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Mindfulness Acceptance

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Stock Trader, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    If we are unable to accept all of our qualities fully, it is quite difficult to observe them with nonjudgmental curiosity. This form of acceptance involves noticing when we are experiencing unpleasant or difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations, and practicing taking an active stance of acceptance toward them. In order to become more mindful, we must be willing to accept the fact that we will not always experience pleasant states of being.
    Mindfulness allows us to sit with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings with a greater sense of calm… less fear and resistance. No matter what our internal experience is, mindfulness involves taking an actively accepting stance. There is no pride and there is no shame as a result of our internal state – purely acceptance of all that “is.”
    Forest and gailnyc like this.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    The calmness and equanimity that you describe in this post is a big part of what I would want any TMSer to have. I'm not saying that everyone has to be mindful to gain that equanimity, but the practice of mindfulness seems like a great way to get to that sense of calm.

    So how does one get to calm? How does one get to a peaceful mind-state. For some, just accepting the diagnosis and realizing that they are whole is enough. For others, actively paying attention to what gets them wound-up and looking for ways to relax is what it takes. It sounds like mindfulness is working very well for you.

    I'm a big fan of a book by Timothy Stokes called What Freud Didn't Know. Stokes has a strong background in psychodynamic psychotherapy, a tradition that arose from Freud's work. But he is very aware of how much insight brain science such as fMRIs has brought to the table in the last 50 years. Hence the title of his book: What Freud Didn't Know.

    His treatment plan has three steps. The first is mindfulness. After all, if we are to treat and soothe our emotions, we first must know what emotions are there. The second is Insight. By knowing how our emotions got sensitive in certain ways, we become much more able to let go of those sensitivities. This is why we journal, and it is a core part of a great deal of psychotherapy. Finally, the third step is belief. This is what we see in the Alan Gordon recovery program when he challenges the inner bully on a cognitive level and argues with it. Affirmations also work on this level because they are helping us to change what we believe. By changing what we believe, we change the messages that our unconscious minds are constantly getting from our conscious minds.

    Anyway, the core of it all is knowing what you feel. Going back to UnknownStuntman's great thread on Eugene Gendlin's focusing, I think that listening to the body is a great way to become mindful of how our emotions are playing out in the body. And the mindfulness that you describe sounds like it is rich enough that it is a complete program in and of itself.

    Thanks for sharing that idea. Was it a book quote, or did you write it yourself? It's quite rich.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have a follow-up question: being of a curious nature, it can be nice to know why things work rather than just that they work. It sounds like mindfulness has been very helpful for you in mastering many of your TMS symptoms. Do you have a sense of why the steps of mindfulness worked so well for you?

    For example, when you write about acceptance and having less resistance, it reminds me of the white bears experiment. From a post by Dr. Hanscom:
    In 1987 Dr. Daniel Wegner, a Harvard psychologist published a paper, The Paradoxical Effects of Thought Suppression. (1) The experiment is commonly referred to as “White Bears”. He asked a group of students not to think about white bears. He designed it in a way that demonstrated that when you try not to think about something, not only do you think about it more; you think about it a lot more. He used the term, “trampoline effect.” He pointed out in an essay; The Seed of our Own Undoing, that simply writing down or saying the thoughts you are suppressing interrupts the phenomenon.​
    Incidentally, when I spoke with Dr. Hanscom on the phone one time, he mentioned that the White Bears experiment was at the very core of his approach. Perhaps that is one of the things behind that classic triad of "notice, accept, and let go."

    Anyway, that's my take, but I'd love to hear yours as well. Why do you think that mindfulness speaks so much to you?
  4. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    To me personally mindfulness is a state of awareness by nonjudgmental observation of and interaction with the present moment. Further, mindful awareness involves an open, curious, and accepting attitude toward your internal experience (bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions) and your external experience (interactions with other people and the environment). Mindfulness is a state of being that eases freedom from attachment to the need for people, things, or events to be a certain way… calmness comes with mindful awareness and acceptance of the way people, things, and events actually are. And also mindful acceptance does not require your approval. Many events in life will occur, and even persist, with or without your approval. Mindfulness enables you to see the present moment in the light of day… just as it is. The concepts of “good” and “bad” take on new meanings when these labels are no longer applied to people, things, and events. Mindfulness provides a quiet space from which you have the opportunity to view any situation, encounter, or experience from all angles. Within this mindful state you lessened repressed emotions, and greater tolerance of symptoms.

    Also an attitude of mindfulness means that you are aware of the present moment in an entirely new way… with this freedom comes responsibility. You are now responsible for making the choice to respond to internal and external things rather than react to them. When you welcome and accept all things, the physical and emotional strain of resistance to “what is” dissipates. Mindfulness is one road toward healing from the unnecessary suffering that persists from denying, ignoring, or raging against the moment. So the bottom line is that mindfulness is a tool that can increase your connectedness, acceptance, and awareness with yourself, others, and the world. And as of right now, this is the healing journey I decided to take during my recovery.
  5. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    Moreover, acceptance in and of itself is an act of change. When you choose to fully accept reality just as it is, you have changed yourself from someone blinded by frustration or denial into someone who is willing to look at the problem with fresh eyes and a calm heart. Acceptance allows you the peaceful space necessary to come up with potential solutions to the problem that you would be unable to see in your state of anger, frustration, or helplessness.
  6. Chuck

    Chuck Peer Supporter

    From reading through this is sounds like achieving this state of mindful acceptance is the ultimate goal of the TMS recovery process. Recovery does not involve never being stressed or never having unpleasant thoughts/feelings. Unpleasant and negative thoughts are simply a part of life. The aim, therefore, is not to eliminate these feelings, but to welcome them and accept them. In so doing, the inner turmoil we create by trying to avoid the repress these emotions fades away. This reminds me of this quote from the 7th Harry Potter book (Nerd Alert coming), and the Tale of the Three Brothers: However, the Cloak of Invisibility enabled Ignotus to elude Death for a good many years, and finally when he had reached a ripe old age and lived a happy, long life, he took off the Cloak, gave it to his son, and departed the "mortal coil" with Death as an old friend, but on his own terms and not those of Death.

    Much like this quote, by accepting and allowing our emotions we will begin to experience them on our own terms and not on the terms of our overactive unconscious.

    Here is the full clip:
  7. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    Accept symptom "as it is"

    Accept these unpleasant feelings as something that will be with you for a little while until you recover.
    Your nerves are sensitized and will take time to heal, just as a broken leg takes time. You will gradually
    forget to notice the feelings. By this acceptance, you break the fear-adrenalin-fear cycle that keeps your
    nerves in a sensitized state.

    Here is a clip of Dr. Claire Weekes explaining how to accept your symptoms.


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