Self Monitor

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Recovering from Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) involves learning to use your body as signal that something else is going on. This condition is caused by repressed emotions, which means that most of us are not skilled at knowing what we are feeling and, perhaps more importantly, why we feel they way we do. A useful technique to learn to think psychologically is to use your body to identify when you are activated and hyperaroused. Doing so will allow you to reduce your current emotional tension and therefore reduce your present symptoms.

What do you mean by Current Emotional Tension?

brain mind connection
Emotional Tension refers to anytime we are acting in a repressing manner, and are not being in touch with our true emotions. This consists of having negative thoughts and focusing on the worse-case scenarios. Some examples of emotional tension are:
  • anxiety
  • worrying about the past and/or future
  • rage
  • ruminating on something
  • Letting our internal bully get out of control
  • Obsessing over recovering the right way
  • Being afraid of our symptoms

Learn to Recognize Your Tension

All of these emotional states activate our Amygdala, an emotional center of our brain, which amplifies our symptoms and leads to more fear, anxiety, and worrying. In addition, the emotional tension we create, on a minute by minute basis, also engages our body’s physical stress response through the Autonomic Nervous System and the HPA axis. This is the reason your heart beats faster when you have anxiety. Our bodies react to our emotional states. If we have emotional tension, our bodies will reflect that.

By paying attention to the sensations in our bodies, we can use these physical signals to Think Psychologically and figure out what is generating our tension. This can help us better understand what we react to. This means that if we feel our bodies activating our stress response, we can identify when we have emotional tension building up inside us presently. If you feel your heart rate start to increase, your pupils dilate, your breathing accelerate, these are all signs that you need to get in touch with your present emotional state.

Use your body’s natural stress response to identify when you are repressing present emotions. From there, go back one to one of the most basic principles of Sarno’s work and Think Psychological. Ask yourself, “what am I thinking right now,” and “why do I feel this way right now.” If you can bring your focus back to the present and to what you are feeling in this moment, your symptoms will reduce.

  1. Monitor Your Body
  2. Think Psychological
  3. Your symptoms will reduce

Where is Your Energy

A great deal of what drives our "Tension" Myoneural Syndrome is simply our own tension. There is a tremendous amount of value to be had in just watching where your energy goes on a day to day basis. One way to start with this is the following very simple classic exercise: get a blank piece of paper and draw a stick figure in the center. Now, around it, draw all of the sources of tension that are using your energy. Just write the words out like a spider diagram or word map. Use the insights that you have refined from journaling to understand the sources of that tension. Then ask yourself what you can do to be kind to yourself. What can you do to lessen that tension? Can you forgive? Can you accept? (It may take time, of course.) Can you make changes? Can you simply accept that some of the things will unavoidably cause tension and that while that is unpleasant, you can mindfully ignore that tension or feel it in your body and let it slip away? Can you use an affirmation to reduce the tension? Can you invent techniques of your own to manage it?

Healing from TMS is a great deal like meditation. Once you achieve peace with not yet being where you are going, that is when you will actually get there. This may seem paradoxical, but it can be done. Just watch your tension levels, and get drawn back into the life that your symptoms always distracted you from. Settle in to it a little and just focus on living (and enjoying) the best life that you can. (From the thread: Frustrated)

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DISCLAIMER: The TMS Wiki is for informational and support purposes only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. See Full Disclaimer.