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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Key to healing

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by balto, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    The list below belong to a member on tms help forum with the screen name ACE1. He is a former tms patient of doctor Sarno, he is also a cancer doctor. He came up with this list after he was able to cure himself. It is the most read post in that forum. I really think if you truly follow every key below, you will heal. I think they are all great advises. I send it to all people who ask me question on mind body issue they have.
    I hope you all find it helpful and I hope ACE doesn't mind I copy and paste it here. Thanks ACE.

    1. Try to be aware of all internal reactions through your day

    2. Try to just act as normal but at ease (not fear) as much possible with the least concern to your symptoms that you can in a forget about your body type of manner. Try not to modify your behavior or do anything differently physically because of the symptoms as best as you can except being easy on yourself when you need to be.

    3. Worrying about or preoccupation with the symptoms (challenging, constantly evaluating them, reacting to them, or trying to make them better) makes you lose your ability to see that you're emotionally uncomfortable. Just use them as a sign that something’s not right emotionally. Interpreting the symptoms as anything other than a sign will impede your progress. Ask yourself; am I emotionally uncomfortable right now? Am I preparing too much for something, putting so much weight to it? Am I too focused or driven on something? What agenda do I have right now? Is there anything I'm just trying to get over with? Pause and look at the overall general picture to see how uncomfortable you may be and what it may be about. Also ask do I always do the same thing when the symptoms are there or especially bad? If the symptoms are especially bad ask, is there something different today from the other days (more work to do, deadline, event). Try to be as specific as possible. Once you find out why, the recognition helps in itself and you can use directed mind power techniques (see #10 below). Sometimes you will see these patterns in retrospect and you will know next time you encounter them (i.e. You get pain prior to dinner but after you eat it gets much better. You think it must have been the importance you placed on eating and possibly the rush and intensity in accomplishing this. You think of this the next time you encounter the situation and use directed affirmations. And, yes, it can be something this trivial).

    4. Recognize that certain situations make your symptoms worse. This is because you have said a lot of negative things, thought a lot of negative thoughts, or done something with extreme intensity about these situations in the past. This may be related to being sensitized to the situation from your childhood or some other reason (like in the example stated in #3, your mother may have put too much importance for you to eat as a child). You have to decondition yourself to these situations. It is also important to recognize these situations and the reason for your symptoms every time you’re experiencing them and bring this recognition thought to the forefront of your thinking.

    5. When you are in these sensitized (conditioned) situations, don't run away from them, stay in them, sit in them and this time, take an approach that you are comfortable in the situation. Behave opposite to what you did before. If you have symptoms, don't let them bother you or sensitize you more to the situation as best as you can. Use your affirmations here. Sometimes just stopping for a moment in these situations and just taking breaths and trying to reach a deeper level of relaxation is helpful. This works by breaking the intense, focused train of thought that is present in these situations.

    6. Recognizing why you may be sensitized is helpful, but not essential to recovery. It uncovers ways you may mentally strain as a overall picture and allows you to apply directed mind power techniques. (Described more below #10) (I.e. you were picked on as a child, now any criticism from a spouse sparks very intense reactions, you see this and now repeat I forgive and let go easily)

    7. It is also important to note that situations that you have not deconditioned yourself to will produce symptoms in you that make you feel that you have made no progress even if you’re close to being cured. Don't let this disway you as you only need to decondition yourself to these situations as well. (Your symptom free most of the time but get symptoms at the beach, a place you haven't been to in a long time but it was a place you were you were sensitized to in the past. You could be sensitized to this situation just be because you had severe symptoms there before)

    8. The problem is really a mental strain (mentally excited, hyped up, held up, on edge, or anticipatory feeling) related to a perceived important/stressful situation that is then pushed into a physical strain/bracing/constriction in usually one part of your body which leads to symptoms. It can be to something perceived as bad OR good. This strain becomes somewhat a type of automatic HABIT and mode that you go into as a conditioned reaction. IT BECOMES A HABITUAL STRAIN that you don't see any more. The primary problem is the mental strain but the physical strain plays a role too. Therefore your goal is to be at peace with everything and do things with ease. If you begin to get the start of a symptom, don't strain into it more or try to force the affected area to function. Its ok to be still and accept the symptoms and work on the mental strain and conditioning. You will think that the way you react/feel is normal (and that you are not in a hyped up mode) because it is so habitual, but if you have symptoms, it is there. Also, it is your goal to prevent the strain or reaction/mode in the first place, because after you strain the resultant pain/symptoms do linger for a bit before they dissipate even if you try to relax.

    9. One type of strain is that we expect our body/self to accomplish the impossible. We try to be faster than we can possibly be, angrier than we can stand, more afraid than what's good for us, nicer and better than what is humanly possible. That strain, in a way, is a pushing feeling beyond ones limit or capability. A lot of this in the beginning is consciously chosen due to one’s intense personality, but later becomes an unconscious habit. As you can see, this is a mental strain as there is no physical aspect to it. This leads to the hyped up feeling (a type of mental strain/reaction) and you start to use your body in a way as if it can accomplish this goal (which it really can't), which leads you to physically strain. This mental strain doesn’t ever help accomplish your unattainable goals (the impossible) all it does is breaks your body down and turns into a bad habit. It is the treatment of the original mental strain that should be your primary goal. Try to pay attention to this key especially when in a situation where you’re usually under time constraints like at work.

    10. Work on the mental strain by deconditioning and changing strained habits through the use of mind power, mostly affirmations and good self-talk and by behaving in a peaceful, relaxed manner. My main affirmations were "I take my time, forgive and let go easily" and "I'm calm relaxed, patient and confident". I also really like "I am always easy on myself" and "I am comfortable with doing nothing." It is always better to think of the meaning of the words and imagine what it would feel like to be that way as you say them, but saying them mindlessly still helps. In some situations just repeating one word over and over such as "relaxed" is more effective than the phrases, sometimes the phrases are more effective. You will just have to experiment. Do mind power on an as needed basis (EVERY TIME when having symptoms or psychologically bothered) and around sleep (5 min for each affirmation or visualization before and after sleep, the longer affirmation versus the one word is usually better here because it is more specific to your future goal). You may be doing this all day at first. You also have to be consistent with this on an everyday basis. CONSISTENT MINDPOWER TO REDUCE MY STRAIN WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MY RECOVERY. Other mind power techniques I also used but not as consistently were visualizations. One visualization I used was imaging myself and what it would feel like to breathe in a white mist, with the mist representing calmness. When I exhaled the mist i imagined it colorless as if the calmness had been absorbed into my body. Another one is imagining yourself in a very peaceful place like a meadow with flowers - I did this when I was in situations where it was more difficult to relax. Visualization can be used in a different way also, you can use it to visualize yourself doing the thing that you are anticipating that is causing you to strain before you do it. You can even visualize yourself in the situation that causes you to strain while you’re ACTUALLY IN that situation, while seeing the objects around you in your mind. It is a form of recognition and from the perspective of the observer; it shows your mind that the situation is not a big deal. It also gives the event/task spatial time and value as opposed to before were you didn’t want to give the task/event any time and you wished it didn't have to be done. Obviously, as you do it, imagine yourself doing it in a easy fashion. One example is let's say you wake up and are feeling strained to rush to finish showering before going to work. Imagine yourself walking into the shower slowly and easily and imagine yourself easily doing and finishing the showering. Alternatively, you can just imagine yourself in the shower as you are actually showering while imagining the water, the shower head and everything around you (it doesn't have to be imagined in real time, it can be in clips but don't do it rushed). One more technique is palming, where you close your eyes and cup your eyes with both hands to exclude light. You could do this while saying your affirmation in the background (this really does work). An important note about affirmations/visualizations is I don't think they are enough by themselves. They are tools to help you break conditioned habits of strain, so use them to help you get to the state of relaxation that you need to get to in the various situations. So what this means is once you see yourself wanting to get too excited about something, you consciously stop from going down that line of behavior in addition to using the additional mind power tools.

    11. Eliminate all negative talk and stop yourself from going down a negative line of thinking. This is "negative" mind power.

    12. Be active if possible independent of the symptoms (not for overcoming your illness, but to be comfortable with your body) and do things you were afraid to do gradually, not to challenge, but just to do them. (I.e. if I play soccer and there is back pain, I will not think of using my back more or strain with it more to get it "used" to activity. I would just play soccer, and if in pain, just accept it and use affirmations if necessary). As you get into the game, you'll probably forget about it. This activity can be slowly and gradually increased as not to increase the strain. You want to coerce you body back to normality. There should be no activity or force directed in response to the symptoms. If symptoms are severe at a certain point, it is ok to limit activities temporally until you are in a better mental state to proceed with the rigorous activity.

    13. Recognize you are bringing your tension level set point down over time from a very high level and breaking habits which will take time. You are doing this treatment not for the moment but for the future. Until you get far along enough, you will not be able to stop the symptoms at will and that’s ok. Most people with severe or consistent symptoms will a lot of times need some years for full resolution.

    14. One of the biggest sources of tension and strain is being in a rush or wanting to be somewhere other than where you are right now. It’s not being fast per se, but the strain that can be associated with wanting to be fast. Another way to look at this is that one is always projecting themselves into the future or pushing their body even past its limit as if one can make it go faster, which one can't. One's drive can be so intense, that anything that gets in one's way will cause a conflict and thus symptoms. I also believe that the symptoms make the person want to rush more because when someone is in pain or uncomfortable, they just want to get tasks of daily living just "over with". I think this somehow intensifies the strain and illness and makes symptoms present almost all day, with every task present in life. Also a lot of times there is a feeling to escape the symptoms themselves and that perpetuates them by keeping the person out of the present moment even more so. When someone has symptoms and they can't figure out what’s bothering them, it is usually the need to be in a rush, to escape, or to just want to get a task just out of the way. Another one is the feeling that one should be doing something more productive than what they are doing right now. See if you can recognize these feelings when they happen and try to resolve them by not going with them, acting the opposite, and using the affirmations. One very good way to recognize this is by asking - AM I OK BEING IN THIS SITUATION I AM IN RIGHT NOW? The recognition in its self helps relax these rush feelings and helps you direct your mind power techniques. Recognition is VERY helpful.

    15. The URGE to just be finished with something or to want to get somewhere quickly so bad is I think equivalent to the pain/symptom, but it has just become dissociated from its original meaning, which why it is just pain/symptom. (This is along the same lines of what is said in #14). Another way to think about this overall concept is that you have made (conditioned) yourself to be uncomfortable in almost every situation and the urge is to escape. Try not to reinforce this urge by going with it. Act as if you have nowhere to go. Take your time and go slower. You have to just sit in these uncomfortable situations and make yourself comfortable again to get better. It is also helpful to recognize and put your attention on this urge/strain if you can find it and try to bring back its meaning to it, then use an affirmation in the background of this. Try to do your chores of daily living while resisting this urge and make this your new habit of how you do things.

    16. Along the lines of what is stated in #14 and #15, when in a rush to get something over with, we tend to hold our breath until whatever is completed so we feel we can breathe again. The lack of breath tends to accentuate the physical strain we talked about earlier. Therefore, when having symptoms, or when you get into a hyped up mode, it may be helpful to encourage continuous breathing without pausing. Also don't valsalva or bear down when put in a sensitized situation.

    17. Observe the strain if possible when you sit in it and do your mind power. See generally how hyped-up or in a overall excited state you are in. Also see the part of your inner body that is trying to push beyond its limit or what type of impatient or irritated urge you may have. You may have to stop and pause for a second from whatever it is you are doing to look and see in the big picture how hyped up (strained) you are. Now imagine how it would feel like if you were in ths situation without this strain being present. Somehow first seeing the strain allows you to be able to relax it and imagine what it would be like without it. Affirmations can be helpful here as well. One can also in general observe their symptoms/symptomatic body parts as long as they don't pull away from them or strain in to them more.

    18. Anything that is annoying to you is a source of symptoms, so try not to let whatever it is become annoying to you, just accept it. Be aware that after having symptoms for some time even tasks of daily living become annoying. Anger or irritation that you can't stand obviously also applies. Don't add more fuel to the fire when this happens, observe it and let it go, while trying not to let your body strain inside in reaction to it. Affirmations in the background of this can be helpful. Try also not to ever think of yourself as wronged or a victim, this only leads down the path of negative thinking, conflict and pain. You can act, but don’t react and forgive.

    19. One additional technique that could be used is the following. Picture someone, something that annoys or bothers you, or something that traumatized you in the past that still affects you in your mind and use an affirmation like "I forgive and let go easily", over and over while seeing their face or picturing the situation. This works very well after just having had an argument with a spouse, family member or friend. Another technique that could be used would be to self-record a directed affirmation and have the player repeat it all night while sleeping.

    20. Remember, someone who can change their life to take out major stressors (quit a job, divorce etc) will get better faster than ones who cannot and has to accept their life the way it is and recondition themselves. Unless the circumstance is extreme or very easy to fix, it is to your benefit to recondition yourself than to change your life.

    21. When an event that bothers you happens, if you don't try to resolve it (bring the tension level/hyped up mode down first before carrying on), this will lead to symptoms. I think this is what is meant by repression. The tension level is allowed to go wild, and is ignored without attempts to resolve it in one's own mind, without calming down about it, or without reconditioning one's self. Another way of looking at this is there is the thought, I will only relax after so and so is completed, so you are on edge until you are done doing what you have to do. This is wrong thinking and you have to learn to be relaxed while doing whatever it is you are doing. You will want to go with the old habits, but you have to consciously make the choice not to do this.

    22. When you heal, the pain more so fades away, so there is no battle that is then eventually won. It's ok to be easy on yourself and on the symptomatic body part when the tension level is very high. Don’t feel you have something to prove or that you have let it beat you. Bring the tension level down first then you will see that your symptoms have subsided enough for you to function. The healing process is done very gradually, with a very gradual improvement in symptoms and ability to do things you were unable to do before. You cannot do anything physical to heal (which includes fighting).

    23. Everything to your best should be done with peace, calmness, forgiveness and ease (WITHOUT STRAIN or WITH FUNCTIONAL RELAXATION. You need mental control to achieve this.). Some people talk, behave and function in a strained way and this is to be recognized and modified for cure to occur. Observing a video of yourself may help to clue you in on this. Also be good to yourself.

    24. Try to think of the big picture when applying these techniques and when trying to achieve relaxation. Most people with symptoms are too detail oriented and are intense in that regard. They also try to apply this detail orientation and intensity to their symptoms and to trying to get rid of them. When one looks to see if they are emotionally uncomfortable or strained, it is better to look at it from a general/big picture sense than focusing and trying to find some tiny little detail. Then it is helpful to try to achieve ease in the big picture as well. Part of your cure is to stop thinking in this intense manner and to now be more laid back and think of the big picture. One may strain in normal little daily routines like eating, talking or doing small tasks and it is important to see this and change it, but the recognition and fix of the strain in these little things is thought of in the big picture.

    25. It is also helpful for some to make a list of possible things that bother them or cause them unease. Reflect on these bothersome things and try to fix them if you can and if it's easy enough, otherwise you have to decondition yourself to make them not a big deal anymore as mentioned above and this usually takes time.

    26. Sometimes one may think about a certain task, position, situation or movement and you may immediately get the feeling that you will get symptoms with this event. This is because you are thinking about doing this event in intense, get it over with manner, whether your aware or not. Try to rethink about this event being done in a very gentle, eased manner and that you will give it all the time and ease it needs and you will not get the same type of reaction to it. Never make anything that your about to be involved in to be such a difficult thing and do not make yourself feel so much resistance in doing it.

    27. If you're unsure if something you are doing is helping your recovery or not is to ask the following question - Is this helping me to calm my overly sensitized nervous system and build resistance to reacting to the events in my day?

    28. This has to be undertaken as a major project for it to work, with consistent all day practice. Also the time needed for recovery must be given no matter how long it takes. This type of recovery will simply NOT work if is undertaken in a superficial manner. You really have to practice all day to get good at this.

    29. Recommended books are Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno; The Power of Now/A New Earth by Echardt Tolle (I like the audio versions); and Mind Power into the 21st Century by John Kehoe (In this book, techniques should be used to achieve mental relaxation). Possibly read them in that order.
    silentflutes, Nana, plum and 20 others like this.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Balto and thanks for posting this. Anything that helps people heal is great in my book and there is some great advice in here.

    When I think of this list, I think of the very first letter in TMS: the T for Tension. Way back in the 70s, when Dr. Sarno first coined the term TMS, he had the tremendous wisdom to see straight to the heart of the condition and see that it fundamentally came from tension. Not physical tension, but rather mental tension, and specifically unconscious tension.

    Childhood experiences are clearly an important part of TMS for many or even most people, but that doesn't mean that the tension is necessarily about something that happened way back in childhood. On the contrary, it could be that experiences from childhood formed our personality and that aspects of our personality are what are creating our current unconscious tension. For example, a lack of secure attachment (loving relationships that make you feel safe) could lead to someone becoming a perfectionist or a goodist because they feel like they have to be perfect and good in order to feel safe. However, when, as an adult, we always feel like we have to be perfect and good, that creates a great deal of tension for us. It is, in fact, enraging. However, while our tension may be indirectly caused by the past (our childhood), it is just as influenced by the present. Sometimes people make terrific strides in their healing by focusing on their tension in the present. I call these approaches "Present-based approaches," and for a lot of people, I think that that can be a very good thing. Ace's list does a great job of communicating a very helpful present-based approach, and I'd encourage anyone to give it a read and think deeply about it.

    Balto, tonight at 6PM PST, we are having a call in discussion group to discuss Steve Ozanich's chapter on how to heal. If Herbie doesn't mind, perhaps we could talk a little bit about this post as well and think about how the two relate to each other. Tennis Tom, njoy, Eric "Herbie" Watson, and myself are all regular callers, so there will quite a few "familiar faces." You probably don't have time and I wouldn't want to impose, but if you are at all interested, I'd be more than happy to help you connect.

    If anyone else is interested in learning more about the Present Based Approach, I wrote the following which might also help:

    Living Tension Free

    Tension fuels our Tension Myositis Syndrome, and for many people, learning how to decrease their emotional tension is key to their recovery. You may not be consciously aware of all of the tension that you carry around on a day to day basis. So how do we identify our hidden emotional tension and learn to manage it?

    Increase your emotional intelligence
    Living tension free involves increasing your emotional intelligence and developing skills at reducing emotional tension. Emotional intelligence simply refers to becoming aware of your emotional and physical reactions each day. When and why do you generate anxiety? What do you ruminate on? What are the situations when your internal bully comes out? By being more aware some people have found that they were able to gain true control over the part of their symptoms that they could control. This is not about identifying repressed emotions. Instead it focuses on present emotions that affect your thoughts and well being minute by minute.

    Letting our internal bully get out of control
    “You are not good enough,” “No one will ever like you,” “You are ugly,” “You don’t deserve happiness.”
    These may seem like very mean things to say, but they are exactly what we tell ourselves every single day. Everyone has a little voice in their head telling them all sorts of things. Sometimes this voice can be uplifting and encouraging, but other times this voice can seem more like an internal bully. This internal bully creates all sorts of negative thoughts and generates an extremely large amount of tension. When you notice your internal bully getting out of control, it is important to stand up to it and tell yourself that you are worthy.

    First, learn to identify where this inner bully is coming from. When did you learn to treat yourself so badly? Who is the inner critic? Once you recognize the root of this criticism, you can stand up to it, by changing your thoughts. Tell yourself that you are good enough, and recognize how angry you are. Comfort and sooth your inner child who is being tormented. If you allow your emotions to be present at these moments, you will reduce your inner bully and increase your emotional intelligence.

    Obsessing over recovering the right way
    No one wants to be in chronic pain, so of course you want to recover as soon as possible. You want to do everything you can to make sure that you do everything exactly right, and that is the problem. The more you try to do something perfect, the more pressure you put on yourself, which creates more tension. Remember the key to recovery is to decrease your emotional tension .This can not be achieved if you are obsessing over doing everything right. By focusing on doing something the right way, you are distracting yourself from your emotions.

    In the end, there is no right or wrong way to recover, because with TMS there is nothing that you do not need to fix yourself, only realize that your symptoms are benign.

    Ruminating on Something
    We have all been there: worrying about something that happened at work, thinking over and over about something that will happen later in the week. Some examples of this are:

    • Replaying past events over and over again in your head
    • Worrying about upcoming events
    • Thinking about worst-case scenarios
    What you don’t realize is that when you are in this state of rumination you are increasing tension in your body and fueling your symptoms. You are not focusing on the present and are not allowing your emotions.

    Check in with your body. Notice how activated your body is: feel your heartbeat racing, are your eyes dilated, feel your breath quickening. These are all signs that you are hyperaroused. Use your body’s autonomic stress response to recognize when you need to take control over your thoughts and focus on the present. Gaining emotional intelligence means understanding what triggers you.

    Take a breath and begin to bring your focus back to the present. Begin to think about what you are doing at that moment. What is the activity you are doing? How do you feel in the present moment?

    When are your afraid of your symptoms
    Fear is the fuel of TMS. It keeps you focused on your symptoms and prevents you from living your life. For many people, it can be difficult to fully understand the depths of their fear, but gaining this knowledge is one of the first steps to recovery. Most of this fear revolves around having a serious medical condition, however with TMS your symptoms are benign. Therefore, there is no need to fear your symptoms.

    The first step to reduce your fear of your symptoms is to learn to recognize when their fear occurs or ramps up.

    It may seem like a scary idea, but deep down we all have repressed rage. The more you investigate your emotions, the more in tune you will become with what this rage is about or towards. The closer you get to his rage, however, the more emotional tension you may develop, as you may fear what will happen when you discover it.

    This rage is perfectly normal, and does not mean you love someone any less.

    Learn to Soothe yourself
    In the Mindbody Prescription, Dr. Sarno writes, “the occurrence of symptoms reflects too much rage and not enough counteracting soothing elements in one’s life.” pg. 29

    The emotional tension you have been generating is the reason why your symptoms occurred when they did. Luckily, significant progress can be made by simply soothing yourself. The more relaxed you are and the more you are kind to yourself, the less tension you will generate on a day by day basis. The goal here is to develop skills at increasing positive thoughts and decreasing negative ones. By achieving the following goals, you will be able to combat your anxiety and successfully sooth yourself.

    Find Joy and/or Relaxation
    The more joy you have in your life, the more confidence you will gain in the TMS approach and yourself. This will go a long way in reducing overall tension in your life. Learn to take pleasure in the little things in life, and find time to relax throughout the day. Feeling like you have to be on the go all the time is what got you here in the first place. By finding small ways to create joy and relaxation in your life, you will balance the anxiety you generate on a day-to-day basis.

    Most of the TMS distraction involves worrying about the past or future and thinking about your symptoms. This increases tension and anxiety. Meditation will help you learn how to return your attention back to the present. It will also help you become more allowing and accepting of your emotions, which will help you limit the amount of emotions you repress moment to moment.

    Increase your confidence
    You are not good enough; You will never be happy; Your pain will never go away; You will never be able to play with your kids again.

    We have all been there. That place where you feel like you can’t do anything, and where your self confidence is at an all time low. But you can stand up to your inner bully and find small ways to increase your confidence. To start, remind yourself that you do not have a physical problem. While your pain is present, it will go away, and does not have to limit your activity.

    The more confidence you have in yourself, the more you will accept the diagnosis, which will lead to a reduction of your symptoms.

    Begin doing activities you love to do
    One of the more frustrating parts of having chronic pain is giving doing activities you love. When you begin to do some of these activities that you have been avoiding you will begin to feel like you have your life back. Joy leads to confidence, which reduces inner stress and tension.

    Gain acceptance and equanimity
    If you have TMS, you have difficulty accepting and allowing your emotions. Whenever you repress your emotions, you are building up emotional tension. The only way to decrease this tension is by learning to accept your emotions and gain mental calmness.

    The first step in this is to overcome your fear of your emotions. Don’t be afraid of the discomfort of feeling your emotions. Most of the time when a person pushes an emotion away it is because they feel discomfort in their body. Remember, the feeling is only temporary. Don’t resist emotions, be it anger, rage, anxiety, fear. Accept these emotions and they will fade away quickly. If you allow yourself to sit and experience the emotion, it will slowly go away. Experience your emotions, don’t think about your emotion. This is not about intellectualizing but about feeling.

    As for your symptoms, try not to challenge them, as it will only draw your attention to your symptoms. Sometimes challenging them makes things better. Other times it makes them worse. You must learn to watch yourself to figure out which is which, and when to challenge yourself and when not to. Do not try to force your recovery. Any time you think you have to do xyz activity in order to get better, stop and ask yourself if you are trying to force it to much. Accepting the diagnosis means that you believe your symptoms are benign. Therefore, you do not need to challenge your symptoms, because there is nothing to challenge.

    [the following is a second essay]
    Self Monitor

    Recovering from Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) involves learning to use your body as signal that something else is going on. This condition is caused by repressed emotions, which means that most of us are not skilled at knowing what we are feeling and, perhaps more importantly, why we feel they way we do. A useful technique to learn to think psychologically is to use your body to identify when you are activated and hyperaroused. Doing so will allow you to reduce your current emotional tension and therefore reduce your present symptoms.

    What do you mean by Current Emotional Tension?
    Emotional Tension refers to anytime we are acting in a repressing manner, and are not being in touch with our true emotions. This consists of having negative thoughts and focusing on the worse-case scenarios. Some examples of emotional tension are:
    • anxiety
    • worrying about the past and/or future
    • rage
    • ruminating on something
    • Letting our internal bully get out of control
    • Obsessing over recovering the right way
    • Being afraid of our symptoms
    Learn to Recognize Your Tension
    All of these emotional states activate our Amygdala, an emotional center of our brain, which amplifies our symptoms and leads to more fear, anxiety, and worrying. In addition, the emotional tension we create, on a minute by minute basis, also engages our body’s physical stress response through the Autonomic Nervous System and the HPA axis. This is the reason your heart beats faster when you have anxiety. Our bodies react to our emotional states. If we have emotional tension, our bodies will reflect that.

    By paying attention to the sensations in our bodies, we can use these physical signals to Think Psychologically and figure out what is generating our tension. This can help us better understand what we react to. This means that if we feel our bodies activating our stress response, we can identify when we have emotional tension building up inside us presently. If you feel your heart rate start to increase, your pupils dilate, your breathing accelerate, these are all signs that you need to get in touch with your present emotional state.

    Use your body’s natural stress response to identify when you are repressing present emotions. From there, go back one to one of the most basic principles of Sarno’s work and Think Psychological. Ask yourself, “what am I thinking right now,” and “why do I feel this way right now.” If you can bring your focus back to the present and to what you are feeling in this moment, your symptoms will reduce.

    1. Monitor Your Body
    2. Think Psychological
    3. Your symptoms will reduce
    Where is Your Energy
    A great deal of what drives our "Tension" Myoneural Syndrome is simply our own tension. There is a tremendous amount of value to be had in just watching where your energy goes on a day to day basis. One way to start with this is the following very simple classic exercise: get a blank piece of paper and draw a stick figure in the center. Now, around it, draw all of the sources of tension that are using your energy. Just write the words out like a spider diagram or word map. Use the insights that you have refined from journaling to understand the sources of that tension. Then ask yourself what you can do to be kind to yourself. What can you do to lessen that tension? Can you forgive? Can you accept? (It may take time, of course.) Can you make changes? Can you simply accept that some of the things will unavoidably cause tension and that while that is unpleasant, you can mindfully ignore that tension or feel it in your body and let it slip away? Can you use an affirmation to reduce the tension? Can you invent techniques of your own to manage it?

    Healing from TMS is a great deal like meditation. Once you achieve peace with not yet being where you are going, that is when you will actually get there. This may seem paradoxical, but it can be done. Just watch your tension levels, and get drawn back into the life that your symptoms always distracted you from. Settle in to it a little and just focus on living (and enjoying) the best life that you can. (From the thread: Frustrated)
    Pietro Carloni, Hayley, Mari and 10 others like this.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    So much good advice in these posts it would take a week to reply.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    balto, thanks so much for posting and letting us know about ACE's TMS healing techniques.

    I also appreciated your other posts.

    Herbie and I are writing a book about TMS, following Dr. Sarno's books, and Herbie knows him.
    We're going to contact him to ask permission to use in our book some of what you posted.

    I just spoke with Forest and he agrees it would be great to include in our book.
    We all want to work together to spread he word about TMS and how to recover from the symptoms.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  5. aseth28

    aseth28 New Member

    These are some amazing suggestions! I literally had tears in my eyes when I read this. This Describes my feelings and inner bully perfectly. Thank you so much for posting this. If you have more suggestions on where I can find more helpful suggestions on healing, around this site, please let me know.

    Thanks so much!
  6. LoriL

    LoriL Newcomer

    Hi All!

    This is my first post on this forum. Just discovered it! I'm def a TMSer. But found freedom through Steve Ozanich's book "The Great Pain Deception: Why Faulty Medicine is Making Us Worse." It is endorsed by Dr. Sarno on the front cover. It was a game changer for me. I can run again. Hike. Exercise. Hey, I just ran my first 1/2 marathon after a 9 year hiatus during which time I've have had a hip resurfacing surgery, a hip replacement, hundreds of hours of acupuncture, physio, prolotherapy, laser therapy, cortisol treatments, massage, etc. I threw everything I had a dealing with the chronic pain I was in. Nothing helped. Of course it didn't ... it was all in my head! Hoy ve.

    Anyhow, Steve's book was an amazing read. I saw myself on every page. After that book, I did try to read Dr Sarno's books, but the style was not as engaging and I found I read a few chapters and put it down. With Steve's, I devoured it. I bought a case and give them out to my friends who are suffering.

    Just thought to share that and to offer hope to anyone out there with chronic pain. There IS a solution!
  7. CelesteDeCamps

    CelesteDeCamps Newcomer

    I am so glad I found this site. An amazing amount of great information. I'm already putting together my reading list. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this post. I would like to suggest a great book that helped me a lot: Francine Shapiro "Getting Past Your Past"-
    Francine Shapiro, the creator of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), explains how our personalities develop and why we become trapped into feeling, believing and acting in ways that don't serve us
  8. laugiss

    laugiss New Member

    de las mejores publicaciones que leido, sin lugar a dudas puede hacer todo en la práctica, a pesar de leer y varios libros, esta publicación te explica lo más sencillo como puede generar tensión. mil gracias.
  9. jonconner

    jonconner Peer Supporter

    Tahbsk for this post. Lots of great informations

    how would point 2 connect to frequent and urgent urination?

    2. Try to just act as normal but at ease (not fear) as much possible with the least concern to your symptoms that you can in a forget about your body type of manner. Try not to modify your behavior or do anything differently physically because of the symptoms as best as you can except being easy on yourself when you need to be.

    many thanks
    Anisha_d87 likes this.

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