Positive distractions and surrendering to what is

I almost didn’t write this blog today as I was feeling too sorry for myself. I’ve had a bad flare-up with my back recently and I’ve just about had enough of it! Yesterday I ran 12km, no problem. Then, I was stiff as a board all night and this morning and did my ‘ape to modern man’ walk to the bathroom, angry and thinking ‘why me’?

However, I realise the problem is that I haven’t let myself surrender to it yet. I need to accept it, relax, give myself some love, and not keep driving myself to do things. It’s one thing saying this to clients – it seems it’s another thing doing it for myself! It’s time to be my own best friend and just ‘let it go‘. Breathe, accept what is, and move forward in a mindful and loving way, ignoring my inner critic who is shouting at me for not being able to manage all the movements I could easily do a year ago.

The science is there in black and white. It honestly isn’t all ‘woo woo’. All pain comes from the brain. Here is an excellent explanation of why the brain continues to send pain signals, even after a prior injury has healed.

By the way, the ‘Curable’ app could be worthwhile investing in. It includes exercises on writing/journaling, meditation, education and brain training. Its founder and CEO, John Gribbin, fought lower back pain for fifteen years himself before overcoming it with this technique. 

Pain comes from the brain, and the brain can be retrained. If you are suffering from chronic pain (pain that has persisted for more than 12 weeks), have a look at this short, 5-minute video which gives you a good overview of why and what you can do to help yourself.

Back to me and my distraction! I may run and exercise almost daily but I still have a saggy bottom! So, I did a punishing 10-minute glutes workout on YouTube. Yes, I know it was only 10 minutes but it’s a killer when you have glutes that don’t ‘fire up’ like mine! Talking of ‘fire’ they were on fire by the end of it 😉 The idea was if I could feel fire in my glutes, I wouldn’t be able to feel any pain in my back! So far, it has been a pretty good distraction.

If you are suffering from chronic pain and need further support, please get in touch. You can email me at catherine@unbottlelife.com or find me on Facebook (Unbottle Life) or Instagram (@unbottlelife).

Until next time, a word from myself and Oprah……x

The problem with TMS..

..is that it can be a (bleep!!****) to shift! Here’s what got me thinking:

I just got back from a 12k run and now I’m scared to bend down and take my shoes off….what the hell?! I had to have a word with myself: “You have just comfortably run 12k on dirt tracks, grass and road. You can certainly bend down to take your shoes without experiencing pain”.

So, what did I do? I bent down in the most relaxed way I possibly could, (it still twinged a little) took off my shoes, then bent down 5 more times more confidently just to tell my brain it was OK! And it was.

I cannot possibly do justice to the work of physician and TMS rock star Dr John Sarno without quoting him directly. I hate to stumble over my words when there are important messages to share:

..psychological stress occurs from a negative perception of events. when we think we want some specific thing – but in our judgement – we got something else, or nothing at all, we become stressed.

Tension is the body’s physical response to that stress. Stress is perceived within the mind, and tension is real within the body. TMS is a real physical mindbody effect that begins as a perception within, and permeates the corporeal body as crippling pain, illness and fatigue (from the book ‘Dr John Sarno’s Top 10 Healing Discoveries’ by Steve Ozanich).

Dr. Sarno contended that you don’t always have to eliminate the tension to heal, but it certainly helps if you can. The idea in tension reduction is to change the perception of the need to fight or flee to one of surrendering, and the body will not react as strongly (from the same book).

We hold fear, anger, sorrow and resentment in our bodies to protect ourselves from the pain of really experiencing the full brunt of the pain those emotions cause us, and to maintain the persona – to show that, outwardly, everything is going well in our lives. The problem is that those feelings are held in the body as unpleasant physical sensations unless we deal with them. Many of these thoughts threaten our ego and we’re too concerned with how others perceive us, so we push those feelings downwards and inwards.

Most people see TMS as a weakness, but it isn’t. Strong, kind, generous, thoughtful and selfless people are classic TMS sufferers. They hide their emotions for the sake of others, constantly putting their own needs on the back burner. They don’t want to accept or recognise that these perpetual acts of pleasing others and not themselves is building resentment within them – “No, I’m not a mean and angry person! I’m perfectly happy to serve others……..my needs are unimportant…….it’s all fine”. The TMS protective mechanism acts as a ‘crutch that keeps the person walking, but crippled’ (Steve Ozanich).

Pain is the mind’s way of telling us we have unmet needs and unresolved emotions. Fear of facing these is the great motivator for the cycle to continue. Running from it feeds it, keeping it alive, allowing it to manifests in various physical and psychological forms.

The only thing that satisfies the hunger of fear is surrender – to who you are, to what already is, to Truth (Steve Ozanich).

This is my lesson to you, and to me. Love, accept and forgive yourself, and the rest will follow xx