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Day 10 Aha! moments & new techniques

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by MellieV, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. MellieV

    MellieV Peer Supporter

    I made it to Day 10 and whew, was that letter writing prompt for today hard! Since today is about aha moments, and helpful techniques, I thought I'd briefly share & leave them out here for anyone who stumbles upon my posts.

    I just had an aha moment this morning that no doubt popped in my head thanks to all of my "Past Stresses & Events" journaling I've been doing. I was hunched over the sink almost waiting for the pain to come on when I said to myself, "Stand up! You are not a scared little girl anymore!" The thought was not at all forced or intentional, it just kind of popped up. I will be repeating it all day. It made me strong in that moment.

    As far as techniques, first, I saw a little blurb on Abigail Steidley's blog (which was linked in one of the SEP exercises) that resonated with me - "Talk to your pain like it is your three year old child." As a mom, that is a technique that I can totally relate to. In other words, hear it whine, listen to why it's whining, then tell it to go someplace else because you have something more important to do. A three year old shouldn't call the shots, you do! I have been coddling my pain, giving in to it and letting it dictate what I do. So, this is what I will be working on.
    I also use deep breathing for anxiety when I'm home, and mindful meditation for anxiety when I'm out. Just holding my head up & looking ahead, or noticing the clouds is mindful meditation for me. I also use simple tapping techniques from Amy Scher that can be found with a google search if anyone is interested. They are super easy as well. I need to keep it simple. Nothing complicated here!

    Please add any of your helpful techniques below. I love advice from people who understand, and have been where I am.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Him, Mellie. I would like to add laughing to healing techniques. I can get stressed for a lot of reasons, but if I just laugh they go away quickly.
    If you're afraid someone will hear you, at home or work, go into the washroom and maybe cover your mouth with a towel.

    If you can't laugh, try smiling.

    Is It True That Smiling Can Reduce Stress?

    Until the 1960s, people were brought up to hide their feelings (especially the bad ones) and show a brave face to the world.

    Then the human growth movement introduced the idea that repressing was bad, and it was much healthier to express your feelings.

    There are good things about being more emotionally honest – it opens the door to real human connection. But – maybe there was wisdom in those old traditions. Now studies are showing that simply smiling can reduce stress…. which is healthy in all sorts of ways, for your body and your mind.

    A study by two psychologists at the University of Kansas looked at different types of smiling, and how this might affect a person’s response to stress:

    Smiling can reduce stress – and it’s even more effective when your eyes smile too!

    The participants were instructed on how to perform an unusual task: holding chopsticks in their mouths in particular ways that prompted various facial expressions. They were divided into three groups, one that was taught how to form a neutral expression, one that learned how to form a normal smile, and one that was instructed to form a Duchenne smile (also known as a genuine smile), which involves the use of eye muscles, as well as those around the mouth.

    Additionally, only half of the smilers actually heard the world “smile” during the learning phase; the others were simply taught how to hold the chopsticks in a way that produced smiles, without the expression being identified as such.

    The participants were put into different stressful situations. Their heart rates were monitored, and they were asked to report their levels of stress.

    The experiment’s findings were startling. As a whole, the smilers had lower heart rates while recovering from the stressful tasks than those who had assumed neutral expressions, and those with Duchenne smiles had lower heart rates yet. Even those who were smiling only due to their instructed chopstick position—without explicitly being told to smile—showed the same effect.

    Since heart rate is an indicator of the body’s stress response, it seems as though the act of smiling actually reduced the participants’ overall stress level.

    Nobody is quite sure how exactly facial expressions are related to a person’s underlying mood, but researchers have found a definite connection. For example, studies have shown that people suffering from facial paralysis, and without the ability to smile, have been found to suffer more from depression.

    You may think that people smile because they are happy, but scientific research suggests otherwise. ‘Simply using the same muscles as smiling will put you in a happier mood,’ explains Dr Michael Lewis, psychologist at CardiffUniversity. ‘That’s because use of those muscles is part of how the brain evaluates mood.’

    Charles Darwin was one of the first to suggest our expressions may actually intensify our feelings. This theory is known as the ‘feedback loop’ or ‘facial feedback hypothesis’. A smiling expression feeds back into how we experience mood, therefore making us feel happier or a joke seem funnier.
    MellieV likes this.
  3. SophieM

    SophieM New Member

    Hi Mellie and Walt,
    This thread is really interesting. I have been trying to think about my techniques and Aha! moments ( i really like that idea). I am not sure what mine are specifically. I will definitely be using smiling and laughing in the future as this sounds useful and enjoyable. As for techniques, I think I change what I use each day. I really should write these things down so I have a tool box I can refer to. I have to say that coming on this forum if I am feeling wobbly or worried helps. I nearly always find something that gives me what i need to perk up!

    So, to start listing some of the things I do: I have been noticing when I have a frightening thought and then when I breath out I imagine I am breathing the thought out and it then disappears up into the sky. The visualisation helps. I also try to say to my foot (when it is playing up and I am doing something with it) "I see what you are doing, but I know you are strong and healthy and therefore I will not stop this activity". I have also started trying to do the opposite of what I think... so for example, if my foot hurts and I think I should rest for a while, I now try to get up immediately and do a physical activity using my feet. Yesterday I went for a very very brief jog when my foot started to hurt. This was a break through as I have not been jogging since I started to get pain. I hope that I will be able to continue using that idea as it directly challenges the fear thoughts. But I notice that I have stronger days and weaker days, so sometimes I am less able to use the techniques that I know help me.

    I would love to hear more about your techniques, ideas and aha moments.
  4. MellieV

    MellieV Peer Supporter

    Thanks, Sophie. I do the breathe out thing you mentioned too. When I meditate I sometimes imagine gray or black smoke coming out as all of the "bad" stuff. The physical activity method is a little scary for me right now, but I hope to work up to it the further along I get here!
  5. SophieM

    SophieM New Member

    Hi... i will try the smoke method. The physical activity method is very scary I agree! Thats why I can do it sometimes and not at others. Good luck! x
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, ladies. The smoke image is wonderful, but be sure to imagine inhaling warm, sunny smoke and then exhaling the dark smoke.

    About fearing physical activity... just do it! That's a confidence builder. Just do what you can now. Even if it is baby steps. Soon you will be doing more.
  7. SophieM

    SophieM New Member

    Ironically, I did the... feel the fear and do it anyway and am now very sore! eek. I am staying calm. But fed up! I am reminding myself about outcome independance... This process really is cyclical for me... progress, plateau, step back, progress, plateau, step back etc. Hope you are both doing well today. :)

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