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Daniel L. How to deal with unchangeable stressors

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    Hello, I wanted to ask about recommended self soothing techniques - I have had arm pain for six months and am now on Day 17 of the treatment plan. I do not have pain when I am distracted or away from my identified stressers. The problem is that my stress is a situation at home and I must face it multiple times a day. I have recognised that the medical diagnosis is not causing my pain and that I am very angry with several people and situations in my life right now, I can not make a change right now in my home situation and unfortunately just recognising the rage has not caused the pain to go away.
    Thank you for any advice you could provide, it is most appreciated.
  2. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    This is a great question – and one to which we can all relate. If we can’t change the stressors in our life, how do we deal with the constant, predictable stress?

    Here are a few things I would suggest:

    1) The first, and my favorite, is meditation. I know, I know – people cringe when they see that word or they feel like it just can’t help them. But really, just five minutes a day of meditating can have HUGE effects over the long-term.

    I’ve done a few 10-day silent meditation retreats, which are somewhat miserable and really difficult, but I always tell people that when I leave the retreat, I could be in the middle of a burning building and not feel any stress about it at all. Why is that?

    Well, the scientific reason is that it increases gray matter. I won’t go into that, but if you’re interested, here’s a very recent Harvard study that talks about what meditation can do for your brain:

    Now here’s the trick. Meditation is simultaneously the easiest thing and the hardest thing you’ll ever do. So don’t expect that you’ll be good at it right away. Don’t expect that you’ll be good at it after a few months. Actually, don’t expect to be good or bad at it. Don’t expect anything at all, just do it. I repeat, don’t have expectations, just do it.

    Not sure how to meditate? Don’t worry – you’ll be fine. I recommend just focusing on your breath. Nothing more. I wrote about that in a previous post if you’re interested:

    2) The second thing I’d suggest to manage your daily stress is journaling. Take all of your thoughts that you have about who you’re angry with and why and put them down on paper (or on a screen).

    Write and write and until you can’t think of anything else to say. Do that for 20 minutes a day. It seems overly simplistic, but it’ll help you to decrease judgment on yourself and let go of the thoughts that increase your anger. Write about anything and everything, just make yourself write.

    3) Finally, the last thing I’d suggest to deal with stress/anxiety, and my favorite (did I already say that? This one really IS my favorite): Laugh.

    Find something that is truly funny to you and remind yourself of it daily. Watch a Youtube video, listen to a funny song, watch a stand-up comedy special, read a joke book - anything you can do to make yourself laugh. As simple as it may seem, I think people forget to make laughing a daily habit.

    There are so many benefits to laughter that if you ignore the first two suggestions in this post, you’ll be fine as long as you remember to do this last one a lot. If you’re interested, here’s a link (so many links today – I love the internet!) to a Mayo clinic study about the benefits of laughter:

    Let me help get you started. When I need some stress relief, I turn to the Internet. More specifically to the plethora of funny animal videos on Youtube. Here’s one of goats that scream like humans. Makes me laugh every time:

    I can't believe that I just linked you to a Youtube video of screaming goats. I love my job.

    Anyway, I hope all that is helpful.

    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

    Barb M., North Star, Forest and 2 others like this.
  3. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Very good advice Daniel, I know when I started doing the TMS homework, I used to put myself under incredible amounts of pressure by wondering if I was doing it correctly. I eventually gave in and now embrace and just do the work without giving it thought.
    Daniel G Lyman LCSW likes this.
  4. ermelin

    ermelin New Member

    Thank you for this question and answer. I definitely will incorporate those 3 things in my daily routine.

    I couldn't believe the noise was coming from the goat in the first clip!
    Daniel G Lyman LCSW likes this.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dan, you give great advice on the importance of meditation.

    I find that focusing on deep breathing helps a lot in my meditation.
    If random thoughts come in, I count backwards from 100 to 1 while deep breathing.

    And I definitely agree on the benefits of laughter. I did a stupid thing this morning
    and at first I blamed myself. Then I told myself I know I'm not perfect, and that
    no one should even try to be perfect. Then I laughed at myself, and felt a lot better.

    I've found some good YouTube videos on how to meditate
    and also some really soothing music videos on relaxation.
    Daniel G Lyman LCSW likes this.
  6. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    This response has everything: practical information, scientific studies, goats...

    Daniel Lyman's fast becoming the Peyton Manning of the Ask a TMS Therapist sub forum: consistent, wide array of skills, great at calling audibles at the line of scrimmage (that last one doesn't really fit as well...)
  7. clairelisosteo

    clairelisosteo Newcomer

    Ha ha! you are brilliant!
  8. North Star

    North Star Beloved Grand Eagle

    Awesome reply, Daniel! And yup…you knocked it out of the park. Meditate, journal and laugh. And let's not forget the goats too. Perfect.

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