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Anxious thinking and decision making - help!

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by blake, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi all,

    For the last 2 days my mind has been extremely anxious as I try to decide whether or not I should go back to karate.

    I did karate for 2 years and stopped twice during that time, both times because of my neck pain (this is before I knew I had TMS).

    I'm not afraid of going back because of my neck pain now. I have resumed all my other physical activities and am fully convinced that I will not injure myself through any form of exercise. However, what I am afraid of is my inner critic. When I was doing karate before, I put a lot of pressure of myself and criticized myself a lot.Plus, karate is a no-pain, no-gain approach, which encourages my inner critic to bully me even more. It got so bad that when I did my last belt exam, I actually had such horrible performance anxiety that I almost didn't pass. (I quit soon after that).

    My mind is spinning trying to decide. Is it too soon to go back? Should I wait a while longer before I have learned to better live with my inner critic? Or should I follow the advice of a psychologist I spoke to last week and "just do it"? Part of me is saying I need more gentleness in my life and part of me says I need to face my fears.

    Any thoughts on how I should calm my nervous system right now?
  2. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Blake, my first thought is Tai Chi! Ha ha. Its great that you are noticing how much pressure you are putting on yourself over this. My son is a black sash so I know what you are talking about with the no-pain, no gain approach. It can be really intense. I think it is designed to push and test your limits. The problem is, those of us with a particularly strong inner critic need more practice in how to apply kindness and understanding to ourselves. So its not a question of whether or not you can force yourself to do it and do it well, its more of a question as to whether you can do it and treat yourself with kindness. Only you can answer that question. Self acceptance can take just as much hard work and dedication as the karate. And you are already facing your fears. Calm your nervous system by telling yourself that whatever you decide to do its okay. Think about what you would really like to do, what would make you happy and base your decision on that. You don't have to prove anything. I know sometimes we convince ourselves that if we don't push and test ourselves that we will become lazy or something. But I don't think that is really the problem most of us here have. I know the happier and more confident I am, the more productive I am. Okay, I did write on this WIki board for an hour rather than go on my walk, but I'll let that slide today!
    angelic333 and Kathi like this.
  3. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi Anne,
    Yes that is exactly the question: Can I do this without putting undue pressure on myself? To be honest, I don't think so, since the karate mindset really triggers my inner critic. It would mean learning to reframe the entire karate philosphy in my mind, while doing karate. Wow! Sounds like a lot of work just for a workout!!! Starting to feel like a really big Should.

    I did try Tai Chi for 3 months. Learned all the 108 moves, but I didn't renew my membership. I think I was still in the karate mindset of pushing yourself to the limits at the time. Maybe I'll revisit that.

    And you're right, whatever I decide will be fine. I read somewhere on TMSwiki something about over stimulating our nervous systems by making these minor decisions into do-or-die issues. This is a perfect example of how I do this to myself. Thank you for reminding me that everything will be okay.

    And speaking of exercise, I think I'll go for a walk myself! :) (Thanks for the inspiration!)
    Kathi and Anne Walker like this.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I like tai-chi. I have a DVD of Tai Chi for Seniors (I'm 84). I am probably doing the moves all wrong,
    but for me at least, just moving is great exercise. I like DVDs of Scott Cole (free at you5tube).
    Just swinging my arms like an ape feels good. Back to my beginnings, huh?
    Kathi and blake like this.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I like this Scott Cole video:

  6. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    What sort of karate are you doing? I did Shotokan in college and loved it! They were the most supportive group of people I ever did a sport with. I played soccer, basketball, and ran track too. All those 3 did not care about me as a person. The Shotokan people though were amazing. They asked about my studies, gave me money if I needed help affording a test for a belt, helped with love advice, helped with "entering the real world advice". All in all, very supportive of everyone as people. Then, of course, we'd beat the crap out of each other, smile, and go get Chinese food.

    Try a Shotokan dojo.

    We were also great friends with the Aikedo dojo down the street, that would be my next suggestion. They were wonderful people too.
  7. blake

    blake Well known member

    Hi waterbear,
    Glad you loved karate too. Sounds like you practised many sports in your life. I always admire that in people. I started exercising at 41 and realized how much fun it is.

    I did kyokushin karate, which from what I've been told is pretty similar to the Shotokan style. I didn't mean to sound like I was putting down this sport, but I think that might be how it came out. Like you, I think the people are absolutely awesome. Some of the nicest people I've ever met actually. The dojo has been a big part of my life for 6 years now, ever since my son started. He got his black belt at age 10 and still loves it. My husband is training for his black belt right now and loves it. In other words, the problem is me and karate; it's the way I interpret the philosophy of always pushing yourself. It tends to activate my inner critic and right now I'm working on integrating more kindness into my life. Maybe at some point I will go back, but for now I'll try something else. I'm thinking about running. I do a bit already, but I've always pictured myself doing a marathon or something. It's not too late to start, right?!​
    Anne Walker likes this.
  8. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    Oh! I like to call the "the little jock that lives inside head". It's the same as the inner bully.

    The jock in me is mean. It pushes me to try hard at everything, sometimes too much.

    It makes me think mean thoughts about people less atheltic than I.

    Sometimes, you need to tell the little jock to shut up. Just shut up. There's no reason to be mean to yourself or others.

    Basically I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love being competitive and trying my best but when it gets a little too much, I stop, tell it to shut up, and forgive myself of whatever happened.

    Good luck!
  9. Kathi

    Kathi Peer Supporter

    Thanks Walt. This is wonderful! I'm going to make this a part of my life.
    Scott's not bad to look at, either, even tho I'm pushing 70. . And he's on Kailua Beach, near where my my husband and I lived in '88 and '89. We still have a condo there, which we rent out long term, in hopes of retiring there when our 11 yr. old grandson grows up and is on his own. My dream!
    Blake, I totally get you. I was the same way with tennis for many years. It was my passion, but I turned it into a job.
    I agree with Ann. We all need to lighten up on ourselves. That's why the angels fly so high...because they take themselves lightly.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  10. Kathi

    Kathi Peer Supporter

    Blake, a marathon sounds a little like "out of the frying pan into the fire", but that's just me.
  11. blake

    blake Well known member

    Interesting video Walt. Very relaxing just watching it. Thanks!
    Waterbear, lol about the inner jock. Didn't know I had one, but that makes perfect sense to me.
    Kathi, I hadn't even noticed I was just pushing myself again. Silly, silly me! Thanks for pointing that out.
    To summarize, I don't know which activity I'll start in September when my gym membership expires. But whatever I choose, I will need to be kind with myself as I do it. Some activities like yoga and tai chi might be more conducive to that, but in any event, this decision isn't that big of a deal. It's not a marriage contract after all. If I don't like what I picked I can always change it next session.

    Thanks for your input today guys. I went from feeling really stressed and in pain to much more relaxed, upbeat and practically pain free. This community is just so awesome!
    Anne Walker and Kathi like this.

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