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Derek S. To feel or not to feel

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by clairem, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. clairem

    clairem Peer Supporter

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    Question
    Hi, i've been experiencing more anger and sadness recently and ive been trying to tolerate it and feel it in the body.

    But i have some confusion . What if the emotions we are having are from errors in thinking ? by that i mean that perhaps what we are angry or sad about isnt actually the reality of things perhaps we are just seeing the world through a negative lens? do we still tolerate and feel our emotions or should we challenge these aswell as any distorted thinking?

    thanks
     
  2. Derek Sapico MFT

    Derek Sapico MFT TMS Therapist

    Answer
    Thanks for your question, clairem.

    You raise a very interesting point. Differentiating between emotions and thoughts, particularly thoughts that could be called "cognitive distortions," can be difficult. One thing that is important to consider when assessing your perception and thought process is that your "lens" is created by your experiences (many of them during your formative years). Rather than being critical of yourself for having a "negative lens," view yourself with compassion and be curious about what experiences/events/people helped to shape this lens. This will inevitably bring up some emotions and these are what you want to process.

    Sometimes our experiences with chronic and/or debilitating pain can also shape our lens. Chronic pain has a way of making us feel victimized and disempowered. This is the type of thinking that can really become an impediment to healing. I always find it to be a trap to get too focused on emotions related to symptoms because these keep you focused on those symptoms.

    View your symptoms as part of a larger mechanism that was employed by your brain to preoccupy and distract you. What are the conditions in your life that made this mechanism kick in? How do you feel about these things?

    I know that I'm answering your question with more questions but I hope you understand the gist of what I'm trying to say.

    Mindfulness teaches us to not "reject" thoughts because we have little control over what pops into our heads. Instead, observe your thoughts and decide which ones are useful and which are detrimental to your healing. Choose which thoughts you want to own and those which are harmful to you and work towards creating a new lens. Do this with compassion for yourself and with a determination to heal.

    Best of luck.

    -Derek


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