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The Thought/Emotions Loop

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Ann Miller, Feb 9, 2022.

  1. Ann Miller

    Ann Miller Well known member

    Where are my peeps that are “over-thinkers?” Uh-huh. I see you, and I got you covered with a handy little tool to get you out of your head and into experiencing your emotions. Because experiencing your emotions leads to a richer life and a lot less chronic pain!

    I present to you the Thought/Emotions loop and how you can use it to uncover trapped emotions. First, know that brains think. It’s literally what they do. So if you consider yourself an “over-thinker,” your brain is just really good at doing what brains do. Let’s take away the label here and move forward with the thoughts themselves in a judgment free space. Ok, so you have a thought. Now instead of moving to another thought right away and then another, and another, we are going to slow down and use that beautiful brain of yours to work with that first thought. After you see that first thought, what emotions does that thought bring up? And NOW what thought do you have about the emotion that was invoked? And then, what emotion does this second thought bring to mind? Etc. Alternating thoughts and what emotions come with them back and forth until you really get to some trapped emotions.

    Want to see it in action? Great. Read on for a real life example.

    Let’s say I’m told that my pain is caused by aging, that there’s nothing I can do except accept it as part of aging. What follows is the pattern of my thoughts and emotions regarding the initial thought. I’ve labeled the parts T and E so you can clearly see the difference while you read it.

    All my widespread pain is due to aging. (T) I’m so scared by that.(E) Because that means that I will never get pain relief, only worse and worse.(T) How very depressing. There’s heaviness in my chest just thinking that way(E) And I’m not that old to be in this much pain..and it’s going to get worse?(T) I feel resentment that this is how it goes…Resentment toward doctors who can’t help and resentment toward younger people.(E) What a horrible baby I am to resent aging. Everyone ages.(T) I feel ashamed that I can’t even handle the basics of normal life- aging.(E) What’s wrong with me?(T) My face feels hot with shame.(E) Hey, but what about all the people I see who are my exact age and don’t have this pain? (T) Puzzlement, disbelief (E) They must take better care of themselves. They work out more/weigh less/eat better.(T) I’m angry now. And exasperated(E) I’ve done this to myself by not taking better care of myself.(T) I feel self condemnation, disgust with self.(E)

    I’ll stop now. But you see how in my little brain, the thought that my pain is caused by aging led to the trapped emotions of shame and self condemnation. After discovering this, I can then apply generous portions of compassion. Of course, I felt this emotion. Anyone would. And who would have thought that a simple statement on aging would have such deep ripples emotionally? Once we see the trapped emotions and treat ourselves kindly about having them, our whole nervous system can breathe a sigh of relief and slowly slowly begin to unwind from its held tension.

    BTW, aging DOES NOT CAUSE PAIN, although it is often blamed when doctors can’t find anything else wrong. I feel better today at 59 than I ever did at 39. You can too!
    hawaii_five0 likes this.

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