1. Our TMS drop-in chat is today (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern U.S.(New York) Daylight Time. It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support. Steve2 is today's host. Click here for more info or just look for the red flag on the menu bar at 3pm Eastern (now US Daylight Time).
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

Day 34 What has helped the most so far

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by hopeful_guitarist, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. hopeful_guitarist

    hopeful_guitarist Peer Supporter

    I'm approaching the final week of the structured educational program. It has been very helpful to me, as has this forum.

    Today I'm thinking about what has helped me the most since I discovered Dr. Sarno's writings on New Year's Eve. I have a tendency to change too many variables at once so I'm never sure which are actually having an impact, but these are the ones that come to mind:

    Reading - Fortunately, I enjoy this. I have read 3 of Dr. Sarno's books, a lot of content from this site, and I'm currently about 1/3 through Steve Ozanich's The Great Pain Deception. I eat these up like they're suspense novels. What will my brain try next?

    Writing - I created a TMS folder in the Notes app on my phone so I can add to it wherever I am. I have a "Stress and Anger" page filled with things like "idiot customer did x" and "my wife missed the exit and keeps the car temp at 100 degrees" and "I keep dying on this level in that video game". It seems to help to get little annoyances out on digital paper instead of letting them collect in my brain.

    Arithmetic - just kidding, arithmetic hasn’t helped me at all. My brain just can’t resist finishing a pattern.

    Stopping my old routine - This was kind of scary for a few days but I think it made a big difference to give up all the back gadgets, stretches, ointments, pills, hot and cold packs, cushions, etc., that I thought were controlling the pain in the past. I gave them up and the pain actually improved.

    Staying active - I have loved getting back to basketball, racquetball, biking, and hauling in bags of water softener salt instead of making my wife do it.

    Talking - This is a challenge for me. I don't like to talk to others about my feelings. And I don't much like others to talk to me about theirs. But I am starting to enjoy a nightly walk with my wife where I talk through the latest things I've discovered, things that are bugging or inspiring me, and to find out the same about her.

    Allowing myself to feel - Another big challenge. I am highly skilled at blinking back tears. In recent weeks I've been trying to let them flow (as long as no one's watching). It's weird but somewhat pleasant.

    Saying no - How liberating to experiment with the life of a non-goodist! Two weeks ago someone asked if I would fill in as a singer for a musical number. I didn't want to. I hemmed and hawed -- I guess I could -- and then simply said, "I'm sorry. I can't." It shocked my system - did I just intentionally not please someone? I obsessed over it for 2 days - should I go back and say I'll do it? But in the end it felt great. I'm going to have to be careful to not become an anti-goodist - a grumpy old man who only does what he wants.

    Drinking hot chocolate - There are a few things that reliably bring me instant pleasure and I'm pretty sure my id is a big fan. Drinking quality hot chocolate is one. I can calm the Inner Child down in a few minutes with a hot mug of cocoa. Sitting in the hot tub is another. Watching the bees in the backyard. Riding a bike downhill. I try to recognize when I need one of these little luxuries and make time for it.

    Positive self-talk - My Inner Critic is an expert. I've been aware of the problem for years but I'm fighting back in earnest now. It also helps to write things out - I have a great family. I am a good provider. I have many good habits. I am a better person today than I was yesterday. I've helped more than I've hurt. Without yesterday's mistake I wouldn't have learned how to do it right today.

    Patience - I'm still working on this. I catch myself wondering when that last 5% of the pain will go away for good. I worry that some new stress will throw off all the progress I've made. But I know this is working.

    Not using Facebook - I used to be a Facebook junkie. I checked it dozens of times a day. I posted many times a week and relied on likes and comments for validation. At least once a day something on Facebook would aggravate me. When I quit using it two months ago, it took at least a week before I stopped mindlessly typing Facebook.com into the browser every few minutes - only to be reminded that my account was closed. It was an unhealthy part of my life and I love its absence.

    Spreading the word - I get very passionate when I talk about TMS. I pace back and forth and start to lose my breath on the phone. I'm like an old-time preacher. Can I get an amen?! I'm not sure how effective it is for my audience, but it really seems to help me. Testify!
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Hopeful_guitarist. Congratulations on writing about the things that have helped you the most in the SEProgram. They're all great... learning to say No! ... Hot cocoa (I just drink hot milk)... Talking to your wife while walking together... Positive self-talk... reassuring yourself that your pains are from emotions and are not structural... You may get rid of that remaining 5 percent of pain, but it not, 95 percent is very liveable. New pains can come along, or old ones may return, depending on how you react to new stresses. You did yourself a big favor not going to Facebook anymore. It and Twitter can create anger, anxiety, etc. I find myself reading entries on Facebook but not commenting on them. I know I'd feel better if I stopped looking at Facebook at all (I never have gone to Twitter). I also have stopped watching news on TV but need to stop reading news at the network online sites. It's mostly stressful news and lots of it changes every day or so. What I worried about a week ago changed to the better or never happened at all.

    Live in the present, if you make that positive. Keep us posted on how you feel as you complete the Program. My thinking is, TMS healing is an on-going process.. a journey that has helped me to really understand myself better, and what troubles me.

    I stay away from doctors, medication, and tune out the crazy politics and current events. I try to laugh away any troubles.
    HattieNC and moni-violet like this.
  3. hopeful_guitarist

    hopeful_guitarist Peer Supporter

    Thanks @Walt Oleksy ! What you say about worry generated by Facebook, Twitter, and TV reminds me of a favorite Mark Twain quote:
    “I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
    EileenS likes this.
  4. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    Great post hopeful_guitarist. You have paraphrased well everything one should do, including enjoying chocolate. I discovered Dr Sarno almost 2 years ago.

    Re: Reading: I let my intuition and 'the universe' guide me to the next book. This has worked well for me. The right books always seem to come along at the right time, including the books purely for fun. I just finished 'How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain'. I'm also reading a book a friend meant to lend me five years ago, 'The Year of Living Biblically'. I'm often afraid I'll wake my husband up laughing so hard reading that one before I sleep.

    Re: Writing: Reminds of my list when I first started journaling a la Dr Sarno. My husband said it was like the list Arya on Game of Thrones used to keep of the people she might some day kill, but never would. It just made her feel better to keep the list.

    Re: Patience. Always a difficult one.

    Spreading the Word: I used to feel like a preacher too. I don't bring it up any more unless someone asks me what I did to get rid of pain or they're desperately searching for a pain that won't go away. I try to remember that Dr Sarno said only 10% of the population are open to using this method. It's hard to see people in pain, but people started rolling their eyes whenever I brought it up. People are ready when they're ready and some never will be.
    hopeful_guitarist likes this.
  5. K0440

    K0440 Newcomer

    Giving up Facebook! Yes! I also have given up FB and it has helped SO much with my emotional state (isn't that sad to say?). As much as I tried to create a positive environment by following neutral pages and people- it still made be boil up with anger seeing posts about fake news, polarized politics, SO much anger and pissy comments and attitudes. I would shake my head at what some people would write or comment. It has made me much happier and like life is slower and more authentic!
    hopeful_guitarist likes this.

Share This Page