You can only implement strategies that allow your brain to heal. Let me explain.
A Good Student
I am learning that being a “good student” of the DOCC project is not always the best course of action. I used to be very encouraged when a given patient would avidly read all of the books, take notes, and really learn the material presented in “Back in Control.” But I eventually noticed that some would become stalled and frustrated. If you think in terms of circuits and not psychology it makes sense.
Pain and anxiety pathways are permanent. You cannot change them. If you focus your efforts on understanding them so they can be fixed, forget about it. These pathways are now running the show in even a more powerful way. There is too much attention being focused on them. These pathways will become stronger and more complex. The DOCC project can become its own monster.
Awareness vs. Understanding
Since these pathways are permanent the only solution is to create new pathways around the old ones. Fortunately this is an effective process. The reprogramming process involves awareness, detachment, and reprogramming. Becoming aware of the circuits is much different than “understanding” them. All you must do after awareness is to detach and move on.
Another strategy often used to deal with disruptive circuits is to ignore them with positive thinking. You are still letting the circuits rule. Positive thinking is just another way of trying not to think about something and paradoxically the pathways will explode.
Positive Thinking vs. Positive Experiences
But my main point in writing this post is to clarify the difference between positive thinking and engaging in positive experiences. The goal of the DOCC project is to provide you with the strategies to connect with you who really are and shift your nervous into much more enjoyable place. It is important to reconnect with old friends, try new hobbies, develop family traditions, learn a spiritual practice, enjoy good food, etc. Any experience that moves your brain into a positive experience will be helpful. When a patient is overly consumed with learning the details of the DOCC project they are not moving into a more enjoyable place.
A frequent piece of advice I have been giving more often is, “Stop. Take a defined part of the day to advance your knowledge about pain but then drop it. Work on re-visiting the words ‘play’ and ‘fun’.” (BTW, fun and anger are not compatible concepts). As your brain reconnects with more enjoyable experiences your pain will quickly become less intense or disappear. Conceptually it is a much more powerful way to forge ahead.
Enjoy Your Day Today