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How to cope in the moment (a tip)

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by BlackCoffee, Nov 1, 2020.

  1. BlackCoffee

    BlackCoffee New Member

    Hey friends,
    I've been suffering from TMS for about 2 years, but only aware of what TMS was for the last three months, thanks to a friend of mine. I'm currently studying psychology and neuroscience which occasionally gives me insight into certain aspects of TMS and I thought I would post some of my favorite realizations.

    If you find this helpful please let me know and I'll make more.
    One of the most difficult aspects of coping with TMS is trying to manage it whenever you are unable to do things like meditating and journaling. For instance, if you’re at work or watching your kids.

    A typical scenario for me is getting triggered by something, whether it's a negative thought pattern, or doing something physical that tweaks my arm and I start worrying about the inevitable pain or setback.

    If you don't notice this triggered state quickly, you can easily spiral out of control, making it significantly harder to snap out of it.

    Here's where the neuroscience I mentioned earlier comes in.

    First I'm going to repeat something you've probably heard before - whenever our brain interprets fear, our Hippocampus (the part of our brain that stores logical and factual memory) shrinks and the Amygdala (which stores emotional and traumatic memory) grows.

    And here is the part that I rarely see people go into detail about…

    This is damaging in two ways. When our Amygdala is swollen, it literally exposes more of its receptors to fear and stress chemicals in our brain.

    This means that not only are we more likely to interpret the things around us as worthy of being fearful of, or stressed out by — it also becomes extremely difficult to think of anything besides our most traumatic fears and memories.

    This is why it's called a downward spiral instead of a downward step.

    Once our brain begins reacting to fear, it can't stop unless you give it a nudge in the right direction.

    In that situation (which I think nearly all of us are in multiple times a day) I find it helps to be logical while still acknowledging my feelings.

    Start by acknowledging your feelings, and being kind to yourself.

    This is honestly the hardest part for me because I deal with a lot of self-criticism. In a perfect world, we would try to say something like this —

    "I'm noticing I got triggered by X and that's making me feel very fearful (angry, sad, etc.), but I caught it and that's the first step! good job Sam I'm so proud of you. Even though I'm feeling this way I am safe”.

    Now that we have stopped the downward spiral by acknowledging how we feel, we can push our brain further in the right direction by thinking something logical and scientific, helping our hippocampus grow simultaneously shrinking our amygdala.

    Say to yourself "It takes the chemicals that are released in my Amygdala about 6 seconds to dissipate.”

    This doesn't mean that your amygdala is completely back to normal in six seconds, but it does mean if you are able to remind yourself of the two things I mentioned above, you will be well on your way.
  2. hollywood

    hollywood New Member

    Black Coffee:

    This is seems like it would be a very useful tool. Thanks
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Black Coffee,
    Thanks for this. It seems simple and do=able. I'll try to remember to try this when I get upset.
  4. Marls

    Marls Well known member

    Hi BlackCoffee, I’ve read a book by Prof Selena Bartlett (neuroscientist) and I follow her suggestion which I think is similar to yours. When the Amygdala responds to fear or whatever and I recognise the “quivery” tummy response, I do 2 or 3 deep slow breaths to slow the response and then call on the NeoCortex rational part of the brain (nicknamed Thinker by Selena) and literally say “OK Thinker I could do with some help/advice here” and believe it or not I get a sort of answer like “this is how you just perceived this wrongly, try working it out like this ....”. So thinking carefully and logically instead of knee jerking in an irrational way. I need to catch it quite quickly though. Cheers marls
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  5. BlackCoffee

    BlackCoffee New Member

    Hey thanks Marls! this is a great way of visualizing the same idea, you're right.

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