I used to be active over at the tmshelp.com forum for years. I had many conversations over the year there that I thought would be helpful to some people here. I would like to use this threat to repost those conversations/posts of mine. Hope that you will find it useful. The below is a conversation I had with Mala. She is a wonderful member here too. I hope she doesn't mind I repost this: Mala: How do you ' stop expecting' symptoms? Can u please explain this to me in practical terms I mean not just in theory but by giving me concrete examples. Like specifically what steps I can take, what/ how should I think . So in others words if I a feeling pain how can I stop expecting them? Balto: Hi Mala, I'm not sure if you were asking about how I stop expecting withdrawal symptoms from quitting smoke and alcohol or from general tms/anxiety symptoms. Either way, in my opinion I think they are the same. The steps I used to over come "expecting" is: 1 - knowledge 2 - retrain my way of thinking. 3 - Don't give a sh.. about the symptoms. Eventually I was able to revert negative symptoms to positive ones. 1 - From observation of my own symptoms, from reading mind body books, from listening to mind body experts, I recognize that most of my symptoms come from my expectation. It is a form of "conditioning". These expectation come from my brain automatically without any control from "me". Example are: when I go over high bridge or thru a tunnel my body automatically produced symptoms. When I went without smoke for more than a day, when I drink or eat anything with dairy products in it, when I fly in an airplane, when I visit my family in California, when I have to make a sale presentation.... My body automatically produce symptoms. I recognized there are 3 things that caused this, two of them are produced by our brain automatically, the third is mainly our own thinking. First, Sometime in the past, I had a symptoms attack when I was driving over bridge and tunnels, or when I was flying in an airplane, or when I was visiting family... somehow my brain "memorize" those event and "wrongly" thought that those events are dangerous to me. So when those events happen again the body just automatically produce symptoms. I am a Pavlov's dog in these cases. Second, We heard it on the radio, we saw it in the news, we read it in magazine, we constantly expose our mind to "wrong" information all the time. Slipped disc causes back pain, Chinese food caused ulcer, dairy products caused stomach discomfort to lactose intolerance people, rear end car accident caused whiplash, quit smoking will produce withdrawal symptoms, ... again, our brain "memorize" these information's and it will produces those "expected" symptoms. And when these events happened during time of stress the symptoms will intensified, then fear of the symptoms getting worse will prolong the symptoms. Third, our thinking, our own expectation caused symptoms. If you think running will cause knee pain then it will. If you think bending down to pickup a 5 pounds bag will cause back pain then it will, if you think going to see your in-law will produce panic attack then it will.... We expected it, we will get it. Those thoughts are instruction to our brain to produce the necessary chemical and physical changes in our body to produce symptoms. side note: Dr Sarno wrote in his book that tms symptoms are usually epidemic. Car accidents in the US caused lots of "whiplash" but not in countries that have no insurance or widely available medical care. In the 70's, stomach ulcers were wide spread, 80's were carpel tunnel syndrome, now it is back pain and foot pain. 2 - This retraining my way of thinking period is long or short depended on how strongly I believe those above knowledge are true. I believe them and now I have to act on them. I reason with myself that these are symptoms that were produced by my brain, my thinking, my "expectation", my being "conditioned" to different things... I have to think like Pavlov's dogs. Hey, this guys keep ringing the bell but don't give me food, I'm not going to salivate anymore. Hey brain, this bridge and tunnel, this cup of milk, this visit to the in-law is incapable of producing symptoms, it is my brain thinking they do and so my body just complying with false beliefs that produced symptoms. Don't FEAR them, don't worry about them, if they happen don't think about it, eventually they will not happen again. Be your self's best friend, explain to yourself that these symptoms is not dangerous and are just temporary. Don't give them any weight. It will take sometime but our brain will recognize that those symptoms are just there due to false information's and will not happen again once our brain accept the new correct thinking. again, this will not happen over night, it will take sometime. So you got to be patient. 3 - Don't give a sh.. if you have symptoms. So what if they happen, so what if my back hurt or my knee hurt or if I have a headache or ulcer... They will be gone once I got back control of my brain. Start to catch those automatic negative thoughts (ANT's) and try to eliminate them one by one by replacing them with real, true, and positive information's. ANT's is a habit, a bad habit and we need to replace it with a new positive, healthy habit. Catch it, dismiss it, and replace it with new habit. Don't allow your brain to feed you with: Oh why is this happening to me. Oh man this is not good, I'm having this and that... Be strong, be positive, be confidence that you can stop these condition, retrain your thinking, take back control of your brain. It can be done. Hope this help Mala. Mala: I have intellectually understood all your points. My biggest problem is the third one. Not giving a sh.. In my own mind I think I am doing a good job of ignoring the symptoms. But despite doing it for such a long time, the pain doesn't go away. Maybe deep down inside I am still very fearful. I have followed Aces advice and have been doing the affirmations. Maybe I don't really believe these positive thoughts that I think. And my subconscious seems to know this. How do I overcome this hurdle? Balto: Mala, there are 28 steps on Ace's list ( http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/key-to-healing.3577/ (Key to healing) ). Affirmation is only one of them, don't forget to do the other 27 too, they are all very very important. You don't need to believe in what you're affirming. Just keep doing it regularly and "ACT" as if it is true, your body will confirm to your thought whether it is true or not. If you watch a sad movie sometime you cry, it is just a movie, it is not true, but it can still create the emotion that is strong enough to make you cry. Affirming is the same, do it regular and act as if it is true, make yourself believe in it. Do like professional athletic do, imagining their performing, imagining they are winning and the cheer, the walk to the podium, the gold medal... Hey, Tiger Wood can win, so can we. learn to laugh at yourself, learn to laugh at your negative thoughts, learn to laugh at your fear... eventually it will become a habit, a habit that would save your life and bring so much happiness into your life.