Perceived "Set-Backs" and "Mind-Armies" Metaphor Posted on 23 Jan 17:34 , 0 comments
I am often asked by my medical centre patients
and users of my structured health audio programs why their symptoms sometimes return for a short while before going again. This can happen several times before we finish one-to-one sessions or the audio program is completed. The reason is a complicated one, but I explain the reasons to them in a simple way, which I have outlined below.
When people have lived with Stress or Anxiety, IBS or Insomnia etc. and are moving through their recovery, they are starting to feel better, and start to expect the good feelings to be there again all the time, then out of the blue the symptoms return and you think, “Oh No! The Anxiety or Stress or IBS or Insomnia etc. are coming back, and they feel even worse than they were in the past”. Fear grips them and the negative thoughts feelings and worries feel like they are pouring back in.
And yet this is natural, it happens to some people and not to others, either way it doesn’t really matter because we can understand the reasons why, when it does occurs. It is much more difficult to explain why it happens to some and not others, and to be honest the reasons are not fully understood (code for we don’t know!)
Anyway, as the individual progresses through the therapeutic journey whether it is with one-to-one sessions in my practice, or through listening to my structured audio recordings, on occasions it is likely that symptoms will come and go, But I will explain the best way I can.
It is perhaps easiest to understand if we use a metaphor.
Let's set the scene:
Imagine that the Anxiety or IBS or Stress or Insomnia symptoms that you have been experiencing, which have been a part of your life for so long, as a resident army of negative thoughts. This is what we need to change, or to wipe out.
Then imagine my one-to-one sessions, or any of my full audio recordings and their imagery, suggestions, considerations, options of choice and learning's as another army, an army of positive thoughts, that are going to displace the army of old negative thoughts.
The learned thought processes of the Anxiety, IBS, Stress or whatever other issue you are working through have become a part of you. The subconscious has learned them, and that is the place where they reside within you.
Background: Think of the subconscious as an over protective parent and not very intelligent. Generally it has learned a new thought process, and the new thought process is, in its understanding helping you. That belief is flawed and needs to be changed.
However, despite the fact that you try all sorts of things to reduce the negative thoughts and feelings you will invariably fail. Why?
There is resistance to change from the subconscious mind. Despite your conscious mind knowing change is needed, resistance is met, the fact you know once the symptoms are reduced, managed or even eliminated you will feel better, this too is met with resistance from the subconscious mind.
Remember you were not born anxious or stressed, they are a learned responses, as are so many other debilitating conditions. Those living with these types of feelings can often run negative thoughts in their minds relating to their anxiety / stress / IBS condition, sometimes even before they open their eyes in the morning. Thoughts such as
- what's the anxiety / stress going to be like today?,
- how am I going to get to work?,
- what happens if there are traffic queues?,
- what if I have a panic / anxiety / IBS attack?
- And many other thoughts beside.
These thoughts add to the fear, add to the worry, and add to the belief that you are going to spend the rest of your life thinking and feeling this way.
That too is false, as long as you find a way that is right for you and you work at taking the steps needed to start the process of healing and change.
The subconscious does not want change, because the anxiety feelings are familiar. They are part of the sufferer’s life. No matter how bad the feelings feel, no matter how often the symptoms are felt, or fears experienced, you have a history of surviving them, and you have and you will continue to do so. But your quality of life will not improve until you introduce change to your thinking.
Once you change a thoughts, these create a change in feelings, it is as simple as that. And that is what the one-to-one sessions do, and so to the structured audio recordings.
So while these negative feelings are uncomfortable, they are not life threatening, so why should the subconscious want to change?
The subconscious does not like change, and will resist it!! It will use excuse after excuse to 'do something else' with your time. That thought process needs to be disrupted, and that is what the sessions in my practice, and in my audio programs do.
Back to the Scenario again; After a while of listening to the recordings (and the time varies), the individual will often begin to feel better, in reduction of symptoms, and frequency of presentation, and feel more relaxed and less anxious in the case of the anxiety sufferer, the IBS sufferer will feel more control of their digestive system, or the person living with stress will feel calmer, more confident for example, or as happens sometimes, might not even be able to put their finger on the reason, but they do feel better in themselves generally.
This is a sign that the new thoughts, the new army of positive thoughts have begun to displace the old negative anxious thoughts. Once this happens - the new army of positive thoughts and new positive feelings begin to relax a little, they are making progress.
However! As any general in warfare knows, if they are being beaten, they do an organised retreat, and regroup, ready for another attack. When the old thoughts attack again, then the old feelings come back, and often feeling as if they are just as bad as before, however this is not true!
The fact that the old army of negative thoughts is pushing back is natural and normal. However, since the individual has been feeling better, they are more relaxed and therefore don’t put as much energy into defending their new found space and comfort. In short they get over confident!
But then the negative army of thoughts pushes back again, and they begin to feel how things used to be again, they are reminded of the old discomforts. In some people their negative feelings and symptoms return, but it is only temporary.
Alerted to the changes, the new positive thoughts fight back, these have been reinforced by the continuing support of the structured audio program listening and they once again push away the old army of negative thoughts, but the old thoughts are weakened now, they are once again fought, and pushed back.
Remember the subconscious really does not like change, and generally does not learn quickly. Once again the positive army of thoughts are encamped, their position is strengthened.
At this time the subconscious begins to understand that it can still survive with the new positive thoughts, it begins to feel better too, it begins to understand that the new positive thoughts and feelings are not going to hurt it or you, and because of that, the subconscious, through gentle learning realises that it too is feeling better, the body is feeling better, and the outlook and attitude of mind is better too. All these things come together to move the sufferer forward, reducing symptoms and frequency of presentation, reinforcing positive thoughts, feelings and expectations.
The army of negative thoughts will fight back again, however the strength of the old thoughts is much less, the times that the old thoughts try and come back become less frequent, and that continues until the old thoughts, feeling and negative expectations are a thing of the past. The subconscious finally learns that the new information and understanding gained through learning new ways of thinking is the better one.
The establishment of new positive thoughts change the way the individual feels, in body, mind and self. And then they once again feel empowered by their new learning and understanding, resulting in a better quality of life, which is really all we need.
Feeling better in your thoughts, feelings and emotions can bring empowerment, growth and further understanding, of the mind and body connection.