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Official Thread Section 3.4 Mindfulness

Discussion in 'Alan Gordon TMS Recovery Program' started by Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021), Jun 23, 2014.

  1. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is the official thread for Section 3.4 of the TMS Recovery Program donated by Alan Gordon of the Pain Psychology Center (PPC). This section is entitled "Mindfulness." Neither Alan nor the PPC necessarily endorses this thread or any of the viewpoints presented in it.

    Please keep these official threads on topic and put your best thoughts down, as these threads will be read by many people. All posts in this thread should all relate to section 3.4 of the TMS Recovery Program:

    In section 3.4, Alan writes the following:

    One of the best ways to learn to recognize your thought patterns is by utilizing the technique of mindfulness. It’s a great way to discover the messages you subtly give yourself, and for you perfectionists out there, could eventually lead to spiritual enlightenment. But let’s take it one step at a time.

    Click below for a mindfulness exercise

    Click here to download the mp3 audio

    If you want to learn more about mindfulness, I recommend the book, “Fully Present” by Susan Smalley and Diana Winston.​

    I found the mindfulness exercise in this section to be one of the best examples of how to breathe deeply. In the books and videos and online sites I’ve gone to for relaxation techniques, authorities all consider deep diaphragmatic breathing to be one of the most important things we can do. I’ve consistently found deep breathing helps me to relax and drive away fear, worry, anxiety.

    The book Alan mentions, “Fully Present,” is a great resource. Authors Susan Smalley, a behavior geneticist, and Diana Winston, a former Buddhist nun, enable readers to remedy their mindbody lifestyle. As founder/director and director, respectively, of UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center, the authors draw on their experience of bringing mindfulness to everyone and present the scientific side of mindfulness with an approach that results in a well-rounded formula for everyone.

    Research studies, personal accounts, and practical applications show that mindfulness is a form of meditation. With activities as simple as breathing, listening, and walking, the practice can be easily incorporated into any lifestyle. Smalley and Winston show us how to live a completely present life, even if what that means has yet to be fully understood.
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  2. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    This section reminds me of a book I read many years ago. It was called Playing Ball on Running Water, and its purpose was to direct the reader to be mindful and present during the course of his/her day. I'm going to have to get a hold of Fully Present, for I've learned so much by reading various TMS resources.

    One benefit I've discovered, when I can truly practice mindfulness, is that it helps me to focus on what's truly important in life. It does make it easier for me to let the small stuff go. One phrase I like to repeat is "The earth will still rotate!"
    Marian and Msunn like this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, it's good, Gigi, to keep in mind that "The Earth will still rotate!" Very few things deserve the seriousness with which we take them.

    It's like the news on television. Even the worst news eases up or goes away in time. Just to make room for more of it, I guess.
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  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I feel that practicing mindfulness is the most effective tool I have in my TMS healing toolbox. I would go even further than what Alan states in the quote above, and say that it not only helps us recognize our thought patterns, but also our emotional state and behavior patterns. Practicing mindfulness, whether through mindfulness meditation or by direct mindfulness (acting mindfully in the present moment), strengthens our inner observer--the part in ourselves that is aware of our thoughts, emotions, and behavior, rather than being totally caught up in them. This awareness then creates a gap where we can create change, and this is where healing occurs.

    Even though Sarno, to my knowledge, doesn't mention the use of mindfulness as a healing technique, to benefit from 'knowledge therapy' you must be aware that you are thinking physically/structurally about your pain and choose to substitute thinking psychologically instead. The more I have developed my awareness, or inner observer, the faster I am at catching my thinking errors and correcting them. This is true not only of thinking errors about my TMS, but also of stressful and fearful thoughts. I love the metaphor about thoughts being like trains arriving in a train station. We can either jump aboard a train (of thought) and see where it takes us, or we can stay in the station and watch the trains come and go. Since practicing mindfulness I am much better at quickly becoming aware that I have jumped on a train of thought that is causing me stress or fear, and therefore, I can jump off, and settle into the present moment where I can watch the trains come and go for awhile, and feel my stress and anxiety dissipate.

    But it has also helped me become aware of my emotional state and when feelings like irritation, annoyance, and frustration have arisen. Instead of getting caught up in these feelings, I try to use my awareness of them as a prompt to become mindful of the present moment. I take a deep breath and sink into the moment and try to stay there as long as I can, noticing and accepting. This practice has improved the quality of my life immeasurably. What would have previously been negative experiences, have now become positive ones.

    And a few months ago, I found myself aware of a behavior pattern that was causing me a great deal of tension and fueling my tension. I call it the 'habit of hurrying'. I realized that I frequently rushed through my day from one activity to the next. I believe this habit started during a time in my life when I was very busy being a wife, mother, student, and employee, and truly needed to hurry to get everything done, though my perfectionist tendencies made it worse than it needed to be. But this behavior pattern continued on even when I had no need to rush. Once I became aware of it, I could then use this awareness again as a prompt to become mindful. Within a week or so of beginning this practice, the residual tension that I had in my neck and shoulders finally went away, and I became pain free for the first time in 20 years.

    Mindfulness, like most techniques, takes practice and persistence. But the benefits have made it well worth the time and effort.
    Forest, speedysel, Marian and 6 others like this.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Practicing mindfulness, whether through mindfulness meditation or by direct mindfulness (acting mindfully in the present moment), strengthens our inner observer--the part in ourselves that is aware of our thoughts, emotions, and behavior, rather than being totally caught up in them. This awareness then creates a gap where we can create change, and this is where healing occurs...to benefit from 'knowledge therapy' you must be aware that you are thinking physically/structurally about your pain and choose to substitute thinking psychologically instead.

    Great contemplation Ellen! For me, mindfulness was already established pretty deeply before my TMS experience. Using Dr. Sarno's approach allowed me to connect all the inner conflicts, super ego activity, self-rejection, perfectionism, etc. to the pain. So I think the key for me is
    --see the mind activity
    --grasp common thinking patterns (like that the pain is physical, or I am a "worthless piece of sh*t.")
    --use Dr. Sarno's understanding that these mental activities create big emotions that we don't necessarily see which
    --lead to pain (Sarno's gift) by distracting us.
    --then observing and disengaging from these thinking patterns. Or short of that, at least "knowing that these patterns cause pain" (seeing the man behind the curtain) which removes the TMS pain-causing strategy.

    So mindfulness is critical in an educational cure. We need to see our mind activity in order to see and disengage from the TMS process.

    I highly recommend the book The Unfolding Now, by A. H. Almaas, for those who want to move toward greater self integration, with mindfulness. The first few chapters explore how satisfying it is to be with our truth moment-to-moment. A deep part of us wants to be with all our experience with precision and attunement. You might say our "Soul" is very interested!
  6. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Practising mindfulness has not only brought me healing from TMS, but given me the ability to cope with life's ups and downs every day.

    This morning I started my day getting stuck in the lift at work. I immediately panicked and even started whimpering for a second, and then my mindfulness kicked in, and I started breathing deeply, and once I had contact with security, I focused my mind on staying calm. If it wasn't for my daily mindfulness practice I'm not sure how I would have endured that long half an hour.

    For me mindfulness is being aware of my moment to moment thoughts, and observing them non-judgementally. We all have times when we feel inadequate or fearful, for example, at work, where we all go through periods of self-doubt. Rather than allowing this to snowball - as I have done in the past - with mindfulness, I am aware of feeling those insecurities, and staying with them rather than resisting. The staying part is not to be feared, but is very important, because within a few moments those feelings pass. Despite working in a very stressful environment, my mindfulness practice has given me new strength to cope with those difficult days, and given me a calmness I never thought I would have.

    The benefits of mindfulness are endless, but as Ellen so eloquently said, it needs to be practised all the time. It then becomes automatic, and those hours, days, and months of consistent practice pay off.

    My TMS pain was thriving on inner tension in my body, so mindfulness gave me the ability to see this tension and release it, dissolving the pain.

    TMS healing cannot take place without mindfulness, and once you overcome TMS through mindfulness, you realise the enormous power you have within you to anticipate and manage any warning signs of TMS as they come along. Mindfulness is a miracle too good to pass up!
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
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  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Colly. What a wonderful post. You sure have mindfulness working for you.
    It's fantastic how you used it in the lift situation. I think we all fear being trapped like that.
    You practiced deep breathing and focused your mind on feeling calm and you kept under control.

    I'm going to save your post for a file on mindfulness.
    Marian likes this.
  8. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you Walt that's very kind. I had a timely reminder this weekend to keep up practising mindfulness - every day, even on weekends!

    I made the mistake of giving my mindfulness a break for the weekend, and then found myself getting irritated about silly stuff, which my hubby kindly pointed out to me! I realised that I was stewing over an email from a work colleague in Perth that I read on the way home from work Friday night. While the staff in Perth are supposedly 'working together' with myself and others in Melbourne on a project, it's becoming very nasty and there is a distinct "us and them" attitude now. The email was my colleague trying to undermine me, which I felt was immature and unprofessional, but what I should have done was closed my eyes on the train and sat with the feeling of annoyance, and then forgave him, as he and others are feeling threatened by the workload distribution. Silly sausage me decided to leave my mindfulness at work - where I need it most - and thinking I was in 'weekend mode' switched to believing I was relaxed, but the reality was I was churning inside, angry about my so-called work-mate's attempt to point-score, at my expense. Thanks to switching on mindfulness I have calmed down my inner-tension and let the sting out of the email:)

    So mindfulness can never take a holiday, because it's during a holiday we often need it most!
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
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  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Silly Sausage. Our inner tension can sting us anytime. Your work colleague needs to think about how what he says
    affects others. I'd just be glad I wasn't married to him.

    I recently found a YouTube video
    that I like a lot and keep on my desktop, about reframing negative emotions. The video is a real good one
    to help keep us in the present moment.

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  10. Colly

    Colly Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks Walt, this is excellent. Just goes to show that simple techniques often have the most life-changing results.
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  11. Marian

    Marian Peer Supporter

    Excellent video, Walt. Thanks for posting! This is a great thread. I'm finding meditation and mindfulness to be the primary tool when working with TMS. Otherwise, my mind is up to its same old tricks before I know it.
  12. Peggy

    Peggy Well known member

    I found an excellent article summarizing one of Eckhart Tolle's books, Stillness Speaks. I think Eckhart is one of the great modern day mindfulness teachers. Here are a few quotes from the article. These quotes address suffering, which seems to be a common malady amongst us all at one time or another.

    "True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment. This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering."

    "Is suffering really necessary? Yes and no. If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depths to you as a human being–no humility, no compassion. You would not be listening to this now. Suffering cracks open the shell of ego. And then comes a point where it has served its purpose."

    "Suffering is necessary until you realize that it is unnecessary."

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  13. egrote

    egrote Newcomer

    For 2 years I’ve been struggling with Adrenal fatigue, Hypothyroidism and sex hormone imbalances. I knew in my gut, from the start, that the Adrenal Fatigue could be TMS. But I’d been so overwhelmed by the symptoms: severe insomnia, easily startled, anxiety, heart palpitations and more - to dig into the emotional work to look at root causes.
    AF technically is an imbalance in cortisol in the body, which in turn, over produces adrenaline to compensate. After reading Sarno’s book it was my hunch that my shallow breathing may have caused oxygen deprivation to my adrenals - thus tripping this awful cascade of AF. Anyway - it’s just my hunch. I’ve got an appt in Sept to confirm or deny my suspicion. I’m still taking my meds, which I cannot abruptly stop - but with doing the TMS work, in time I think I’ll be able to wean off them.
    That said, treating the AF as TMS, in the meantime, has helped enormously. I’ve started doing yoga again - which I missed terribly and am becoming better and mindfulness. One day at a time. I’m also following the TMS Recovery program as outlined in this Wiki.
    I started Transcendental Meditation November 2014. I really like that it’s twice a day. I look forward to that respite in my day - and my kids and husband respect the space I need around it. A few other things that have really helped me:
    Yoga: For a home practice, I’m particularly fond of Eoin Finn, Blissology.com
    App: Brainwave 32 Binaural Programs, helps with Insomnia
    Book: Hope and Help for Your Nerves, Claire Weekes
    CD: Journey Through The Chakras , Baron-Reid, Colette
    Support: TMShelp.com & tmswiki.org of course!
    Fabi likes this.
  14. Cheryl

    Cheryl Peer Supporter

    This my have been suggested here before but I have found the mindful meditation recordings by Diana Winston at the UCLA mindful awareness center just perfect for me. There's a whole list of them at the site, they are about a half an hour long. If you are looking for some excellent guided meditation check out the site. http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=107
    ps they are free!
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  15. Jerseygirl

    Jerseygirl New Member

    The one thing that I have been doing pretty consistently every day re mindfulness work is to is to read an entry from "A Year With Rumi", daily readings translated by Colemen Parks. Rumi was a Sufi poet. I am not religious but these short poems take me right to a peaceful, calm place of reflection on a variety of universal, human themes. I also like to use a creative journaling technique that Lynda Barry describes in her book "Syllabus" because it helps me to stay in the present.
    Cheryl likes this.

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