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Day 13 What to do when emotions must remain hidden?

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by ohmyachingback, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. ohmyachingback

    ohmyachingback New Member

    I'd been doing swimmingly until this past weekend. Something very upsetting happened and, being surrounded by people who I am not close to, I could not just crawl into a corner and have a good cry! Sure enough, since I'm still so new to this, the inability to vent produced pretty severe back pain for a couple days--until I could finally get by myself, do my journaling, and have a nice sob-fest! Back pain reduced greatly after that.

    So, we aren't hermits. How does one deal with this situation?
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi there OhMy, this sounds like good progress!

    I wonder, have you tried any self-talk or mindfulness exercises? The thing is, neuroscientists are telling us that our brains are wired to be constantly scanning the horizon for danger (a primitive mechanism, never updated for modern society). This is a really insidious mechanism, because it creates this basic negativity that is with us all the time, unless we can become aware of the negative messages, and replace them with something more constructive and positive.

    In your recent situation, if you had taken a deep breath and said something to your brain that was the opposite of the negative fear messages, what might that have been? For example, when I feel my constant nagging symptom start to flare, I've really been working at saying ("silently out loud") "whatever you think is dangerous, we are actually quite safe and secure, so it's okay to calm down". It's amazing how well this works!

    It turns out that we CAN re-wire our brains. MRIs of the brains of people who practice meditation/mindfulness are proving this to be true. It's pretty exciting.
  3. ohmyachingback

    ohmyachingback New Member

    Thanks for your encouraging words. I have done self-talk for years, as a result of encountering cognitive therapy a long time ago. Of course, the focus of that is different although somewhat related. The next time I am frightened, I will try your "mantra". However, in this situation, what I was feeling was grief. So I guess the next time this happens, I might say to myself something like "It's okay to feel sad, but this too shall pass."? I find it hard to be mindful when I'm around a lot of people. As an extreme introvert, I find all my mental energy goes to being "on" and I have very little left to process my inner state!

    Gosh, I wonder if I've stumbled on something....do introverts have a harder time with this? Since being with people is so distracting and exhausting, does that make it harder to keep on top of whatever pain our brain might want to give us?
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Good catch! I think this could be a key, and I'd like to suggest that it has everything to do with what I mentioned before, that our brains are always in the negative zone, scanning for danger, ready for fight or flight. This is why you feel you are always "on", and it's exhausting! What happens is that your brain sees a room full of strangers and it turns them into sabre-tooth tigers! It's up to you to convince your poor primitive brain that they are just people and you are perfectly safe, even if you are uncomfortable having to try to talk to them.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Rick Hanson explains this primitive mechanism and teaches us how to use mindfulness to help our brains evolve, I highly recommend him. He has a lot of information on his web site, although I didnt find any meditations there.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, ohmyachingback. Jan's given you some good advice and I agree with her that you are handling this problem very well.

    Sometimes we can't vent our emotions to others in person or right away, so the next best thing could be what you did... journal about it.
    Maybe write a letter about it and then don't mail it.

    You cried and the pain left you. A good cry can be wonderful for healing TMS symptoms.

    Try to be happy/ Find pleasant distractions. Too much think about our repressed emotions can drag down our spirits.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    There are some good videos on Youtube for how to be happy and also the benefits of crying.

    Hope you find something worthwhile in them.

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