Apr 16, 2021
Here's a practice for you if you feel pain when getting up in the morning or when you are getting up from a chair or a couch after sitting for a long time.
There are 3 parts to this:
Relaxed Replacement Thought Repetition
Try this pain brain reprogramming practice.
Let me know how it goes!
What shifts are you noticing?
Here's a link to Dan's Crushing Doubt interview with Hasanna Fletcher - https://youtu.be/ku5M8nG5qYw
You can find links to Dan's podcast and entire world of TMS themed content, more than you can ever consume if you sign up for my email list on debmalkin.com
And as always you're invited to chat with me and learn more about how you can learn about pain and how to change your embodied experience of physical and emotional pain and overwhelm by training your mind.
Welcome to Move With Deb. I'm Deb your friendly neuroplastician. And this is a podcast that explores the relationship between the body and the mind from a health at every size, judgment, free perspective. I teach you how developing a new internal conversation based on curiosity, self friendship and simple neuro-plasticity techniques can rewire your bodymind out of pain and emotional overwhelm to help you build the rich full life that you want to live. Disclaimer, this is not a replacement for medical care.
[00:00:50] All right, we are recording. We're gonna do this and it's just going to be what it's going to be. Um, I don't know how to make it any better, so I'm not going to worry about it. Hi, it's Deb. And this is the Move With Deb podcast, this is episode number 10. And today I am bringing you a podcast, not only on audio, but also on video, because I wanted to share a practice that is an important part of pain reprocessing.
[00:01:30] And I thought that it would be a cool story to tell. I was on a consult the other day with a new client I'm going to just start working with. And so she was telling me that she read my Instagram post about my move with ease, where I was having pain in the morning, getting up from bed, walking to the bathroom. And then I started using these tools. Okay. She started using what I just described in my Instagram posts, and like in four days she was having a lot less pain. There we go, that is a tool. Let's make this a little bit more formal formalize this practice so that you can then apply it to yourself. And see what happens. I thought that was really cool. It makes a lot of sense. It's again, what Dr. Sarno teaches, which is that we get new information and we apply it. And then we have a new physiological experience. So I'm going to call this one move with ease, a practice for transitions.
[00:02:36]So there are three parts to this practice. One is visualization. Two is a thought dump and three is a relaxed replacement thought repetition, right?
[00:02:54] Relaxed replacement thought repetition. That's one tool. This is for if we have pain, in the morning, getting out of bed, like getting to the bathroom or in transitions, like getting up out of a chair, getting up off the couch.
[00:03:11]I listened to this great interview between two TMS therapist the other day. So one was Dan Ratner on his podcast called Crushing Doubt, which is a really great tool and I recommend listening to his podcast and learning from him. He was interviewing. Hassana Fletcher, who is a longtime TMS therapist and they were talking about aging. And why I loved this podcast is there are a lot of thoughts and beliefs about what goes along with aging, like pain and stiffness.
[00:03:47] Hassana was talking about a conversation she had with Dr. Stracks, who is a TMS physician, and she was talking about, you know, Is this TMS, is this aging what's going on? And he just said, the first hour of the day doesn't count. Don't worry about anything that happens in the first hour of the day. Which kind of sounds like, oh yeah, like, just ignore what's happening in your body.
[00:04:15] But she is a long practiced TMS therapist, so she understood what he was saying. Which was don't get your mind hooked on the sensations in your body when you first get up in the morning. So she applied that concept and then her stiffness went away. Um, not only did it go away apparently like throughout the day, which is great. We want changes throughout the day, but also the sense of stiffness, went away because she wasn't worried about it anymore. So I thought that was really brilliant. I'm really excited to share that idea to just not worry about the first hour of the day. Just give it a pass, you know, lighthearted, relaxed, see how that changes things.
[00:05:01] Um, she thought about her cats and how they stretch in the mornings and if you study Peter Levine or somatic experiencing, isn't that pandiculation and that's the kind of movement and quality of mind, that people bring to movement. So we can take all of these ideas and roll them together. What this is really teaching me is the power of our mind and attention and focus.
[00:05:26] So for this move, with ease practice, with transitions this is, the practice. It starts with visualization. I want you to imagine getting up out of bed, getting up from the chair, and then we're going to see what thoughts arise, what sensations in your body arise.
[00:05:50] Your brain is probably going to offer you lots of thoughts about what's going to happen. Right. This is going to hurt lots of anticipatory pain, a little bit of fear. What are the meanings that we're making? This is good and useful because these are the thoughts that are in your brain that are turning on your alarm system.
[00:06:12] I call this a thought dump. So just like taking the real dump, all humans need to poop, right? To remove the metabolized waste from your body and your brain needs to poop, right? To remove the unhelpful thoughts in your brain, that are setting off your self protection alarm system. We have 60 to 80,000 thoughts a day, they're not all gems. They're not all true stories. We have plenty of evidence of seeing that we have thoughts that are telling us all kinds of things that aren't true. So we're going to practice observing our thoughts without fear without reactivity. I'm calling this a thought dump because when we let our brains poop, we're not in there investigating it. We just want to dump out the thoughts and beliefs. And a belief is just a repeated thought and then flush them down the toilet. You don't want to keep them. Now, what we might want to do is look at them so we can notice themes. You know, look at the poop, casually be like, oh, there's the corn that I ate for dinner last night, but you're not getting in there and being like, all the things I don't want to get stuck with the poop analogy.... You get what I'm saying?
[00:07:42] You want to look for themes, but we're not getting into it. So the themes might be fear around what the pain means. Fear what your body can't do. Thoughts about how you did this to yourself, thoughts comparing yourself about times before you were in pain or what you used to be able to do, or what you did last year, before COVID, although now that's even longer than last year, but what you did before, COVID all the types of physical activities, that you were doing and the caretaking things that you were doing that are not available to you now. These are all thoughts. Even words that a doctor said about you, about your weight, about your body, your ability, your age, those are all inputs into your nervous system. They're all things in your brain, and we want to be able to look at them and then flush them down the toilet.
[00:08:40] When we start to visualize the activity that we're feeling pain in, your brain is going to deliver you all of these messages. You're going to notice them right. Going to notice what these thoughts feel like in your body. Either you think them and you have a feeling. Or you try not to think them, which is avoidance, which also creates a sensation. So right now, what we're trying to do is to create this neutral observer. I call it the lazy detective, going to create the ability to notice and have awareness without reactivity and without judgment.
[00:09:24] And that's a practice. You may not be amazing at it the first time that you do it. That is okay. There's nothing wrong with that. Just learning. And this is the human experience. Our thoughts create our feelings. Our brain works on prediction. And it offers us the experience that we're expecting to have.
[00:09:47] So if we are afraid and we're anticipating lots of pain when we are getting up out of bed, we're going to feel lots of pain and anxiety getting up out of bed. This is the fear pain fear cycle in action. So we want to let ourselves feel the emotions of the thought and let that be okay. We don't have to push any feeling away. And maybe you'll cry and feel things about having that thought, and that's okay. Crying is how we take care of ourselves. Our eyes are designed for crying.
[00:10:27] So we want to break the cycle by offering our brain a new prediction that doesn't set off the alarm. That doesn't create the need for the self protection. So don't worry about why you have self critical thoughts. We all have them. There's nothing wrong with having them. But maybe these thoughts are not useful.
[00:10:50] So after the thought dump, imagine yourself getting up out of bed or getting up out of the chair and moving to your destination with ease. We want to pair this visualization with the three RS, a relaxed, replacement thought, repetition.
[00:11:10] So that's relaxed which is an important quality, right? You want to hang out below the alarm bells from our nervous system. Replacement thought. We're going to offer our mind new thoughts about what's happening in our body. And then repetition, which is just practice, which is just learning.
[00:11:30]When I did this practice to get out of the foot pain that I was having in the mornings, I chose the thought I moved with ease. I chose this because it felt true, except for in the morning when I was having pain. But I could tell that it was true at other times in the day. Other times in the day, I did feel like I moved with ease. So it was a thought that I could believe about myself. And then I wanted to extend this belief, to this time in the morning, because I knew there wasn't anything wrong with my body or with my feet.
[00:12:04] They didn't hurt all the time. And the pain changed throughout the day. The pain changed once I got moving. I had fear in the mornings that something was wrong with my body. I also realized I was telling myself I should be taking a walk and having resistance to it. So the foot pain was kind of like a handy distraction from this internal desire conflict.
[00:12:31] I both wanted to take a walk and I didn't want to take a walk and then my survival self kind of just doesn't like these internal arguments. So the pain made that whole question of how do I go out for a walk moot? Right? Pain took care of that. Oh, well I can't go out for a walk now. I'm having foot pain. b all pain is like that on the nose, but I am pretty good at these conversations with my body.
[00:13:04] So knowing that my pain was caused by my brain's interpretation of neutral nociceptive input. And remember, nociception is just our sensors noticing changes in pressure, temperature and chemicals. So our brain are assessing those changes for danger. So getting out of bed and putting my feet on the floor, it's a big change in pressure.
[00:13:36] When I'm laying in bed, there's nothing touching the bottom of my feet, right. When I put my feet on the floor, that's a change in pressure. And then if my brain is full of fear of what might happen, my brain is full of self critical thoughts, which are poking my internal threat sensors. My brain is evaluating for danger? Well, the danger meter is really, really high at this moment.
[00:14:04] Part of changing the neural pathway pain is to drop the danger meter. So we want to visualize the movement happening without pain. We want to tell ourselves a thought that we can practice and repeat with a sense of safety and relaxation and not force.
[00:14:25] So I picked, I move with ease. Here's some others. This is my mind trying to protect me. This movement is safe. My body is strong and capable. Pick a thought that you can believe about yourself in general. Even if in that moment you don't. But if other times of the day you feel strong and capable use that because it's true.
[00:14:54] Just because something is not a hundred percent true all of the time doesn't mean that that's not true. We are planting a truth seed here. We're watering it and tending it for our brain. We don't want to argue with ourselves. We want to create, the habit of self friendship and faith. There's a little bit of like belief that goes into this process.
[00:15:22] I want you to imagine the movement, think the thought and invite in a neutral or pleasant sensation along with it. So that can be a relaxed smile. That could be a comforting hand on your heart. You can distract yourself a little bit by putting your visual attention on a pet that you love. And smile and feel the love when you are looking at your pet or at a picture that you like or something that you think is beautiful or touch something that feels really good. Right? We're going to invite in a neutral or pleasant sensation to the experience. If you feel like that's something that would be helpful.
[00:16:12] And then you do the action. Get up out of bed. You stand up from the chair. And it's okay to be afraid. We're in the process of changing our neural pathways. It's okay if it doesn't work a hundred percent. Can you feel maybe 1% less pain, 5% less pain. Did you notice 1% more self friendliness or 5% more friendliness?
[00:16:41] We're looking for the changes. We're not looking for it to magically disappear, although that is also a possibility. That can happen, but we're looking for what's different here. So how we practice, with this sense of grace, with a sense of self friendship is what tunes our nervous system to the whole thing. So if the pain moves around, you say, aha! I see you brain. That is a great sign.
[00:17:14]Alan Gordon once told me this and I will never forget it. He once said that I was very high stakes. And that comment was not wrong at all. I was working very, very hard on changing a pain situation, and that comment oriented me to my internal conversation. That I was treating things like they were all or nothing. I was treating something like an emergency. And that was informing the conversation that I was having with my nervous system. So we want to lower the stakes. We want to get curious, get playful, see what happens. Be open to what happens. One of my clients just told me that their thought that they're practicing is "see what happens."
[00:18:00] Which is like a really new thought and a really new viewpoint for them to have. And that includes all of this self friendship, all of this cultivating curiosity and kindness and openness. Because we can't control everything. So we want to cultivate a way of being with ourselves, even when things are not a hundred percent, the way we want them.
[00:18:25]We're practicing a new skill and we're bound to get it wrong. We're bound to not be good at it. And we're bound to fail over and over again. We want to meet all of that with kindness. We want to notice the thoughts and feelings that arise when it works and the thoughts and feelings that arise when it doesn't work.
[00:18:47] So again, this move with ease transitions includes three elements. Visualizing the movement. The thought dump that comes, when we think about doing the activity, maybe it's like four, then we visualize again, and then we include the relaxed replacement thought repetition, and then we take the action. I hope any of this is helpful for you.
[00:19:16] Please let me know how it goes and let's be on our own sides as we are learning to change our pain experience.
[00:19:26] And if you want more information about working with me, you can always hop on a curiosity call and I share these things on Instagram. If you want to like, send me a post or a message about your experience, I really want to hear how this works for you. Thank you so much for listening. I'm really excited to be sharing these tips and techniques with you. Thank you so much. Bye.