1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this link: http://go.tmswiki.org/newprogram
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New Program Day 12: Cognitive Soothing

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. editrix

    editrix New Member

  2. Mama-K

    Mama-K New Member

    I just watched Dawn Huebner's TED Talk and she mentions,"Being afraid is not the same as being in danger." She suggests thinking of anxiety as a pest that you may be feeding and chasing down a hole. Instead you can observe it and see it as something in the background while you gradually move yourself in a healthy direction.
    Thanks for these posts! Really great reminders!
    Hayley, chemgirl, Penny2007 and 4 others like this.
  3. MicheleRenee

    MicheleRenee Peer Supporter

    so if our fear thoughts are pretty much continuous throoughout the day... we should just continuously reassure our brain we're safe? (of course i dont mean perfectly!). i feel ill be doing this almost all day! haha
    Lunarlass66 likes this.
  4. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Oh, a little kindness goes so far! I find it so easy and natural to comfort others, but tend to be much more harsh with myself. This technique is a blessing.
    Lunarlass66 and plum like this.
  5. Mimsy

    Mimsy New Member

    Thats the thing about neuroplasticity. I likely need to do it all day until it is just hard wired.
    MicheleRenee likes this.
  6. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    I'm so glad you found it helpful. Whenever I am suffering, my wish is that it be turned into something meaning that will serve others. Gets me out of the selfishness of so much self-reflection!
    Have been practicing this for a long time and still often need the structure of support groups like ours here. Maintaining change, alone, is so hard. We need our villages and tribes to remind us!
    Be sweet to that kid.
  7. Eugene

    Eugene Well known member

    So very very true @Bodhigirl.

    That wish that there is a positive that will come out of the suffering is often all that keeps me going.

    And as for needing our tribes, I find that is true more and more as I get older. It isn't that I don't my non-tribe members (not at all), it's just that I need my tribe to nourish me and directly or indirectly help me through the dark times.
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  8. James59

    James59 Well known member

    I'm not clear on how to apply the concept of cognitive soothing. This lesson was rather sparse on details compared to the somatic tracking instructions. The audio clip with Mandi gave an example of the adult self comforting the child self, and I tried that last night, but I couldn't think of any way to sooth my childhood self given some real injuries I received from the fists of a 6th grade bully, and from two pre-teen accidents. Throw in some adulthood traumas and I don't see how the mind that lived through those things can effectively soothe the mind that still fears those things.

    On the positive side, I've noticed a distinct improvement in my disposition, namely less anger and frustration, in the last couple of days of practicing somatic tracking.
    Bodhigirl and MentorCoach like this.
  9. Mimsy

    Mimsy New Member

    James I understand what you mean. I think you can use any soothing parenting skills that you acquire for any of your "in the moment" issues. I dont know how often we need to go back and dig up those old accidents, etc (although with a trained therapist cant see why not?). One of the soothing techniques I have used with my children is mirroring. it is explained here: http://parentingprocess.blogspot.com/2010/05/lets-consider-second-developmental.html (The Parenting Process: Mirroring) I strongly believe that it is a LACK of mirroring on the part of our caregivers that fostered emotional repression in us to begin with. Hope this link helps.

    On further reflection I think that some of these qualities that are desirable to nurture in Type A personalities would be, as Monte Heuftle notes in his book, to be more open, allowing, flexible, in a moment by moment way, especially in the face of the thoughts and behaviors and fears that come with this Type A personality. So for me that would mean starting with Somatic Tracking (which is essentially, allowing our feelings, and not repressing or judging them (this is Mirroring-and recommended for parents) and then using self talk to reinforce that our feelings are ok (more mirroring). And then maybe later, once calmer, asking questions to shift out of this Type A mode, such as "What if everything turned out ok?" or "How can I be more open or flexible in this moment?"
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  10. Click#7

    Click#7 Well known member

    There isn't a day that doesn't go by that I don't feel butterflies in my stomach and sometimes i don't even know why ? And yes it gets worse with pain....it helps to understand how to just observe it, breathe into it and finally soothe myself. Am I understanding you right ?
  11. Davenyc1

    Davenyc1 New Member

    Thank you Alan for your insight and caring to help us. My confidence is growing daily knowing that I am not broken or that I am the unique person who's body is constantly fighting them. These past 10 days has already taught me confidence in my health, to care about myself and Check in to see how I am feeling, and have the belief and assurance that there is nothing to fear. Life is good.
    MentorCoach likes this.
  12. Sonic

    Sonic Peer Supporter

    Having a bit of trouble getting my head around this one.

    As I understand it, as you check in to do the Somatic tracking. Any pain or anxiety that you encounter, you are to reassure yourself that you are ok, there is nothing to fear and all is good?
    Emre likes this.
  13. Emre

    Emre Peer Supporter

    Thank you Allen,

    my days turned to "fear thoughts hunting". i became like a paranoid to mindfully catch all the thoughts and situations which my brain might misread and try to comfort my brain. is this normal to live like this each day? whenever something makes my body anxious, i start to comfort my brain telling it that its no danger, all is in my control.. am i loosing it Alan??
  14. Mimsy

    Mimsy New Member

    Emre, when you say, you are "fear thought hunting" and when you discover something you tell yourself "there is no danger" or "all is in my control" I wonder...is that the same mode that we are in all day that we are trying to actually shift? My understanding of this course is that Alan is asking us to only observe what is going on, and allow and not argue with ourselves that there is no danger and that we are in control. Because, isn't that more of the same? I am sure Alan will have more info on how to shift. So that we can be more open, allowing, flexible in these situations. So that we are moving away from the thoughts and behaviors that keep us stuck. But for me, just observing is helpful. And the "soothing" has to be very allowing and welcoming and not persuading. Persuading does not work with my kids. They want to FEEL what they are feeling. they want to simply be heard. That is why I posted that link above to Mirroring as a parent. I hope you check out that link as I suspect in some form this will be part of the soothing....
    Emre likes this.
  15. Cherjoy

    Cherjoy New Member

  16. Cherjoy

    Cherjoy New Member

    For me it is not age-related. I used to wake up "crickety" with minor pains thinking it was age (I am 63). I no longer wake up feeling that way. Yoga practice (poses & philosophy has helped me tremendously.
    caligirlgonegreen likes this.
  17. Cherjoy

    Cherjoy New Member

    I removed these words from my speech & thought patterns: should, would have, could have, didn't, wouldn't, couldn't, can't, must, etc. They are just fear and beating myself up. Now I use these words instead: It would be good if..., I choose to ..., I'm not bad if I don't..., etc. I used to have lists of things (which were always the same) I should do. Got rid of those, too. I am not perfect; I am good enough.
  18. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    I thought this Ted Talks video on mindfulness jived well with this lesson as well as the lesson on Somatic Tracking. She speaks about paying kind attention to yourself and how "what we practice grows stronger" - meaning if you keep practicing it, you can change your neural pathways for the good.

    schnurma, gailnyc, Norrie and 3 others like this.
  19. MentorCoach

    MentorCoach Peer Supporter

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
    Penny2007 likes this.
  20. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hi Emre,
    Remember, the point of this exercise is to help teach your brain that you're safe. If you're in constant hypervigilant mode trying to hunt each fear thought, that sounds like the opposite of a safe feeling. I think the part of your mind that gravitates toward a fight or flight state is actually hijacking this process, so that it's using the practice of recognizing fear as a way to further inject you into a state of fear.

    Know that you don't have to catch every fear thought. It's hard to feel safe if you're constantly on the look out. It's great when you catch them, and you should definitely feel proud of yourself when you do, but it's okay if you don't catch some as well. The most important thing is to come at it from a place of ease, not a place of hypervigilance.

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