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Day 32 Confused about stress

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Janine28, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. Janine28

    Janine28 Peer Supporter

    Today some of the icky pain that arises in my knees came back and I occasionally found myself limping and stiffening up. I tried to connect with my emotions, but they were so muddled. Was the pain triggered by the fitful sleep I had last night? Was it triggered because my son was home sick today with a cough (reminding me of the year that he had to stay home everyday because of chemotherapy)? Maybe it was related to not moving around enough. Or maybe it was that the sale of our townhouse fell through today. Maybe it was everything. I find it hard to stay with the stressful feeling for too long. I think a major coping mechanism for me has been to look at the good and not dwell in the negative. However, while this feels like a positive way to go through life (there is so much beauty in the world!) have I bypassed really letting myself feel stress? How far into stress should we go? Is it enough to acknowledge that it is there and then move on? Should we let the stress take over for a while, perhaps compassionately watching how it generates compulsive thinking? TMS suggests to me that I suppress my stresses to the point where they find a part of the body to scream out from since I don't give them voice in other ways.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Janine,
    Your inquiry about "what is causing this?" seems very positive to me. Just gently asking the question sends a message that you're attending to the real cause, rather than thinking physical. This practice itself, over time is more powerful than the actual "answer," in my opinion. It may be helpful to ask the question as you have been, list the possible things in your mind and figure some or all may be causing inner tension or conflicts or difficult emotions, without having to "know." You can deepen this by asking yourself "How does my Inner Child feel about xy, or z?" in relationship to each item on the list. Sense into your body and be with these feelings if they arise. If you don't have any feelings in this inquiry into the experience of the Inner Child, you can just note what "the Inner Child might be experiencing."

    You're seeing your "positive attitude" probably with more acuity or objectivity than you have in the past. This is good. How does it feel to put a positive spin on things that don't feel always positive? Might this feel non-attuned? Non-empathetic? Just wondering about this means that you are developing a curiosity which will lead you to more attunement, and more self-compassion, and less inner conflict and less pain, in time.

    I think this is a good strategy, but I would substitute "feelings" for stress. The stress or tension tends to a result from not allowing the feelings. So feel the feelings with compassion and presence, and then move away if it becomes too much. You're showing, by this action that you are willing to hang out with the feelings, and therefore there is less need to suppress. None of this is done perfectly, just gentle experimentation over time.

    Andy B
    Janine28 likes this.
  3. Janine28

    Janine28 Peer Supporter

    Thanks Andy for so much insight here. Your support is helping me shift a major pattern in my life!
    All the best,
  4. giantsfan

    giantsfan Well known member

    Hi Janine, it sounds like you are trying very hard to "figure out" what tense situation in your current, past, or future life is causing your conditioned responses. It's understandable as symptoms can be very disabling and disappointing. You made quite a list of things that are going through your mind, but instead of trying to "figure out" which one is "causing" your symptoms it might be more important to comfort yourself with positive messages when striked with those fear messages.

    Also, I don't know if you've seen this Ted Talk by Kelley McGonigal from Stanford, but it may be worth the 14 minutes. It may actually help you understand "stress" in a way you may have never been taught:

    https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en#t-843535 (Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend | TED Talk | TED.com)

  5. Janine28

    Janine28 Peer Supporter

    Thanks so much Daniel. I haven't seen this TED talk yet. I appreciate the reference and your response.
  6. Janine28

    Janine28 Peer Supporter

    Hi Daniel,
    Thanks again for letting me know about this TED talk. I just watched it and was blown away. I think there are so many amazing take-away messages that can help all of us.

    A few key insights for me were:
    • When we view stress as helpful, we become more resilient and stronger.
    • Stress makes you social (increasing oxytocin) so that you are motivated to seek support. Our stress responses have a built in mechanism for stress resilience: human connection.
    • Caring for others creates resilience. How we think and act can transform stress.
    • Stress give us access to our hearts. The compassionate heart finds joy and meaning in connecting with others.
    giantsfan likes this.
  7. giantsfan

    giantsfan Well known member

    I'm glad you found it interesting. My TMS therapist shared it with me a few weeks ago. I've also seen it posted on this site elsewhere.

    Yeah, I think the main takeaway is that if you see stress as bad it will be bad, but if you see stress as beneficial then it will be good. Although with our society's view of stress it's going to take some time and effort to reframe our thought process about it.
    Janine28 likes this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree with giantsfan. No matter what stress we get, whether pain or anxiety or anything, it is how we recognize it... good or bad, helpful or not. The more we can accept stress as beneficial, the better. It's a big part of thinking positive and knowing you can get through anything.

    Reframing our minds to be positive may not be easy but with deep breathing and positive thinking, it can happen.
    Janine28 likes this.
  9. Janine28

    Janine28 Peer Supporter

    Thanks Walt. I wonder if maybe I've had a tendency to reframe too quickly? To not let myself fully feel the emotional strains, always looking for the good and the beautiful without letting myself experience the difficult emotions. At the same time, I think I've been afraid to experience stress for an extended period of time, so it is very helpful to realize that stress is beneficial and that it's important to directly experience stress.
    giantsfan likes this.

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