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What emotion are you feeling?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    So I just finished reading Adam Heller's book, Zero Pain Now. After explaining what TMS is he provides advice on how to overcome the pain. This process is simply answering the question What emotion are you feeling. I think this is just perfect. The heart of recovering from chronic pain is not doing something complicated. It simply involves answering one question: What emotion am I feeling.

    The book has a great exercise that I wanted to share with you all. The exercise can be done either by yourself or with a partner asking you the questions. First, simply ask yourself on a scale of 1-10, what level of discomfort do you currently have.

    Then ask yourself outloud Right Now what emotion am I feeling.
    Then write out your answer, I am feeling ______________. One caveat is that you must answer with an emotion. You can't say, that I'm in pain or I feel stupid. It has to be something like I am angry or I am frustrated.

    Then repeat the question again and write down the feeling on a piece of paper. Ask yourslef out loud Right now what emotion am I feeling, and then write out your answer, I am feeling _________.

    After doing this for about 20 - 25 times, ask your self what your level of discomfort is. Heller suggests that you should stop this exercise when the pain is gone.

    He then suggests that we should investigate each of the emotions that we wrote down after the exercise.

    I probably did not do the best at describing this, but I think it is a really interesting technique to uncover repressed emotions. I was wondering if anyone else has tried something like this. There is something about this that sounds pretty interesting. It seems really simplistic which is something that I like, and hopefully it may help some people out. If anyone tries it out, I'd love to hear how it works.
  2. Ollin

    Ollin Peer Supporter

    For many people, exploring their emotions is difficult because acknowledging one emotion, say anger, they build stories around it to explain why they feel angry, what about, to justify the anger by linking it to current stress or childhood traumas, etc. Although understanding oneself is a powerful tool in managing troublesome emotions, this intellectual process actually may serve as a distraction from feeling the emotions. In a worse case, the person gets carried away by their thoughts and imaginations, and these lead to more emotions, and when they are all negative then a mild irritation can grow into murderous rage. Then we get really scared and start looking for the source of this disproportional rage in our current our past life events and never find it because it's just a product of our terrified imagination. I think this is why classical journalling may not work well for some people, at least was the case when I experienced a dead end, frustration and a painful setback.

    But this approach you describe sounds different, in that one acknowledges an emotion but doesn't dwell on it, and instead shifts the attention to the level of pain. So this way one can learn to think psychological about their pain by using it as an emotional barometer, as well as develop their emotional intelligence by observing that under one emotion (anger, shame) usually lies another, deeper emotion, i.e. fear. I think I might try it in a meditative framework.
    Mari likes this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    What really stood out to me about this exercise was this idea that there is a deeper emotion present. Each emotion leads to another emotion until the person comes to uncover the emotions they were repressing. I imagine that the first few emotions the person will answer with will probably be something small, but as the exercise progresses the answers become to be more strong. As you mentioned, I think the exercise is organized in a way where you don't dwell on these emotions, you just move on to the next one. I should mention that the book suggested to do this with a partner who asks the questions. This may be helpful just so you have support there in case anything comes up.

    I haven't actually tried this, but it just seemed to be an interesting idea, and was a little curious if anyone has done something similar.
  4. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    How many questions should one ask? And how long do you write about it? I'm a little unclear on that part and would love to try this exercise with my friend who knows me well, or my therapist.

  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think for the most part there really isn't a set number of questions you should ask. The general idea is to ask the same question over and over again until your symptoms reduce. The book may have mentioned asking the same question somewhere between 20-25 times, but I don't think there is really a set number. If you do try it out let us know how it goes.
    donavanf likes this.
  6. Endless luke

    Endless luke Well known member

    I think this idea is solid. I'm still having trouble implementing it- I tried it for a while tonight and the closest that I could get to an emotion was "tired" but it still felt useful. I felt that at least I owned my tiredness and that while I was doing it my muscle tension would sometimes loosen.

    It's still probably too early to say if this will be something I stick with but I'll at least try it a few more times.
  7. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I tried classifying my level of pain, which wasn't very high, about 2 or 3, but when I asked the question what emotion was I feeling right now, I stated that I was beginning to be angry and frustrated again back trapped in my dead parents' house and away from the sense of personal freedom I had in the High Sierra this summer. I could answer the question right away because lately I've been in touch with my deeper feelings outdoors in a natural environment. Doing a lot of pranayama breathing exercises by a river meditating on cloud patterns as they change and reform. No hesitation whatsoever. Interestingly, I'm only back about 48-hours and already the pain that had disappeared in my sciatic never has started coming back. I'll have to try the system described in Heller's book when I'm a little more integrated back into society and my old neurotic habits of mind. I can see though that by repeating and answering the question over and over how you'd break down your internal censor mechanism that is preventing you from contacting your unconscious reservoir of authentic emotions, emotions of course that might be scary, unpleasant and anti-social. :rolleyes:
  8. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter


    I tried this yesterday. Was at about a 2 level of pain. Went through 25 rounds of asking and writing. I did get in touch with deeper levels of feelings as the exercise went on. My inner child got engaged and we went through old hurts and wounds from childhood related to Mom.

    My overall impression was that I did not get in touch with any new emotions or memories and found resistance to processing the same old wounds. Maybe there is more anger there to process. I also began to feel I was playing into my obsessiveness by asking the same question out loud 25 times and writing down the emotions. If this process brings up different material to process, I am open to that. I know enough about myself that initially I may want to discard something that could be of value if I give it a few more opportunities. Pain level never changed during the whole thing.

  9. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Looking back on this, it does seem like it could play into the whole obsessiveness aspect of our personalities. I have never really been the kind of person who could sit down and do something over and over again like this, so my reaction would probably be similar to yours Susan. Your response sounds pretty similar to my own reaction to journaling. There was only so many times that I could dig into my past, but other people have found it helpful. I have always wondered how effective this specific technique was. Thanks for letting us know how it worked (or in your case didn't) for you.

    To be honest there were a lot of things about Heller that rubbed me the wrong way. More specifically is that he charges people something like $4,500 for treatment! This was, however, the one thing that I thought might be somewhat useful. To be honest, I sort of thought it was more about focusing on the present instead of the past, but that's just my interpretation.
    BinLA and donavanf like this.
  10. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    Forest, I just came upon this book and it looks interesting. I was going to post about it and ask the forum if anyone had read it, but I see you already have so I will just comment here. I am someone who is very good at overTHINKING and not very good at FEELING. I often think, "I feel very angry", but I don't actually feel the anger. Sometimes saying it out loud (as Heller recommends) helps me a lot. As does repeating what I am feeling, out loud, as he also recommends. I have a very OCD mind, but I'm learning that I can use that to my advantage. I think Heller might be onto something. I know from my acting training, that sometimes repeating a certain sentence or passage from a script out loud over and over can show you new viewpoints on it and bring up emotions and feelings in new and fascinating ways. This is similar to "Meisner Technique" in theater. I am very curious about "Zero Pain Now" and the workbook he wrote as well, particularly the workbook, as I do well with structured journaling. I sent him an email yesterday, just inquiring about his book and workbook, with a short description of my story and journey and to my surprise, I heard back within a few hours. He immediately tried to sell me on his "Advanced Virtual Sessions" which is basically his book and workbook, some DVD's and some one on one phone/Skype meetings. It is $500. While I am tempted, I can't afford it right now and something about his response and how he basically said, "Save your money on my book/workbook....you obviously already know a lot about TMS and are clearly stuck in your progress...so you need my whole enchilada", also rubbed me the wrong way. Still, I may get his book and workbook, and report back here. I'll let you all know what I find. Have you seen his blog? He's an interesting fellow, with a lot of videos. Part of me thinks he is good intentioned, but he seems to be selling his program a lot, and perhaps capitalizing on TMS. That's not good. Still, I'm going to read the book, it couldn't hurt and $27 is a lot less painful to my wallet than $500! I will give him the benefit of the doubt and see if some of his enchilada may help my TMS, if nothing else, it may help me to see more of myself and trust the diagnosis fully and completely, which I think has been my biggest hurdle. :)
  11. Pia

    Pia Peer Supporter

    I felt horrible today and used this technique with an adjustment - I'm learning to be in contact with my body and I asked the questions "How am I feeling in my body". That went really well! I feel much better afterwards and I will use this again.
    Mari and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  12. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Whilst I've got enough knowledge and books about TMS to keep me going for a while this thread piqued my interest so to speak. A quick glance on Amazon UK and this book is £23.99 for the Kindle download. I'd expect the author to pop round for a personal consultation with a deep pan pizza and a 4 pack of beers for that price. Needless to say I've given it a miss. Expensive business this chronic pain lark.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  13. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad Peer Supporter

    Thank you, Forest, you did an excellent job of describing this exercise, at least for my purposes, because I did it (have not read the book yet) and it was eye-opening. I added at the end, writing down what sensations I felt in my body corresponding to the emotions I was feeling (tense around the mouth, soft belly, energy tingling fingertips, etc.) and that helped me connect further. I realized my fear is covering anger, and the fear freezes/numbs my other feelings. This is very helpful. Thank you again.
  14. Egary908

    Egary908 Newcomer

    unfortuantely I feel anxiety... that's the feeling that I can't get rid of even after my doc has put me on Xanax for it... anyway, thank you guys for responding as I've read something interesting here which I'm so thankful.

    anyway, is there somebody who kicked anxiety's @ss?
  15. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad Peer Supporter

    Dear Egary908, I feel for you! It has been the anxiety that has been frightening me almost more than anything else...shaky exhale, feeling numb and distanced from my body. It is actually the exercise Forest described, above, that is helping me the most. I found that the anxiety is absolutely connected to my feelings, another TMS symptom, masking the real problem: shit not dealt with, the inner child. That is why doing Forest's exercise is helping, because when I ask myself what I'm feeling (and, adding in on my part, writing down the corresponding bodily sensations that accompany each feeling) that I begin to realize, Holy S! I'm disconnected from my feelings. This exercise is bringing them into consciousness and after awhile I can just feel these sensations in my body and know they're anxiety, or anger, or relaxation, or whatever, and deal with the underlying issue. Who knows what will work for you? I hope you find the "way in" soon! Maybe try this exercise though?
  16. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Everyone has negative feelings. The problem is that the experience is repressed, it hasn't been recognized, and remains un-reconciled. The negative emotion ends up being helpful to us because it teaches us more about ourselves, and our personal beliefs. The anxiety is inviting you to examine yourself but you reject it. It's only a problem because we ignore it, or more precisely resist change (growth) within our-self. Your deeper self is seeking to express itself but remains ignored. And of course Dr. Sarno showed us that we ignore it by focusing on the body, and the #1 mistake made in "healing" is trying to heal because we further ignore the opportunity to grow, and learn nothing more about ourselves. This book could have easily been called Zero Growth Now to portray what's really going on internally.
    ChanaG, donavanf and MWsunin12 like this.
  17. OnTheRoad

    OnTheRoad Peer Supporter

    Right on, Steve. Your book has been a great help to me on this journey. Namaste.
  18. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you, Forest, for posting this! I became emotionally flat few years back and believe it had a lot to do with the last surge of TMS. The exercise does work for me even when I don't have patience for 25 repeats. Pain does not go away immediately but subsidies.
  19. Pia

    Pia Peer Supporter

    I used this technique again today - I was feeling so low, I have a cold, sneezing, headache, shoulder pain, neck pain, hip pain, in serious doubt about a relationship I need to end... I went through my feelings using my body - wow... Now I'm 75 percent better! Only the cold remains and then I'm a bit sore because I've knitted very much the last few days (my muscles are not used to that much knitting activity, so it's fair to be a bit sore - my daughter is expecting so granny just needs to knit :D:D:D) and of course I still have an open issue with my relationship.
    Happy New Year to all of you! And that's what it's going to be - a happy new year!!!! tiphata
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  20. Emilsen

    Emilsen New Member

    Hej Pia,

    Could you elaborate this?

    Og godt nytår til dig!

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