “higher” parts of the brain are not functional and thus self- perception is strongly disturbed (by trauma and neuromotor immaturity). Feelings are what they are. However, this does not mean that one may not question them.
Health largely relies on our ability to self- regulate. Homeostasis – physical self- regulation – is the foundation for the development of emotional self-regulation. When we grow up, we are called to learn how to take care of ourselves. Therefore, a lack of emotional-self regulation will largely contribute to a dysfunctional body-mind unit and symptoms of disease. Self-regulation also ensures that energy reserves are not wasted, which is why energy management is a big part of any kind of self-regulation. A waste of energy will result in a lack of energy, blocking further evolution because evolution always requires a surplus of energy.
Want to know more?
There is much more to say about emotional maturity. It has a developmental aspect (that I briefly introduced here) as well as an epigenetic and energetic aspect. The epigenetic and energetic aspects of emotional maturity are connected to the ability of the body to produce adequate amounts of energy to promote evolution without turning this energy against the self (or ego, in that case).
Self-destruction is a mechanism that is engrained in most people. It is the last stage of survival mode. The problem is that prolonged states of stress will also manifest in the psyche, which is why self-destruction can manifest as auto-immunity on a cellular level, but also as self-sabotage psychologically. If that weren’t enough, the state of survival can be handed down to offspring (independently of an actual lack of energy or other resources) through epigenetic fixation.
Results: Iatrogenic Disease
In short, iatrogenic disease is mostly a man-made disease caused by the intended and unintended effects of chemicals and drugs that last long after they have been discontinued. No matter how long ago and for how long they were taken, drugs are able to reprogram your system away from its natural function. While this may sound like sci-fi to some people, this effect has been observed by medical practitioners for generations and is now being acknowledged by the scientific community. I can say for myself and all the patients that I have treated so far, that self-regulation is often blocked as long as the body is confused by iatrogenic disease.
Let me explain.
Persisting wanted effects of drugs
A few examples of once wanted drug effects that are now wreaking havoc on the body: If you take narcotics for years (legal or illegal), you may have difficulties with accessing your own feelings and emotions afterward. Those who constantly take ibuprofen may eventually feel no pain at all, including psychological. If you take stomach acid inhibitors, you should not be surprised if your body does not want to produce stomach acid anymore. Those who take the birth control pill for years should not be surprised if they can’t have children afterward. If you use artificial sweeteners, your body may unlearn to digest carbs and sugar. Those are just a few very common long- term effects from drugs that have once been desired by their later victims.
Persisting unwanted effects of drugs
Now some examples of unwanted side effects that persist: If you take the anti-depressant Prozac for just 3 days some time in your life as a woman, you may end up with life-long anorgasmia (which is well known and documented in the medical literature, by the way…). Anti-depressants can have a ravishing effect on the libido, which I can personally attest to. It has taken me 20 years to understand that my libido was still being manipulated by a drug that I have taken in my early 20ies. Luckily, I have been able to tackle the issue successfully. Another great example of unwanted side effects concerning sexuality. The birth control pill changes the sense of smell for pheromones in women as well as their own sense of smell for sexual partners. I have seen quite a few examples of women who literally couldn’t smell their partner anymore after getting the birth control pill out of their bodies. They realized that they had chosen the wrong partner in terms of sexual chemistry.
Let’s next assume someone has been exposed to her mother’s anxiety meds in the womb.
Some of these meds cause double visions. 30 years later, the now grown daughter starts experiencing double visions. Another example. Let’s now assume that someone takes a Polio vaccine. This vaccine is supposed to prepare the body for a later assault of the Poliovirus.
The body goes into an immune response and produces antibodies (which is a wanted effect of the vaccine). At the same time, the body will turn down its capacity to fight bacteria. Why? because the body naturally prefers one branch of its immune system over the other. The TH1 branch combats viruses and intracellular bacteria, while the TH2 branch combats regular bacteria and parasites. Since the vaccine is not a natural way for the body to trigger an immune response (modified pathogen, other entry point, additives, etc.), the immune system may get “stuck” on one branch to the detriment of the other. The immune system may not be able to deal with bacteria or parasites efficiently any longer if it is constantly turned to the TH1 system with vaccines that mostly target viruses.
On the other hand, an overactive TH2 system may lead to allergies. Now let’s assume that someone is allergic to something. Steroids like cortisone, prednisone (both artificial forms of cortisol) are used to keep the symptoms down. Cortisol and its artificial derivatives are supposed to suppress the immune reaction.
Not only may the immune system now be stuck on the TH2 branch. We have also added another layer to the problem – you may not be able to treat the allergy by natural means anymore, because there is a layer of programming blocking that regulation, which I will discuss shortly.
The body is a highly intelligent system. It always tries to adapt to its environment.
Therefore, if you tell it over and over again that sexual hormones look like artificial progestin instead of natural progesterone, it will accept this as a fact to the point to shun the progesterone produced by your own body.
Even if you take so-called natural progesterone that corresponds to your own progesterone biochemically, you are still telling your body that it doesn’t need to produce its own progesterone anymore, since you are feeding it into the body from the outside.
I am very well aware that progesterone works through positive feedback loops so that more progesterone would result in more progesterone, but practically, things are much more complex. Once you create a dependency from the outside, the body’s own production will dwindle. Remember that the body is always looking for efficiency in energy management. Why produce something yourself if someone delivers it to you for free?
How iatrogenic disease works
Iatrogenic disease works through a number of mechanisms.
First, it changes the response of receptors. I have given you an example of this with progesterone.
Receptors work according to a lock-and-key principle. If you have the wrong key, the receptor doesn’t work. If you change the receptor, the original key doesn’t fit anymore. Also, receptors may become unresponsive if you repeatedly flood them with a substance (this is a sort of negative feedback). Think of cocaine. The more you take, the less the brain will react to it, which is why you will need more and more to achieve the desired effect.
Second, everything, including drugs, can have an epigenetic effect on the body. As opposed to genetics, epigenetics concern not the composition and health of the genes themselves, but the way these genes are read and interpreted. The “problem” with epigenetics is that certain substances or other environmental insults can restrict the reading of genes to certain interpretations. Imagine a library full of books about a certain topic.
People could read all the books in there and get a very complex view about the topic. Instead, people start picking the exact 4 books in the exact section of that library over and over again and start believing that what they have learned is the only aspect of the topic.
The same applies to epigenetics. Certain traits that reside on genes get “flipped on” or “flipped off” permanently. We are talking about traits that bring about behavior, enzymatic processes, preferences for food, the probability to develop a certain disease, and so on. By now we know that 98% of all diseases are epigenetic and not genetic. And another very important aspect of epigenetics is that epigenetics are passed down to the next generation. This is mostly how we inherit our parents‘ biochemistry, emotional state of mind, and societal views.
Epigenetics are not a one-way street. However, there is very little understanding of how epigenetics actually work in the scientific community. It is mostly assumed that “epigenetic bookmarks” are a permanent thing. You may be able to counter their effects with certain drugs or even nutrition, but you will not be able to “undo” the bookmark. This is where I politely disagree.
But I get why science thinks that way: the problem of epigenetics can’t be solved from a reductionist and mechanistic perspective.
Natural healers, on the other hand, have worked on the reversal of epigenetic bookmarks for thousands of years successfully in my opinion.
Third, iatrogenic disease has a preserving effect. Not only is the effect or side-effect itself preserved. The actual origin of the problem is suppressed and buried under a layer of the new programming and, therefore, also preserved. This will lead to a couple of follow-up problems. You may not be able to see a symptom, even know its origin, but you may not be able to treat it because there is an invisible layer preventing you from doing so, like talking to someone through glass. Let’s assume someone took antidepressants to cope with the loss of a loved one. This person may not be able to overcome this grief because the coping mechanisms of the body have been offset by the antidepressant. Or the original symptom is suppressed altogether by shutting up the body’s way to communicate with its owner and the true origins of disease can’t be found anymore.
This is a very common result of conventional medical treatment. Let’s say that someone is working too hard and can’t sleep anymore.
Taking sleeping pills will allow this person to continue self-abuse. At the same time, the perception of the actual problem (that may be something like the person thinks that he needs to prove himself or that he is not a loser financially) is erased from consciousness (if it was aware in the first place…). Another form of preservation is arrested development. If a girl takes birth control at the age of 13, her uterus is not yet fully developed. It is very common for uteri not to grow further under birth control. Doctors unofficially call this “mouse uteria”.
Natural symptoms are never pathological in my opinion. They are neither “wrong” nor “random”. Iatrogenic disease is the only symptomatology deserving of the term “pathology”. In iatrogenic disease, symptoms are an expression of chaos and often paradoxical.
Natural symptoms may be pathophysiological in nature, but they always follow logical patterns if you care to understand human physiology.
While I do understand that medical drugs are important in some circumstances to secure survival, it is very important to understand that survival is all they will ever be able to offer. They can’t help you heal. They can’t help you return to your natural state of living.
They can’t produce energy from scratch. Regular medicine is a survival medicine, not a medicine that promotes living. The fact that we heal in spite of taking medical drugs is owed to the fact that they have not been able to undermine the self-healing mechanism in that area so far. However, this doesn’t mean that the drug isn’t upsetting self-regulatory mechanisms elsewhere in the body.
I have made the observation that people who have been exposed to many chemicals often can’t heal naturally anymore.
No matter how justified drugs might be for our immediate survival, they will, most often than not, cause permanent changes in the body that preserve survival mode, which is the opposite of self-regulation.
Physiological order promotes health
On that account, many people who claim to “need” drugs do not realize that they have created that problem in the first place. I have often heard of people telling me that they have tried more natural approaches but that these haven’t worked. Well. I have undone part of that riddle above. The other aspects of the equation are lack of energy, gaps in evolution, and developmental trauma. Just substituting medical drugs for natural alternatives very rarely works, if the approach is a symptomatic one (which is what holistic and functional medicine often still do, in my experience).
Health is the natural result of a balanced body- mind unit. And balance requires a variety of measures that need to be applied at the right time and place in order to work on the origins of disease.
In other words: there is a system that is basically non-negotiable. Healthy individual development is the actual foundation of that system. Chronic dysfunction has no room in healthy and integrated development. They are mutually exclusive. That is why I find it so important to strive for integration and not to just work on the improvement of the function of parts. The function of parts only will produce dysfunction on other parts as a flip side. Integration, however, focuses on the function of the whole and not just parts. That is the definition of Integral Medicine and subsequently of my methodology Integral Evolution.
Want to know more?
There is also a lot more to say about epigenetics. You may want to check out my page “Integral epigenetic balance” for more information. If you are interested in a treatment according to the principles of Integral Evolution, you will find more information on my website. If your first acquaintance with my method was the quiz or the intro ebook “Secrets of Integral Medicine“, I suggest that you start reading my website at the beginning page called “New?”. If you continue reading the pages in the menu from top to bottom and left to right, you should have a pretty good idea of what Integral Evolution is all about and whether it is relevant in your life at this point.
I really hope that I could provide you with some new and relevant information for your life!
All the best, Katia Trost
Facilitator of Integral Medicine
You can get all of the results that I have discussed here and keep it as an ebook!
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