1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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3. Can you work too hard at overcoming TMS?

Discussion in 'Mindbody Video Library' started by Forest, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    I think those are great points, Walt. I'm trying to do more of those same thing's myself.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt, you are so right about the importance of spending time finding ways to be happy and life our live. We put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves and work way too hard at everything we do. Finding moments each day to unwind and enjoy our life goes a long way to reversing our repressive personality.
  3. Enrique

    Enrique Well known member

    A little wine at end of the day doesn't hurt too much either. ;)
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree about a little wine at the end of the day.
    I like a glass of red wine (good for the heart) before or with dinner.

    My best friend used to drink a whole bottle of red wine with dinner.
    His head hit the table (slowly) afterward. The wine helped him with back pain.
    But he needed to know about TMS which would have helped more than the wine.
    I didn't know about TMS in time to help him.

    Dr. Sarno said in HEALING BACK PAIN that we shouldn't spend too much time
    each day even on TMS healing. We need to relax and enjoy life.

    Steve Ozanich has suggested we look at movies and television shows that
    involve mind-body healing such as TMS techniques. I like the idea and have
    begun contributing examples. If you want to take a break from TMS techniques,
    the pop culture examples can be helpful and relaxing at the same time.
    They're on the TMSWiki forum at TMS and Pop Culture.

    Have a great day.
    Enrique likes this.
  5. suej

    suej New Member

    I was really pleased to watch this video as I have been giving this some thought. Just as I have said you own your TMS by thinking about it all the time,feeding it pain pills, loving it by watching over and being possesive because it may go away and you are wondering where it is so is the SEP part of that ownership. Now I can put a name to it and I can add another layer to what I do for it. As the kind of personality we tend to be ...... I'm organized with it printing out the sheets, making a file etc etc. I even get worried if I miss a day.....I shouldn't care this is my recovery
    I am on Day 7 and a day of relaxing doing what I want to do. I walked today and I said I don't care.....I'm enjoying my walking:)
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Playing hooky from a day of the program is a great idea. It shows that you are giving yourself some room to do what you want to do. This approach is about taking the time to do what you need to do, and not what you are expected to do. I think it shows that you are reducing the perfectionist voice in your head. Keep it up!
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Very interesting comments about the video, Forest.

    Ollin and others, I too feel that thinking too much and long about TMS can work against healing.
    Dr. Sarno says in Healing Back Pain that we need to spend 15 minutes or so reviewing his
    12 Daily Reminders once a day, but not let it become a ritual. I think it's a good idea to take the
    mind off pain and healing and do something or think of something relaxing.

    I like just turning off the tv, listening to soothing music, closing my eyes, deep breathing,
    and visualizing the tranquil wilderness canoe trips I was on years ago in the Minnesota-Ontario
    northwoods. Paddling a canoe on a quiet lake, listening to the call of the loons, hearing the
    water spash against the canoe, a light breeze in the trees.

    No electronics. No multi-tasking. No noise. Just calming. You probably have a place you've
    been that gives you what my wilderness canoe trips gave me. Sitting in a room looking out at
    a rainforest and hearing the birds calling to each other. That's great.
    Lily Rose and Ellen like this.
  8. mleach

    mleach New Member

    This video resonated strongly with me today. I am currently doing so many things to try to treat my pelvic pain via TMS that I was working on a schedule to organize my morning, noon, and night activities thinking it would lower my stress levels. I am meditating, stretching, doing yoga, using a foam roller, going for walks, doing tension release exercises, taking hot baths, and doing Dr. Schubiner's program. Most of those things I'm doing more than once a day. At the same time I'm staring at all I'm doing and my new schedule and thinking about scrapping it all and just doing nothing but continuing with Dr. Schubiner's workbook and some sort of meditation. Part of me doesn't even want to do that much because it reinforces there's something wrong with me and when I'm feeling better I don't do these activities. I know I have to release tension from my mind to begin to release it in my body, and in theory all of these activities help, but I think in combination they keep me stuck in the endless cycle of obsessing on the physical symptoms, my treatment options, am I doing everything I can, what's the next silver bullet, etc.

    I've gone down this road before where I try one thing after the next and frequently many at the same time and yet I know when I got better 2 years ago I flat out gave up and literally did nothing but started living again. I had started to slowly improve and one day I hit a breaking point where I stop reading anything health related online, hid my TMS books, hid my pelvic pain books, stopped doing yoga, and got distracted by selling our house, buying a new one, and other real life things happening outside of my head. I thinking giving up was surrender or acceptance and that's what finally eased the tension in mind enough to ease it in my body.

    This time my thinking is I changed my mind last time and learned about TMS and slowly got better over a year. If I had helped my body along and continued to build core strength and retrain my body to not hold tension in my pelvic floor I'd have healed quicker. But I am realizing that that is not accepting the TMS diagnosis and is still reinforcing the physical diagnosis. So ultimately I guess I'm trying to say you absolutely can try to hard to cure overcome TMS and I think I am currently doing just that.
    gailnyc likes this.
  9. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Great post, mleach. The question of do we have to change ourselves in order to heal is a big one for me. Like you, I became obsessed with my TMS healing. I worked the SEP for over a month, read lots of books, journaled, etc. My pain decreased only slightly, but enough to know I was on the right track.

    But that obsessive, hyped-up attitude was part of who I was. How much of that would I have to change?

    As Plum said in another thread, TMS is telling us to chill. Relax. Get back into life. HOWEVER. If your life contained a lot of non-chilling, intense, obsessive moments, then maybe you can't get back into the life you once had. Maybe you have to create a new, slower version of your life. This is what I'm finding is true for me.
  10. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I completely agree with this. When you have a lot of treatment techniques to do each day, you are reinforcing the idea that there is something with your symptoms that needs to be fixed, which simply is not the case. Since TMS symptoms are benign, there is nothing you need to fix in order to heal. You simply need to change how you view your symptoms, and begin to be more allowing of your emotions.
    BruceMC likes this.
  11. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yeah but . . . yeah but . . . yeah but . . . isn't the whole idea to use those techniques (journaling, mindfulness, meditation etc. etc.) to relax, not to build another obsessive-compulsive workaholic edifice that dominates and rules your every waking moment? Seems like you're merely replacing the tyranny of TMS with another form of slavery to your own unmet, unconscious psychological needs? Tricky business, isn't it Forest, performing brain surgery on your own brain?
    Lily Rose, Gigi and gailnyc like this.
  12. Cherylie

    Cherylie New Member

    What a pleasant surprise to see today is a day "off" from journaling and processing and digging and reliving. I'm sitting outside with the dogs - even though it's an overcast day, I want to be outside, where I belong. This morning I decided I might relax more if I were in a pleasant environment, maybe be able to reach things I haven't yet reached.

    And to my delight, I receive a hall pass to do whatever I flippin want! Thanks, Forest!

    I've heard before Ollin's reference to positive affirmations and the power of attraction, how telling yourself, "I'm feeling good and healthy. My body is strong, fit, and moves with ease," helps redirect the brain's focus. I'd forgotten about it until now. Thanks, Ollin, for reminding me of such a simple shift of focus.

    I was stressing about journaling today - kind of overwhelmed by the volume of things which need to be addressed.

    But I'm going to go play Words With Friends and post pics of my silly dogs and comment on anything I find which interests me.

    Really, life is good. I just have to get my subconscious to understand!
    Forest likes this.
  13. nowtimecoach

    nowtimecoach Well known member

    Great video and subject! It was exactly what I needed to hear and read today. Grateful for a day off as I realized how I've put this program in my psyche as another thing to distract me. I suppose there could be worse distractions, like PAIN!! ;)
    This is a line that struck me today: Worry is one of the number one causes of TMS, and your ability to slow down and moderate the level of your activation could be a huge help in the progress that you've been seeing.
    Thank you for naming this activity for me. I do it so much that half the time I'm not even noticing how much it grips me. Hugs to all of you for participating and helping people like me, just starting on this journey. So grateful today!
    Lily Rose likes this.
  14. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is such a great post. The video from Forest and the replies.
    Pilot, I think you could benefit a lot from looking at all of it.

  15. David B

    David B Well known member

    Forrest, thank you for the video on trying too hard. A really important reminder for those of us who would be walking poster children for the MBS personality if you could see through us.

    It's funny that this morning my pains though different than other mornings were pretty tough and I'm a bit worried about going to the relatives for Xmas eve. I went to my wife just to tell her and get some support and she said "Dave, take it easy today, ok?" many blessings everywhere if you are open to receiving them

    Be well.
  16. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    I SO needed to revisit this right now! Thank you all.
    My college-age daughter injured herself doing something crazy, and urgent care recommended an orthopedic surgeon. Her "good" insurance only lasts until December 31. Argh!
    Plus, my sister is flying down for 4 days. I love her dearly, and I know that her mild form of OCD drives me insane.
    My TMS struggles of late have been centered on the issue of when pain is another manifestation of TMS, and when it's something else. Just a reminder that learning is an iterative process!!!!
    This morning, I took time for a favorite hobby. It was great to spend an hour or so doing something I love, prior to all the madness.
    Blessings for each of you to take some "self" time during the holidays.
  17. joseph32

    joseph32 Peer Supporter

    I was hoping to ask you a quick question. I am continuing on my TMS journey in a positive direction. I feel that I am close, however I really took interest of a video by Forest about "working too hard" on our TMS. I feel this maybe me and think I must do something each day. It may not be a lot, but just something regarding TMS. I think this may just be giving attention to it. I fear that if I don't, I will not be doing some necessary work. I have a deep feeling that if I just don't do anything, that may be the answer? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, especially if you can personally relate. Thank you!

    Here is also the link to the video by Forest:

  18. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Forest, it's great how many people replied who are new to me among those who post.

    I'll think about how to include it in the book.
  19. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with this completely .... words have power. They are like seeds scattered in a garden plot. We have to carefully weed out the ones we do not wish to take root, and cultivate those we wish to see flourishing.

    with grace and gratitude,
  20. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @joseph32, and sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

    I think that that sounds like a terrific idea. The first step in TMS healing is to internalize all of the TMS concepts (education) so that they come to you automatically and you have no doubts (or at least as few doubts as you can muster). It sounds like you've already done that. It's also important to do some journaling, to integrate that type of introspection into your life and better understand how TMS applies to your life. It sounds like you have already done that as well.

    At this point you want to congratulate yourself for how far you have come and focus on living your life in the present, despite whatever symptoms may still linger. Doing this is the best way to usher those last little nagging symptoms out the door. Even if they persist for a while, doing so will help you not care about them quite so much.

    For someone who has already done the education and the journaling described above, if you want to work on something on a daily basis I can recommend mindfulness meditation. Literally thousands of scientific papers have come out over the last several years documenting the many benefits of meditation including how it remolds our brains in various ways in a process called neuroplasticity. Coincidentally, meditation stimulates many of the exact same habits of mind and neural pathways that are so helpful in TMS healing. Like TMS healing, mindfulness meditation is something that you don't want to try too hard with. It is a practice, meaning that you just sit down and, well, practice being mindful. We have a wiki page on meditation and Walt recently started a thread, but it may help to take a class or buy a book. I think that 8 minute meditation is a good book. There is a lot in there that could help any TMSer. @Stock Trader made exceptional progress by exploring mindfulness and it was a real pleasure to see.

    You might even decide that you want to step back from the forums a little. If you do, we'll certainly miss you, but your own health always comes first. Note that I'm not suggesting that you necessarily step back - just that you look inside and think about what it is that you need to uncoil your inner tension. Then do whatever you come up with. You can always change your mind later. :) Some people at your stage find that doing any sort of regular thinking about TMS makes it hard to move on. It's a question that only you can answer because you are the only person who knows what it feels like to be you. You will know when it's time if it ever is time.

    Another practice to bear in mind when you are at this stage is practicing awareness. In an important way, TMS is simply about developing more compassionate awareness of how you are feeling at any given time. Of course, by awareness I don't mean the rational/logical type of awareness that resides in the prefrontal cortex. Rather, I mean the ability to feel your feelings directly, as they are happening. You definitely don't want to amp them up or anything. You just want to be aware of them. Once again, mindfulness meditation provides a good guide for this. Once you've developed mindful awareness, the idea is to develop skills at regulating those same feelings. Together, these two skills make up what Howard Gardner terms Emotional Intelligence in his famous book. One of the biggest lessons from my personal experience with TMS is that emotional awareness and emotional regulation are key skills that I want to work on. I suspect that those same skills could be very helpful for many others, and my reading of Pathways to Pain Relief and my interactions with its authors have supported the idea that they are key to TMS healing.

    "Hey! Wait a second!" you may be saying to yourself. "Didn't Forest just tell me that I didn't have to work so hard and now he is piling "practices" like mindful meditation and emotional awareness on my todo list.... not fair!"

    Well, I don't know if I have a good answer to that. I guess I think that mindfulness and emotional awareness are the two big lessons that I think someone can take from their encounter with TMS. (Incidentally, I don't personally think that journaling necessarily is. It's valuable to bring some things to conscious awareness, but I think that, in the long term, mindful, relaxed awareness of what is going on in the emotional brain is more helpful than journaling as an ongoing practice. I also don't believe in psychoarchaeology - digging around for deeply repressed emotions.) For someone who has done the education and the journaling components of TMS healing, it might be good to try the meditation or emotional awareness ideas that I have described, investigate them a bit, and employ them as ongoing practices.

    Or not. Maybe the best thing for you is to not take on a new project. Maybe you don't have any repressive habits that mindfulness meditation or emotional awareness could help you dig up. Only you can know, and you have to be a scientist. To summarize, getting back to the "Wait a second!" moment above, I guess that, for anyone reading this, once you have gotten by the education and journaling stages, if my "don't work too hard" video resonates with you, then if you want to stop the TMS work entirely, that's fine. Alternatively, you might want to try emotional awareness or meditation.

    If you do want to try awareness, I'd like to share a few more ideas. Remember, emotional awareness is just paying attention to your emotions, so that you are aware of them as you feel them. Of course, TMS is closely related to alexithymia, a condition in which someone may not know what they are feeling. In fact, I think that that was the case with me. I was so used to working so hard that I didn't know about all of the emotions that were bouncing around the older parts of my brain like the limbic system or the upper brainstem. For example, I might have been tense and not known it. For someone like that, learning to feel your feelings in your body might really help. After all, the unconscious mind and the body are very tightly connected, as we are all "painfully" aware. (couldn't resist the pun.) Perhaps you can pay attention to what is happening in your body to better understand what is going on in your unconscious.

    One way of using your body to gain awareness of your emotions is described in the several threads linked to from the following thread:
    Those threads really are excellent threads, and I'd encourage everyone to read them. Further, if you want to reply to them, I'd encourage you to do so and restart the conversation. @chickenbone is one person who has a lot of wise things to say about this approach.

    Another approach, also linked to from the post in the previous paragraph is focusing, a technique invented by Eugene Gendlin. It quite deliberately uses the body to explore unconscious emotions. @UnknownStuntman and @Eric "Herbie" Watson have had a lot of success with this approach. See the post in the previous paragraph to read about it.

    Or, like I said, don't do any of these things at all and take a complete vacation from everything TMS related, attempting to be present in the moment by just immersing yourself in life. Be a scientist and explore different perspectives. Once you do, I hope you will come back to this thread and post what you found most helpful. Excluding webcrawlers, which make up most views of TMS forums, this thread has been viewed more than 1200 times in the last two years, probably by hundreds of people. We hope to have it up for many years in the future, and if you share what helped you, it could help an awful lot of people.

    Sorry to drone on so long, but I hope you found something in here that helped, and I'd be interested if any of it resonated with anyone else as well. I certainly didn't mean to write this much! ... but these are some ideas that I've been thinking about a lot and maybe I just had to get them off of my chest.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014

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