Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Davideus85, May 8, 2021.
What do you do to bring joy into your life despite your symptoms or life circumstances?
I try not to take life too seriously. I find joy in meditation, in mother nature, in stillness, in silence, in living openly with an open heart. In mindfulness. In exercise. In yoga/pilates as another form of meditation. In knitting in the present moment (NOW), in gardening in now, in reading in now, etc. In just keeping the mind clean and at peace. This works for me.
I read the title of this thread a week or so ago.
Some days later while scrolling through the forum, I read the title again and realized my brain had interpreted, "How do you find joy?" as "What brings you joy?"
Of course reading the opening post now I see it asks "what." lol Either I hadn't read the OP before or don't recall it.
Anyway the "how?" got stuck in my noggin. So I ran with the "how" and have included the "what."
When I realized my mind had made the switch of the thread title from "how" to "what," I thought,
Those are two different questions. In one I'm looking/searching for joy. The other is more passive, for lack of a better word; something brings me joy even though I may not be looking for it. If I'm aware in that moment, I'll recognize it and my heart will be uplifted.
I think at the top of my list for "how" is:
~Bringing to my mind's eye scenes from my good memory bank and feeling the scene in my heart. I often tell my self, "I did that'" or "That really happened."
The "how," (which is also the "what" ) also brought to mind Victor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning, and part of how he survived the camps. If I recall correctly, three of the things he engaged were good memories from his life before the camps, doing pick-up theatre and singing with his fellow sufferers in their quarters as long as mean guards weren't around, and watching sunsets and/or sunrises.
All this pondering got me to thinking of how joy feels. How does one describe joy?
Gratitude always seems a part of joy.
Other feelings that came to mind regarding joy are awe, wonder, largeness of life, freedom to be and to give and to receive. I may be expanding it too far, but it's fun to think about.
Some of my whats are:
~Riding my bike through woods and meadows and fields.
~Nature. Wildlife. Trees. Creeks and rivers and rocks of all sizes. Sky and clouds and the heavens.
~Hearing from my adult children. Sharing conversation & memories. Roasting marshmallows around a campfire.
~Music. Sing-alongs. Making up songs. Playing my drum or tapping out beats with my fingers and feet.
~Peoples' stories. From serendipitous meetings with "strangers." From friends and family and history of all sorts. Every day life stories and stories of survival and endurance in the face of overwhelming hardships.
~Good memories. Not just thinking about them, but feeling them. Going back into the scene. Savoring them. Sometimes they prompt me to action. "Get up and go ride your bike Carol. Or call Son or Daughter. Or just go be with nature. You'll feel better for it."
What do you do to bring joy into your life @Davideus85 ?
Thanks for the prompt.
Just look for it! It is there.... in a flower, in all of nature, in a laugh, a smile, in a childs giggle.... in a blue sky, in a poem, a piece of music, a piece of art, a touch, a hug, in watching an ant or a worm, a tiny bird singing,,,, a kid jumping a pushbike.... the joy is universal - we just look out for it and it is free to view, free to participate in.... try it!
You know, you can be in pain and feel joy. I experienced these two at the same time. It's possible! You don't have to be immersed in the pain so much, just go on with your life as much as possible. It's not easy maybe but ...what can you do? Feel miserable AND in pain? I could not do it, just got sick of it. Once I went (on purpose) to Big Bear being in pain. Drove there with my husband and spend 5 hours in the car and had a lot of fun. I didn't want to talk about it, I just wanted to enjoy my day trip. To enjoy the picnic food, the nature etc.
The problem is if your symptoms are depression and anxiety, you can’t feel joy, because those symptoms block access to those positive emotions like joy.
If I were you, I would see a psychiatrist. No shame in this. For a short period of time you can take something that could help regulate your mood.
Hey again David...
What techniques/tools/therapies have you given a try?
So you kinda get where I've been...
Here's a snippet:
I've lived with anxiety (including paranoia) & depression (including suicidal ideation) since the mid-1990s.
I've consistently made progress, especially since the early 2000s. The intensity/frequency of the visits are rare these days despite challenging life circumstances.
Along this journey, I've learned (am still learning) & applied various techniques and collected a box of helpful tools. (At various times, I've also been on meds & had professional mental health therapy.) With the tools, I became better able to allow, embrace, let be/let go the intense dank, dark lows & hair-splitting shatters.
I'll be glad to share sources of some tools, but am wandering what you have already tried? And like Sits said, if you've not tried professional help, there's no shame, & it may be worth a try.
All the best,
I’ve read every book on TMS I could get my hands on and gone through Alan Gordon’s pain recovery program more times than I can count, as well as regularly listen to podcasts on TMS and youtube channels. That’s really the extent of the “tools” I have at my disposal right now. At this point, what I’m looking for is a network of people in the TMS community to connect with and get support from. I am very resistant to taking meds because I am very sensitive to them and don’t like the side effects that come with them. At this point I feel I may not have a choice though.
can you clear this up for me? you say you are looking for a community to connect with and get support from. what are you doing here? not trying to be snippy, it just doesn't make sense to me that you are posting IN that kind of community and asking where to find one.
Kudos on all your hard work! Really. As folks here know, this isn't easy stuff. I commend you!
I too do what I can to avoid pharmaceuticals and only use them when absolutely necessary.
So, I'm gonna go ahead and share some things. If any of it resonates or helps, great. If not, I hope the tools you need find you, or you them.
Even though the self-help sources I list below may not use the terms TMS or MBS, they delve into how emotions affect and manifest in our physical and mental health. Most of the books I list are old; I started studying this subject in the late 1990s from the shelves of the public library and Borders Bookstore. Now, of course, much is available online.
I've not done Allan's program or the SEP, and you've read more than I have on TMS specifically.
All I know to share is some sources from what has helped (& helps) me; I won't bore you with all of it. This post is long enough as is! And you may already be familiar with some/all of these.
Peace, light, and wholeness...
I have no doubt that I'm barely scratching the surface of this subject; ie: there's more I don't know than I do know.
A list of some sources, in no particular order, that have helped me, especially with mental health issues:
This is intensive work and part of CBT. You may have already tried thought records. If you have, did you do the more intensive process, and did you stick with it a month or more? If you did and it didn't help, you may just want to skip this. OTOH, we all are at different places in our lives at different times. What may not have helped in the past, may help now.
At a glance perusal online, this is closest to the outline of what I've used: Thought Record Sheet. The only added column I use is "Distortion," which is labeling each automatic thought with its corresponding distortion (for example: all-or-nothing thinking; projection; etc.). I first learned about thought records in The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns. I combined Burns' information with the information in the book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Daniel Amen. If you need an emotions list to help more specifically label an emotion, here's a link: Emotional Vocabulary List
Rider and Elephant
In his book The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, Jonathan Haidt uses the analogy of the emotions as the elephant and our cognitive brain as the rider. The elephant is a lot bigger and stronger and will use his/her weight to direct everything, unless the rider learns how to work with and motivate the elephant, which Haidt delves into in the book.
The HeartMath Solution by Doc Childre and Howard Martin goes into how to use our physical hearts to work with our emotions. Fascinating stuff, imo. The book sent me on a fun exploration of discovery about the "brain within the heart." The HeartMath Institute has a website that offers free instructions for some of their various techniques.
Biology of emotions
Two books that I found helpful and easy to understand on this subject were Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert and Head First: the Biology of Hope by Norman Cousins. At the time I was reading these, I bought a physiology coloring book to get a visual. Lol. I didn't finish the coloring book, but maybe I'll pick it up again when I can find it in my boxes of books. Of course, these days, there is a lot more info accessible regarding the biology of emotions.
Emotions and energy medicine
The book Energy Medicine by Donna Eden goes into our electric body, another field I find fascinating. She has a website with free techniques. Also Karla McLaren's work, though I'm not sure if it would be considered "energy medicine" specifically, offers some approaches. Though I haven't yet read Karla's book The Language of Emotions (it's on my list), I have read quite a bit on her website & recently attended a 2-hour, interactive Zoom workshop she presented.
Even though a person may not have (yet) experienced many physical deaths in their closest relationships, everyone experiences loss. When I realized how deeply I was grieving various losses, I found the book Good Grief: Healing Through the Shadow of Loss by Deborah Morris Coryell helpful. Karla McLaren (mentioned above) also goes into grief work. The 2-hour Zoom workshop I recently attended was about grief (especially in context of the pandemic).
Trauma healing and more
I'm currently finding Dr. Lissa Rankin's work incredibly helpful. Along with other approaches, Lissa shares about Internal Family Systems, an approach of which I'm currently testing the waters. I first read Lissa's Mind Over Medicine in 2018. I hit a mental wall with it back then but picked her work back up in mid-2020. Due to various reasons, I approach groups (and various techniques) with one to seven doses of circumspection, observing and feeling things out as I move along. As I checked more in depth to Lissa's work, I felt safe enough in March, 2021, to join an interactive Zoom workshop she offers called Healing with the Muse. [On my blog I've written one installment (with more to come, maybe) about wading into these workshops: Ten Years.] So far, the workshops seem to be just what my internal doctor ordered. I also mention the workshops in light of you looking for a group for support (in addition to this forum). In the workshops, I haven't yet heard the term TMS mentioned, but mindbody is; Lissa is a mindbody M.D. There is a fee for the workshops, but it isn't a lot and Lissa offers a sliding scale option. One thing I like about these Zoom groups is that they are live and not limited to text; we have the option to share verbally in break-out groups. If a participant can't attend the live sessions, there is a playback. Also, a participant has access to a load of articles & audios & videos from past workshops. For me, it's a treasure chest of information, options, & inspiration.
A few other books
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. Inspiring stories and helpful techniques for worry. It was first published in the mid-1940s. I find that context interesting, putting my self (as much as I can) back in that era.
Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by the Patient by Norman Cousins. Contains an excellent chapter on the placebo effect and why it's a good thing. The book also helped me in maneuvering our western Cartesian medical system. I first read this book in the latter 1990s. Our medical system has changed since then, but (as you know) still lacks a lot in the mindbody field.
How to Be Sick and How to Wake Up, both books by Toni Bernhard. Practical approaches to physical and mental health adversities (especially chronic) from a Buddhist perspective. I think many people think of meditation when Buddhism is mentioned, but meditation is not the primary approach in these books. I think I started reading Bernhard's works in 2017? Her sharings helped me to learn better how to practice the paradox of surrender/acceptance while simultaneously not giving up. She also has a blog on the Psychology Today website.
Most of my posts have a tendency to go unreplied to. Not exactly sure why, but I suspect a lot of what I post is very redundant. In any case, I don’t get the support or answers I’m looking for. And people almost never ever reply to private messages. I would have given up a long time ago but I’m desperate for pain relief.
it looks to me like you are getting some very thoughtful responses. i realize you just want the pain to go away! people do come here voluntarily. i have found wonderful responses here, also in couple of pm's i have sent along the way. i'm sorry you are not getting the response you are looking for. i do wish you well and i completely understand, as most do on this site, how it feels to be desperate and think you have nowhere to turn. just know you are not alone. keep posting. people will answer. it sometimes goes in waves depending on how active people are in their lives in general.
As @TrustIt says, you have gotten some very thoughtful responses; I've looked back at quite a number of your threads and there are loads of informative and helpful replies with lots of supportive suggestions and insights. For instance, just look at the time and effort that @oneperson put into her last posting to you in this thread.
Some do. However, a lot of people don't reply to PMs because what so often happens is that they find themselves involved in long conversations that they don't have the time to get embroiled in...They view their time as being better spent in discussing things in open forum where their responses and wisdom can benefit lots of people.
I have to say that I suspect that you are not getting 'the answers you are looking for' because the answers you are receiving are all to do with TMS and TMS work.
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