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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New Program Day 9: Somatic Tracking

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Alan Gordon LCSW, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. shmps

    shmps Peer Supporter

    Thanks Alan.. It has taken me two years to be able to understand somatic tracking. And this video was so valuable to confirm my understanding. Quick Question?

    1. Is somatic tracking as in your video, same as Feel your Feelings described in the TMS Recovery? Is somatic tracking same as emotional awareness?
    2. Let's say for e.g. you get in an argument with your partner or boss, or a friend and are having destructive thoughts (like pressure/worry/cristism/fear) and also emotions (like anger/sadness/anxiety/worry). Are you suggesting, that dont get into your head and jump the train of destructive thoughts, instead use somatic tracking to just notice the bodily sensations, which could be anxiety/sadness/anger?
  2. Susanne

    Susanne New Member

    Over many years I have had various experiences of watching the sensation in my body but always with an ulterior motive. There has always been an aim to release or a "should" connected to it. I followed along in the video and it was a touch of a different experience. And I am noticing that I am curious to try this again rather than having a dread feeling that I must do this every time I encounter anxiety.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
    James59 likes this.
  3. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Again readin The Power of Now by Tolle. At the very beginning where he says start witnessing your thoughts your mind and now your internal state. Who is witnessing what here? Whom do the symptoms belong? Where does the part in charge of witnessing come from?
    Back to the witnessing state of the body and the mind as it is now.
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  4. rbmunkin

    rbmunkin Peer Supporter

    The witness he is talking about is merely the observer, a higher function of mind. When we observe or witness our thoughts, it is the higher mind observing the lower mind.
    Fabi likes this.
  5. gutter3

    gutter3 Peer Supporter

    This is very interesting. I've always tried dealing with my anxiety by keeping myself busy or pushing it away. Almost repressing it. This idea of being the Observer is interesting and is worth a try. One thing, sometimes I get anxious when talking in front of people. Are there any techniques or tools to use when your conversing with someone or giving a presentation? It seems like it would be hard to be an Observer when your in those kind of situations. Thanks for all this info! It's definitely putting things into perspective.

    Would you also do this with anger? Sometimes when I get really angry my neck gets real hot and I tense up. I have chronic muscles spasms in my neck and that's where I feel hot. Could this method be used on anger/rage? I've noticed my temper has gotten worse bc of the chronic pain. I'm angry a lot bc of the frustration.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
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  6. James59

    James59 Well known member

    That sounds like me. I've tried observing my sensations, namely feeling like my whole body is being squeezed in a vise, but usually with the intent to complain or to figure out the why of it all, never to just observe for observations' sake.

    As I watched the video I followed instructions to observe the sensations without a goal. If anything, I think the sensation of pressure intensified somewhat. I could also see how it correlates with an earlier lesson calling on us to observe our fears as they pop up.

    Today's lesson also reminded me of a line repeated several times in the Conversations With God book series "What you resist persists. What you look at disappears." However, I have to admit I've never seen that happen when I attempted to put it into practice. Maybe I wasn't being objective enough or still had that ulterior motive.

    The two main instructions given in these lessons so far are quite simple. Easy to do and easy to remember, so I'll keep at them with an open mind.
    Kat likes this.
  7. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Ferndale, attending to your anxiety is benign. Ignoring the anxiety doesn't mean there's less of it, you're just distracting yourself from the anxiety that is there.
    Eugene, good question! Like anxiety, pain is a danger signal. You could even think of psychogenic pain as a physical manifestation of anxiety.

    Attending to pain is fine, the goal is to attend to these sensations free of fear. It can be hard for some people to attend to their pain without fear, because it's scared them for so long. But if you're able to, that is just as effective. Later on in the program, I'm going be going over a technique to help you learn to attend the sensations of pain free of fear.
    Good question. Without getting into the physiology of it, most people are constantly distracting themselves from their anxiety; running from it. This avoidance just further perpetuates the fear. Imagine if you had social anxiety. Constantly avoiding social situations just serves to reinforce the fear. Leaning into these situations in a safe, mindful way, can help teach your brain that they are in fact safe.
    Mari, chemgirl, MWsunin12 and 5 others like this.
  8. shmps

    shmps Peer Supporter

    1. Is somatic tracking as in your video, same as Feel Your Feelings described in the TMS Recovery? Is somatic tracking same as emotional awareness?
    2. Let's say for e.g. you get in an argument with your partner or boss, or a friend and are having destructive thoughts (like pressure/worry/cristism/fear) and also emotions (like anger/Sadness/anxiety/worry). Are you suggesting, that dont get into your head and jump the train of destructive thoughts, instead use somatic tracking to just notice the bodily sensations, which could be anxiety/sadness/anger?
  9. itmsw

    itmsw Peer Supporter

    Good for you!!! I over did it tonight just by making dinner- standing too long at stove . So I tried to do some of what Alan was talking about noticing the pain and feeling it without getting anxious or fearful- very very very hard to do!! Did you like the movie anything that stands out for you that youd like to share about the movie?
  10. grateful_mama

    grateful_mama Peer Supporter

    I feel the same way. The very first mindfulness meditations I ever learned to do were body scans that totally helped me sleep and calmed me down. Noticing sensations and being "in" my body keeps me grounded and present. It seems to be the best way to keep our minds from spinning to the past (regret, guilt, anger, etc) or the future (worry, fear, etc).
  11. Ferndale37

    Ferndale37 Peer Supporter

    Thanks Alan, I dont think I explained my point right.

    I completely believe that the way to deal with anxiety is to sit with it and accept it as part of me.

    If I accept the anxiety, then it wouldn't need to serve as a distraction, and wouldn't need to persist, but even if it did, I would have accepted it, so no matter.

    Iv done this with pain and tinnitus with great success. But to do this, I had to view each symptom as a completely harmless and beningn symptom of TMS.

    Im struggling to do this with anxiety, due to the common belief that long term generalised anxiety damages health.

    So how can I treat anxiety the same as my previous pain and tinnitus if I can't believe anxiety isn't harming me?

  12. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, That's it entirely, to be grounded and present. Yin Yoga does this for me. Through regular practice it's become second nature to somatically track and to dissolve discomfort with ease. I feel more at home in my body than I ever have. It's a skill that I can take into this last healing leg with immense confidence.
  13. shira

    shira New Member

  14. shira

    shira New Member

    excellent post and description of how you are making it work for you. thank you for sharing that.
    best wishes.
    Ines likes this.
  15. NicoleB34

    NicoleB34 Well known member

    i have this same problem. now that i'm sure (or nearly sure, i guess most people can never be 100%, and that's normal) that it's not structural, my fear is of the pain itself and i struggle with the constant battle of should i baby myself, or should i live my life? if i do the things I love, like certain exercises, i for sure exascerbate my pain. However, is the pain getting worse because of the exercise, or is it getting worse because I FEAR it will get worse from the movement, so it does? I think regardless of what is happening, we are so conditioned to fear the pain itself that it almost doesnt matter why we are fearing the pain, it matters that we DO fear the pain. we are conditioned to fear the pain. And why wouldnt we? It sucks!
  16. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Really? Leaning into the anxiety is very comforting, and of course I know avoiding does not help. I think I need a plan to approach those situations ( exercising without having the fixed idea it will hurt, committing to a physical activity and not sabotaging it with more pain, etc. )
  17. hambone

    hambone Peer Supporter

    Yes, Wow! Love these refinements of Dr. Sarno's work. Bravo to Alan and Howard.
    As my father used to say: "Bale your hay before you sell it." You have really baled your hay.
    plum likes this.
  18. jlteam5

    jlteam5 New Member

    I have similar issue with the mornings. I can wake up in total bliss and the minute I start scanning, or thinking about my symptoms (which is pretty soon after waking) my anxiety shoots up. I try to lay there and calm myself, (which doesn't work), feel into my sensations (which seems to make them more voracious and more panic and more sensations, a lot of sweating and heart palpitations, fear). When I breath into my sensations, it seems to make the area of sensation tight. Then I decide to get up because it's not seeming to help at all. How long should a person try to feel into their anxiety and symptoms? Is there a timeframe where this could become counter productive? I am relentless and persistent to a fault, because this exhausts me as I try to feel my sensation as much as I can. I can't sleep or rest throughout the day because the anxiety takes over. I really need some way to convince myself that there is hope. Today is my 3 year anniversary since my sensations began. I have pelvic sensations, which consist of frequent urination feelings and a feeling like there's a tight string from naval to bladder, then some spreading tightness on right back of hip, right groin, right obliques. Sitting is just a bunch of tightness until I feel like need to pee, but I really don't need to. It's just so frustrating. I truly believe this is TMS as I have many times where there has been "evidence". This is all perpetuated by fear but I'm unable to stop fearing it as of yet.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
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  19. Kerrj74

    Kerrj74 Well known member

    I can relate to all of that. It sucks.
  20. Ewok

    Ewok Peer Supporter

    Since I started 'noticing' or tracking my anxiety more (and genuinely without fear), I have noticed that it appeared to getting worse. Is this normal? Am I doing it wrong? Or just noticing it more and it was always this bad?
    caligirlgonegreen likes this.

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