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A GUIDE FOR SELF HELP

FOCUSING ON THE EMOTIONS OF DAILY LIFE
A GUIDE FOR THEIR MAINTENANCE

Or
How to change without trying too hard
by
Ilan Shalif (Ph.D.)

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Back to the CONTENTS To do it yourself - now To the Daily Focusing To the recycled emotions To the Special projects To the Guide for the guide To the Emotions

What are the emotions The activation programs Ad hoc activation programs Supra-Programs The emotional Supra-Programs The cover-programs The trash-programs How it really works
to the Impossible missions???
You ask by e-mail I answer here.

CHAPTER 5 - VI. SPECIAL PROJECTS

(second section - for advanced focusers only)

It is hard to find even one person who is really totally satisfied with himself and has no wish to change his life or himself. Most people would fundamentally change themselves and their reality if only they had the chance. Many want to improve their relations with their spouse, mate, or partner. There are many who wish to disentangle themselves from unwanted and/or destructive emotional ties.

Many people have internal conflicts that prevent them from finding or committing themselves to a permanent work place, employment or spouse, art field or intellectual subject... Still more seem to lack the ability or the guts to change the situations they find themselves in, even though they are totally suffocated by them. Sometimes, months and years pass by and one realizes that one is still stuck.

Few people try in vain, all their lives, to change their life styles and personality characteristics in a radical way. All or nearly all people want change at various points in their lives. Many want to free themselves from a compulsion to behave in a certain pattern when receiving a specific cue. Many more want to rid themselves of the compulsion of always behaving in the same rigid style, like being an introvert or an extrovert.

Many would be happy to cease being forced from within to be always yea-sayers, considerate, pleasing or nice. A lot of people want to be able to say "no" or "yes" to others - according to their feelings at that moment - without paying an internal fine or suffering an instant penalty each time they do it. Many want to stop feeling chronically guilty, embarrassed, anxious, etc.

Instead of having chronically frustrated wishes and being used to straining mental resources in vain, the person well-trained in the general technique, can tackle each of the above "projects" with success. All that needs to be done is to combine the various steps and tactics mentioned in this manual to suit the specific task. Actually, the "projects" stage is applicable to each focuser who has a more specific purpose than "to get rid of unpleasant feelings".

For each focuser, we recommend that he start tackling these projects even as early as the second month of training - especially if he is in an intensive training-program with the supervision of a coach. The best way to choose these projects is according to the relative prominence of the subjective emotional problems at the time.

The practical aspect of being in a project is that each time one wants to dedicate effort to the advancement of one of them, one has to focus on more and other than the most prominent felt sensation of the spontaneous stream of feelings and sensations. One has to choose which of the sensations to focus on, what emotional content to recycle, and which behavioral steps to take, in order to force the relevant trash-programs to send sensations to the awareness.

For instance, when one has difficulty in entering into intimate relationships (or any relationship at all, in the more serious cases) with those of the opposite sex, one can focus one's way out of it. The best way is to start with a wide spectrum of recycled scenes. One can start by recycling all the feelings related to situations in which a relationship can begin. One can continue with the recycling of all the failures of the past. One can go on, after this, to all the real or imaginary reasons that may make the beginning of a relationship problematic. Afterwards, one can start the most important task, that of recycling and focusing on all that can go wrong at the first stage of a new relationship, and during its development into a permanent arrangement.

Generally, when the problem is a long-lasting one, and the assets of one's wit, charm, education, talent, economic resources, etc. are average or above, it takes about a year to solve. However, even in the most stubborn cases, the buds of change can be discerned after the first few weeks of intensive focusing.

The successful execution and completion of a project is not conditioned by the need for a well-built and strictly adhered to "one and only right program". The underlying fundamental character of the successful project, is the gradual accumulation of plenty of focusing episodes, the content of which is within the general direction of the aim of the project (things that are more or less associated with it).

Therefore, no project that has a realistic goal can fail, even if at the beginning, no improvement is discerned and the unwanted results of the trash-program continue to occur. Actually, each reasonable project will achieve its goal as soon as we dedicate enough time, effort and thought to it.

The projects differ from each other mainly with regard to the importance of the problem they are tackling; the proportional part of the daily trouble they are intending to solve; the motivation to complete them; the diligence required for the day-to-day focusing; and the enthusiasm the small daily improvements induce in the focuser. The decision to tackle a certain problematic area of one's life (emphasized by marking it as a project) could lead one to concentrate most of one's focusing on it.

However, it is recommended that every focuser who has a central project in progress, will dedicate in parallel a large portion of his recourses to other felt sensations, feelings and sensations that are not related to this project directly or to other less prominent projects. Projects always benefit the focuser but they are not always the best benefactors!!!

Beware of trash-programs of the cover-program type, that may use projects
in order to divert the direction of your focusing efforts away from
contents and trash-programs that are under their patronage.

The organization of a group of related problems into a project one intends to work on, contributes to the concentration of unused or ill-used mental resources (to be used by focusing) to better one's life. This way of organizing the sensate focus activity helps us to choose at each point (of time and place) the best target to focus on.

Even at the beginning of the focusing training, it is good to concentrate most of your efforts on a small number of targets. The concentration of effort and attention helps you to notice the first small good results. The discerning of the first small good results encourages one to invest more resources in the following focusing.... And so, the quality of life improves geometrically.

The contribution to motivation of the success of a challenge one took on oneself is a lot more than the contribution of the overcoming of a challenge that one stumbled on along the way. Thus, the same amount of effort and success contribute much more to the increased conviction of the utility of the general focusing technique. Consequently, the available resources increase as also the quantity dedicated to focusing.

Therefore, even if one is intellectually convinced of the value of the technique, the repeated experience of realizing the results of one's focusing efforts is still the most important contributing factor for motivating the continued daily focusing. Even experienced focusers are advised to manage their selection of felt sensations to work on in an actively and deliberate manner, and not to rely too much on the spontaneous felt sensations entering into the awareness.

Often, when you want to concentrate most of your focusing effort on a project, feelings and sensations that are not related to it intrude and interfere. In some instances, the intruders are the agents of cover-programs that are trying to divert your attention from the trash-programs you are focusing on. In other instances, the intruders are notices of trash-programs that are marginal to your project. Few of the intruders are the result of trash-programs that are connected with the main target by a free association of the moment.

Whenever you do not like the intruders, try to ignore them and adhere to those related to the project. Often, you can simply adhere to the relevant sensations and ignore the others. At other times, things are more difficult: you have to do something in order to remove the intruders. The best way to get rid of them is through flooding the touch sense by rubbing the palms of the hands together. Sometimes you can also get rid of the intruders by opening the nape of the neck or by using any other recycling technique. When all else fails you do as the Romans say: "if you cannot beat them, join them" - the temporary divergence would not do you any real damage.

If one is too lax with oneself and is content with the focusing on the most prominent daily feelings, after a few weeks of effort, the quick gains derived from the first steps of focusing are no more a daily phenomenon. The law of diminishing returns applies here and the motivation to focus on sensations lapses. Because of this and because the procedures of the general sensate focusing technique are so different from the common life style of our culture, a great deal of comfort and benefit may be gained from the systematic work on a project, and more so on one which successfully progresses from stage to stage.

VII. Impossible missions???

The following targets, and the steps to be taken in order to achieve them, are intended for advanced focusers only. The missions contained in this chapter are written sequentially, not because they are to be worked accordingly or in any other order. The subjects of this chapter - if they are relevant to you and you are motivated to tackle them - can be worked on in parallel. All of them (or their implications) are very significant and their relationship to specific aspects of the quality of life are clear.

A different aspect of the following missions is their being like general maintenance activity, as it is hard to show a specific aspect of our life to which they are not contributing. Some of the missions are divided into specific consecutive steps, and you are advised to preserve their sequence.

It appears that a good return for the efforts made will fall only to those that are well versed in the six steps of the beginner - first stage of this chapter. It might happen that focusers who have not trained themselves with the various steps and tactics of sections II and section III of this chapter (that deal with daily focusing) will find themselves tackling impossible missions, and thus, be highly disappointed at the lack of expected results. They may even encounter bad experiences and unpleasant feelings that will be very hard to deal with. So be warned!!!

1) Steps to be taken against psychosomatic disturbances

There are many disturbances in the smooth functioning of the body, that are called "Psychosomatic". These disturbances - like Asthma, Hemorrhoids, Eczema, Migraine, etc. and their "eruptions" or "attacks" - were found to be the result of the combined contribution of psychological factors ("stressors") as well as being physiologically based.

The physiological base can be acquired or innate, and may need a chemical or mechanical trigger to set it off. The relative contribution of the psychological factor, as well as that of the physiological factor, varies from person to person and from one attack to another.

As the psychosomatic attacks generally do not contribute to the well-being of that particular person, it is obvious that their psychological components are trash-programs of one kind or another, (mostly inefficient emotional supra-programs). Having the appropriate physiological and the psychological base, the attacks may be activated by trash-programs - with or without any discernible contribution of chemical or physical agents. It seems that in the overwhelming majority of cases, the leading factors are the psychological ones, especially the trashy emotional supra-programs.

An important point to emphasize on is that the following suggestions are not intended to be an alternative method for any medical, psychological or other treatment the reader has had in the past, may have now, or may be intending to receive in the future. The suggestions we offer here, and those we offer in other parts of this book, are intended to supplement the other measures you have already taken.

In this section we offer procedures that use the natural biofeedback processes in order to decrease or even temporarily (short or long periods) to stop the psychosomatic events. This can happen if one succeeds in stopping the trash-programs from contributing their share to the creation of the psychosomatic processes (symptoms and attacks included). These procedures are meant to supplement the focusing on natural biofeedback received from any other steps you may be taking, in order to improve the quality of your life, and are not intended to supplant them.

By changing the psychological factors, one can lighten or alleviate the deleterious and unpleasant aspects and effects of the psychosomatic attack, even at the peak of its intensity. Though ongoing psychosomatic processes respond to focusing gradually, they do fade faster than expected. Thus, during the focusing training attacks and other eruptions tend to become milder, they become less and less frequent, and after a few months of focusing, they practically disappear for months or years.

Though we still do not know exactly how the sensate focusing contributes to the cessation of psychosomatic processes, it seems that the weakening or disappearance of the unpleasant sensations of the psychosomatic processes gives the physiological component a lethal blow. It seems that asthma without the choking suffocation, and hemorrhoids without pain, are like Migraine without a headache, Eczema that does not itch or a car without an engine.

During my focusing and that of my trainees, we found that it is possible to stop, to weaken or to at least bring significant alleviation to the following psychosomatic phenomena:
  • Strong and long frequent headaches of suspected Migraine;
  • Recurrent and sporadic headaches of indeterminable origin, of varying
  • duration and intensities;
  • Pains and pressures of diagnosed Sinusitis;
  • Chronic and acute allergy of the nose (including its passages and
  • sinuses);
  • Repeated burning sensation and pressure in the upper chest (including
  • "Globous Hystericus") and other "projections" of pains originating in the heart;
  • Choking attacks of asthmatic origin;
  • Pain of hemorrhoids;
  • Chronic constrictions of muscles - those that distort the facial
  • expressions or "freeze" them as well as those that take place in other parts of the body;
  • Various feelings and sensations of burning related to ulcers or "pre-ulcers"
  • Various unpleasant sensations of the lower abdomen related to the menstrual cycle;
  • Many other unpleasant physical sensations of undiagnosed origins.

There is no reason why this technique should not help with other psychosomatic processes that are not included in the list.

The actual struggle with the disturbances mentioned above comprises several steps:
First:
you have to acquaint yourself intimately with the introductory sensations that come before the full onset of the unwanted psychosomatic process - sometimes called "aura".

Second:
experiment with repeated focusing on various intensities of the unpleasant sensations.

Third:
acquire the habit of focusing intensively on the relevant sensations and feelings involved, starting with the introductory stage and on, until the end of the process - when the sensations become subliminal and impossible to discern.

Fourth:
Between eruptions of the psychosomatic process, focus frequently on the location where it takes place: on the various felt sensations, on the faint ones barely discernible, and on the subliminal ones that are always there.

Fifth:
Continue with a relatively intensive focusing on the location of the psychosomatic process and its vicinity, even after the "attacks" become infrequent, particularly on the first few months after they cease to occur. In this step it is most important to focus on any sensation that is even barely suspected of being related to the target processes.
It is important to remember that the psychosomatic disturbances are the results of the integrated activity of many activation programs, and that each of these programs has a large number of variations. Therefore, it is most common, that in the first few focusings you can achieve only slight relief or alleviation of the symptoms. Sometimes even that might be hard to discern, especially if the attacks are strong and you still use medical drugs to soften them.

The advanced fading of the symptoms, or even a significant decrease in them, needs many weeks of repeated focusing on them. It appears that the complete fading of the disturbance and its symptoms can be attained, but only for or at a price: you can attain success only after the rehabilitation of the main psychological factors involved has taken place. You can attain this only by means of an intensive training with the sensate focusing technique, adding to it a special attention to all the trash-programs involved with your special affliction.

2) Increasing the pleasure derived from smoking and curbing the habit

Many of the intended readers of this booklet are used to smoking nicotine mixed with various ingredients and burning materials. A significant number of smokers are not satisfied with the amount of the material smoked, the frequency of the smoking occasions and/or the sensations derived from it.

Frequently, smoking is an automatic behavior - a reaction to unaware internal or external cues. Some smokers think from time to time about trying to abolish the habit, but various activation programs prevent them from even taking that decision.

Other smokers have already reached a decision and want to decrease the amount smoked or to stop it altogether, but find that it is extremely difficult to do so - due to the trash-programs involved - and therefore cannot adhere to any of their decisions. They cannot do it at all or they regress to the old habit after a relatively short period of success. In both situations, the inability to reach a conclusive decision, or the inability to adhere to it, makes them the same as any other addict (of drugs, alcohol, etc.), who wants to stop but cannot.

I stopped smoking "cold turkey" 8 years ago while in an intensive care unit (because of a false alarm), but as a veteran of 28 years of numerous failed attempts to rid myself of the habit, I still remember what it was like. I still remember the difference between one failure to abstain from smoking and another, and how each cigarette (or pipe smoked) is a unique experience.

However, it is still possible to classify the smoking experiences into a few categories:
1.
"The real one" - the first one you smoke at the beginning of your smoking day (usually first thing after getting up), or each time you feel a strong need or an intense urge to smoke.

2.
"The boredom cigarette" - the one usually smoked when there is little with which to employ the brain. It is usually smoked when you are "killing time" - killing the felt sensation of boredom, or waiting without anything else to do.

3.
The "substitute cigarette" - the one you light up when you are hungry or in pain or experiencing any other feeling you want to change on the spot. (It functions almost the same as a regular "cover-program".)

4.
The "stimulating" cigarette - the one you smoke when you need more attentional power. You smoke it when you are not fully awake, and whenever you need to recruit resources to enhance your concentration, to sharpen your vigilance or to keep from falling asleep on duty.

5.
The smoking for pleasure - the cigarette one usually smokes after a satisfying meal or other pleasures of the body to achieve a deeper satisfaction or to complete the pleasant feeling. It is really used to curb the effect of various trash-programs which are trying to destroy the good emotional climate of the moment.

6.
"The automatic cigarette" - the ones you smoke without applying will power or deriving pleasure. Those are the ones you do not really want to smoke, the ones you are not really aware of and the ones you generally do not remember smoking. It is not you who really smoked them!!!. It is the pure act of your trash-programs, which serve processes not shared with the awareness.

7.
"The social cigarette" - the ones offered to you and the ones you smoke from your own packet when people around you smoke. This situation as well as many others activate in you kind of social trash-programs, which initiate imitation behavior.
Actually, plenty of trash-programs are involved in the smoking behavior. When one wants to quit smoking or only to introduce a radical change in it, one has to deal with all of them. However, when one only wants to change the smoking pattern a bit, it is much easier. The mission of the person who needs to refrain from smoking in a few places or at certain periods of time or to restrict the number smoked, is an intermediate one. The focusing related to smoking is more efficient if done according to the following steps:

The first step - preliminaries

Decide for yourself what you really want to achieve: cessation of smoking or only a better control on the habit. Heavy smokers have to take into consideration that restricting the daily consumption to half a packet takes about a month. It takes about three months of arduous training to overcome the addiction completely. (For experienced focusers it may take only a few weeks.)

The second step - getting acquainted with the habit

As in the first step at the beginning of sensate focus training, you are invited on a tour to acquaint yourself with the whole variety of felt sensations and other body sensations related to smoking. The most appropriate time for this tour is the half minute preceding the actual lighting of each cigarette. During those seconds write on the packet the time each cigarette was lit (or mark on the form*), and pay attention to the felt sensation of the moment.
__________________
*
A standard form to mark the time each cigarette is smoked, and short instructions for this, are to be found in the supplement 1: at the end of this section. One can use it in the fight against other habits too.
------------------
During this period, try from time to time (in the few seconds immediately before lighting the cigarette) to locate the exact place you feel the sensations and feelings related to the urge to smoke, or the feelings of expectancy for the inhaled smoke.

The most recommended places to focus on are the pharynx and larynx, the throat and especially the vocal cords. The sensations and feelings located in the lips and fingers are not so important but are worth focusing on - in order to become acquainted with them - as they are often the source of the first signals to the awareness that it is time to light a cigarette.

At the end of this step you are supposed to reach the point where you mark the time of each cigarette smoked - whether before lighting it or afterwards - with no more than one or two misses a day. Though it may sometimes help, you are not supposed to focus on each one of them. At this stage it is recommended to focus on about 50% of the cigarettes. In this step (and even afterwards), it is not mandatory that you adhere strictly to the 30 second period of focusing before lighting a cigarette.

The third step - the beginning of the real struggle

In the second, step you started reconnaissance activities and a guerrilla warfare against your smoking. This third step starts the real fight. So, do not start it before you have reached the target of the previous step. At the beginning of this step, the preliminary focusing before lighting a cigarette is supposed to take the whole 30 seconds - mainly dedicated to the vicinity of the vocal cords.

After focusing for about half a minute on the sensations and feelings that precede the smoking of the cigarette, light it and pay concentrated attention to the first and second inhalations of smoke. It is a good tactic to try to discern the minute variations occurring in various sensations related to smoking - during the waiting period, the inhalations of smoke from a cigarette, the short period after each inhalation and that after finishing the cigarette. It is also worth comparing those of different cigarettes.

Those who wish to use the sensate focusing technique in order to stop smoking, are advised to hold the cigarettes smoked, from now on, in the opposite hand to that usually used. Breaking this aspect of the smoking habit is the easiest. It brings quick results, it makes the cessation of smoking easier, and it decreases its "mission impossible aspect". Undermining this part of the trash-programs responsible for the smoking habit can be a most suitable prelude to changing all the other trash-programs involved.

Whether you are using the focusing technique in order to rid yourself of the whole habit, or only intending to use it to restrict the amount of cigarettes smoked, do not refrain from smoking the cigarette you have focused on. Even if the urge has faded, do not refrain from taking in the first few inhalations.

A premature victory on a few cigarettes, before the habit of focusing on the urge to smoke is solidified, may hinder the weaning-off process. If you refrain from smoking cigarettes too early, you may find that each time it becomes harder and harder to focus on the wish to smoke.

However, if the focusing "killed" the urge to smoke a certain cigarette completely, you are not to be punished by a forced smoke, a few token puffs of the cigarette will neutralize the trash-programs involved. Afterwards, you can extinguish it without being afraid that it will hinder the focusing habit you are in the process of building.

After a week or two, or even more if needed, when the addition of the prolonged focusing after marking down the time has been consolidated (applied routinely to 90% of the cigarettes or more), it is time for the real assault on the smoking habit.

The fourth step - the real struggle itself

The target of this step is to start breaking the habit of casually yielding to the smoking urge. It is mainly intended for those who really want to restrict the amount of cigarettes smoked or even get rid of the whole habit. It is better to refrain from starting before the criterion of 90% of the previous step has been consolidated.

The novelty of this step is the lengthening of the waiting period between the emergence of the urge to smoke a cigarette and the lighting up. The mission is to delay lighting the cigarette till the minutes indicated on your watch are multiplications of five. At this stage, the most important part is the focusing on the felt sensations emerging during the waiting period (averaging two and a half minutes), whether they are related to the urge to smoke or not.

You will know that you have already graduated from this step, when you have succeeded a few days in a row, in restricting the lighting of 90% of the cigarettes till the legitimate time arrives.

The fifth step - the branching of restrictors and abolitionists

In this step, the schedule splits into two patterns - a special one for those who are on the weaning-off program, and another for those who only want to restrict smoking.

For the restrictors: If you have already reached in the previous step a stable amount of cigarettes smoked you feel content with, you can start to gradually lift the restriction against smoking whenever you want, and the need to mark down the time of the cigarettes.

However, in order to keep from regressing to the starting point, continue to pay attention to the daily amount smoked, and each time you remember and can spare a minute, pay attention to the beginning of the cigarette smoked. It is also a good policy to defer the lighting of a few cigarettes a week, in order to keep the habit in shape against a time when you might slip back to smoking a larger number of cigarettes.

If this happens, the renewal of the waiting periods in combination with the dedication of attention efforts to the sensations during them, will bring you back to your goal. If you have not reached your goal during the previous step, join those who strive to stop smoking completely for as long as needed.

For the abolitionists: After about a month of gradually intensifying the struggle against the habit of smoking impulsively, now is the time for the long and decisive step. The following are two sub steps for harnessing the habit before stopping it altogether.

1)
Put the target of the third step higher and try to delay the lighting of each cigarette to the times when the minutes are multiplications of ten. When the 90% goal is reached and consolidated, continue to the following sub step.

2)
Gradually, in small increments, push the target higher and higher - each time the previous goal is achieved. At first, wait with each cigarette till the minutes are multiplications of fifteen, then twenty, and then thirty. Afterwards wait with each cigarette three quarters of an hour then try to restrict the smoking to full hours only.
In both sub steps, whenever you fail to adhere to the restriction with one cigarette try to compensate on the following one. If a temporary regression occurs, just go back for a while to the previous target before pushing it up again.

The sixth step - the decisive struggle

After succeeding for a whole week in refraining from smoking outside the hour limit, start an assault on the addiction from all directions:
a)
Start to delay the lighting of the first cigarette smoked at the beginning of a new day.

b)
Find the time of the day in which the urge to smoke is milder and increase the waiting time there.

c)
Try gradually to cut the number of cigarettes smoked by eliminating the one easiest to drop.

d)
In addition to focusing on the other felt sensations, do it also on those of all the inhalations of smoke from each cigarette.

e)
Don't feel obliged to utilize the smoke of each cigarette to the utmost. Let the UN-smoked stubs of the cigarettes lengthen.
When the number of smoked cigarettes declines to five a day or less, for a whole week, it is time to enter the final stage.

The seventh step - the final assault

At the beginning of this step, take an interval of at least two hours between cigarettes. Then start to delay the lighting of each cigarette smoked to the maximum of your endurance - till you succeed in stopping altogether. In the course of this step, it is most important to focus on each fleeting urge to smoke and on each superficial felt sensation even remotely related to the smoking habit - both before the lighting up and between smokes. At this stage it is also important to focus on all the sensations available in circumstances which in the past, were cues for smoking. This step continues till you stop smoking for a few days in a row.

Regular maintenance

After about three months of arduous struggle with the smoking habit it is time for implementing the maintenance of the new habits of a non-smoker. It is worth being on guard for a few months at least especially if you spend time in the vicinity of smokers. The urge to smoke may emerge in the first period of abstinence quite often. Even many months and years later, it may emerge from time to time. It is better not to yield to it as the old trash-programs of the smoking habit are just lying dormant. Even one cigarette may cause the revival of the old habit.

If a regression occurs, don't panic. Even if one returns briefly or for a longer period to the habit of smoking, a short course through the seven steps can abolish it relatively quickly and easily.

Vicarious focusing on smoking

During the development and examination of the General Sensate Focusing Technique, many smokers focused on sensations and feelings related to smoking as part of the wide pool of sensations to be focused on. Most of them kept on smoking without intending to give it up or even reduce the number of cigarettes smoked. They focused on these sensations and feelings "just in order to catch trash-programs" that use smoking as a behavioral cover-program ("defense").

Actually, nearly each cigarette smoked is a kind of a cover-program. It is used as a means of preventing the subjective experience components included in an emotional or other supra-program, from entering the awareness or to weaken and remove it after entering there.

Following now are the main results of the systematic focusing on the subjective experience of smoking for those in training in the new technique:
a)
The focusing enhances the pleasure derived from each cigarette one focuses on.

b)
It decreases the daily amount of cigarettes smoked even if this is not intended.

c)
When there are environmental obstacles (mostly when social pressure or laws forbid it) the focusing helps to delay the smoking of a cigarette.

d)
It helps those who have decided to stop smoking "cold turkey" to pass the first few days, which are the hardest.
(These observations contributed to the idea that a suitable focusing schedule can enable one to undermine the habit of smoking. This was found to be true by a few of my trainees, who used it successfully to rid themselves of this habit.)

SUPPLEMENT 1:

A form for marking the time of cigarettes lighted, or other bad habits

The bold print numbers are for the hours, the others are for the minutes. Print and/or photocopy this supplement and cut a square for each day. On each occasion of lighting a cigarette, mark the approximate time.

_ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055 01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055
02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055 02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055
03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055 03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055
04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055 04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055
05 510152025303540455055 17 510152025303540455055 05 510152025303540455055 17 510152025303540455055
06 510152025303540455055 18 510152025303540455055 06 510152025303540455055 18 510152025303540455055
07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055 07 510152025303540455055 19 510152025303540455055
08 510152025303540455055 20 510152025303540455055 08 510152025303540455055 20 510152025303540455055
09 510152025303540455055 21 510152025303540455055 09 510152025303540455055 21 510152025303540455055
10 510152025303540455055 22 510152025303540455055 10 510152025303540455055 22 510152025303540455055
11 510152025303540455055 23 510152025303540455055 11 510152025303540455055 23 510152025303540455055
12 510152025303540455055 24 510152025303540455055 12 510152025303540455055 24 510152025303540455055

_ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Day________ Date:_______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055 01 510152025303540455055 13 510152025303540455055
02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055 02 510152025303540455055 14 510152025303540455055
03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055 03 510152025303540455055 15 510152025303540455055
04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055 04 510152025303540455055 16 510152025303540455055
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3) Regulating the sexual functioning and reducing disturbances in it

The trash-programs involved with sexual behavior react positively and relatively quickly to focusing on the sensations and feelings related to erotic activity. The focusing on these sensations is the core of an ingenious approach to sexual therapy developed by Masters and Johnson. They were the ones who introduced the concept of "Sensate-Focus" for a wider use. Readers who are interested in this area are advised to read their books about their technique.

The application of sensate focusing to erotic feelings and behavior stresses another aspect of the new technique: contrary to what appears to be the superficial impression, the technique is not a tool for achieving a quick relief*. It is not only a treatment for stopping unpleasant emotions, feelings or sensations, and the activation programs that create them but also a means to increase pleasant ones and improve the supra-programs that create them.
___________________
*
Usually, when the targets of focusing are in the range of neutral to mildly unpleasant, the immediate aim of the focuser is to sustain them as long as possible in order to derive the greatest benefit possible. Many times the focuser even initiates the unpleasant felt sensations in order to work on a specific topic.
------------------
In the erotic field, as well as in other aspects of our life, the immediate aim of focusing is to improve the use of the natural biofeedback as a means for the updating and ameliorating of the emotional supra-programs involved.

4) "Cultivating the voice" and the reduction of tension

During the development and examination of the general sensate focusing technique, a strong connection was detected between the reduction of the "trashiness" of the emotional supra-programs contributing to the general (free floating) tension, and the quality of the voice i. e. its deepening and softening. The factor most contributing to that was the repeated focusing on the tension of the facial muscles and the vocal cords. Observations also revealed a strong tie between the above and the enhancement of the natural biofeedback embedded in the quality of one's voice, occurring when trainees paid attention to it.

Very often, especially when the novice focuser is initially under a lot of pressure, the focusing effects on the qualities of the voice are already discernible during the first few weeks of training. Many times, the "chronic" deepening and softening of the voice is already consolidated after the first few weeks of focusing.

The focusing on the general tension of oneself brings about very fast and impressive changes in the quality of one's voice. Actually, the changes in the qualities of the voice are a kind of "side effect" of the decline in the general tension of the individual.

Often, when a proficient focuser detects the signs of tension in his voice, he can "drive away" part of the trash-programs involved, by merely focusing on their vocal expression. It was found that the natural biofeedback derived from listening to one's voice whiles peaking or singing, has an immediate effect on the quality of the voice.

The effect is usually so dramatic and swift that it is discernible even when one is in the middle of the a sentence. Likewise, the focusing on other sensations and feelings during conversation, unintentionally and indirectly influences the quality of the voice so much that one becomes aware of it as it happens. It seems that any shift in the felt sensations brings about a corresponding observable change in the quality of the voice.

Actually, the quality of the voice is mainly an external communication of the subjective emotional climate and a kind of side effect to the internal processes that load it. It seems that the best way to influence the quality of your voice is by introducing suitable changes in your emotional climate, whether momentarily or for extended period. A few of the trainees who are professional and semiprofessional singers were amazed to learn that so easily a new quality was added to their voice - enlargement of the range, enrichment of the "color", and improved control of all the parameters of the voice.

5) Controlling the body weight

A considerable percentage of people who live in countries where hunger is rare, suffer from overweight. Our basic genetic trend towards accumulation of fatty reserves is enhanced by a wide spectrum of internal signals, mostly of stress and distress. Some of the signals are related to natural processes like under-weight, pregnancy, aging and mourning, but most are the outcome of trash-programs. The most obvious example is a kind of obesity resulting from the activity of trash-programs related to depression, which is its known as "masked depression obesity".

As a result of various trash-programs, the pleasure derived from eating and satiety, especially if tasty food is involved, causes in so many of us the development of an addiction to overeating. Many other trash-programs and especially the cover-programs, include the behavioral component of eating that function as a "natural" means to achieve a "shift" in an unwanted felt sensation. These programs use the experience of eating, and its physiological results, to change the unwanted emotions, moods, feelings or sensations of the moment.

The outmoded-type trash-programs regulating the food intake are another reason for the accumulation of fats. Frequently we develop the appropriate habit of eating large quantities of food: during the intensive growth of the teenage years, during prolonged periods of intense physical effort, etc. When the conditions change, we are usually left with habits that need to be changed, but are often too rigid to adapt automatically to the new conditions.

The majority of people with overweight problems, and many whose problems are elsewhere, are not satisfied with their body weight. Sometimes, because of the weight itself or health considerations, sometimes for esthetic reasons and sometimes because of various trash-programs.

Innate programs that are responsible for two of the most important aspects of our eating behavior, can help us in the nearly "impossible mission" of weight control (and reduction if really needed).

The first group of programs are those which announce, through the use of hunger pangs, that it is time to eat. The second group consists of those which announce through the use of satiation signals, that enough has been eaten.

Frequently, the focusing on these and the other feelings and sensations involved with our eating behavior frees the innate programs from the deleterious influences of trash-programs. For those who are lucky, this step, by itself, brings about a significant reduction in weight.

For all the others, at the beginning of focusing for the reduction of weight, the training only helps to discern between a real hunger and an urge which does not take into consideration the internal signals of satiety. Later, when other measures are added, combined with strong will-power and the investment of a lot of effort, a more substantial result may occur.

Part of the success is dependant on the focusing on the available sensations related to eating behavior. Another part, the harder one, is dependant on the application of a lot of effort in recycling these emotions, feelings, moods, sensations, etc., that are related to the trash-programs involved, but are usually outside of the awareness. The application of the sensate focus technique to the reduction of the weight involves a small investment of money and a number of steps that - how sad - cannot be redeemed by money.

First step
In the beginning, arrange things so you have good scales available for weighing yourself freely, whenever you feel like it. Then, as a preliminary act:

weigh yourself each day and a few times a day, for about a week.

This repeated weighing will acquaint you with your body weight and the changes occurring in it during daily and weekly cycles. It will enable you to find your minimal and maximal weight for the day. It will also provide you with a somewhat delayed feedback about the amount eaten each time. Though this feedback alone is usually not enough, it is essential for the process of adaptation and accommodation of the trash-programs involved and for enlisting the will-power. If you have not done it before:

decide at the end of this step the body weight you want to reach.

Second step

After you have got to know the daily variation of your body weight and decided on your target weight, it is now time for the systematic focusing on the problem. Pay attention to the sensations occurring in your body during the last few minutes before you start to eat, pay attention to the tastes in your mouth and to the scents you smell too.

Train yourself to sense and identify all of them even when they are very weak. Get into the habit of focusing on them for prolonged periods each time they occur. Pay special attention to changes that occur in the sensations, as the urge to eat begins to ebb while you focus on them. (Unlike the focusing on smoking, when the urge to eat ceases, even the first few times, you are not supposed to eat.)

Third step

In addition to focusing on the preliminary sensations of the previous step, start to pay a lot of attention to the sensations related to eating that occur during the meals: attend to those of smell, taste, touch, and the physical resistance of the food materials to chewing. Pay attention to those of the softening of the food, while mixing with the saliva and the combined excitation of the various receptors dispersed in the mouth. Pay special attention to the pleasant feelings of swallowing and the downward movement of the food through the Oesophagus. Pay also special attention to the sensations of the stomach as it gradually begins to fill.

Usually, the above feelings and sensations are messages sent to the ad hoc activation programs that regulate the amount of food intake each meal. When the amount of attention allocated to them is too small, the amount of food devoured tends to increase over and above the needs of the body. When too much attention is focused on them, the intake of food tends to drop, even to a lower level than the one needed to keep the body weight from decreasing.

Execute the second and the third steps for a week or two before
advancing to the other steps. During these steps,
keep measuring your body weight after the
daily emptying, and if possible
after meals too.

As it is with smoking, so it is with eating, the mere focusing on the appetite, the hunger and the eating, increases the pleasure derived from the food and decreases the amount consumed. The first signs of the slight decrease in the body weight, resulting from the above two steps are an external feedback. However, this is an important addition to the natural biofeedback inputted to the trash-programs, and it too, contributes to their improvement. (Just as the decrease in the speed with which the package of cigarettes is emptied during the focusing on smoking contributes to that project.)

After the habit (the group of activation programs) of focusing on the eating processes is settled - during the first week or two - you can start using them in order to achieve a more substantial decrease in the body weight.

Fourth step

In parallel to the two previous steps, as an addition to them, decrease or even stop the intake of tasty items that are filled with calories. Sometimes overcoming the tendency to consume foods with plenty of calories can be quickened if you swap or eliminate the most nourishing ingredient from a meal or a beverage. For instance, add milk to the coffee, instead of cream or sugar.

This step can be of short or long duration: according to the level of proficiency you acquired with the six steps of focusing for the beginners
according to the effort invested in the previous two steps; and, especially, according to the importance of the project to you.

Pay close attention to the changes in your body weight. When you see
the beginnings of the loss of body weight (or at least its
stabilization) it is time for the next step.


Fifth step
Decide on a certain amount of calories in your daily and weekly food consumption. This amount is supposed to be about 5% below the intake needed for the activity you are used to, and for maintaining the regular processes of your body. Be sure that you have a balanced diet that is not too different from the one you are used to. Strive to achieve a diet that is tasty, easy to prepare, and satisfying (as much as possible). The bulkier the food and the more chewing work needed, the better. (Get the help of a professional dietician if available when needed.)

It is recommended that you shift or concentrate most of the instances of your food intake so that they happen during your relatively free time. Thus you will be able to dedicate more attention on the focusing (as mentioned in the previous steps).

It is not a good tactic to concentrate all or most of the food eaten at a fixed time schedule, fixed content or fixed meals.

If you do this, you diminish the effect of the focusing on the hunger pangs, on the mending and updating of the trash-programs which are involved with overeating. From the same point of view it is not a good tactic to have a strict composition of ingredients. With a laxer regime you can always exploit opportunities, leave something unconsumed or swap it for something lower in calories.

It is most recommended to include in the daily diet components that are suitable for an emergency, like fruit or crumbs of the crust of black bread. It is good to have them on hand when "dreams about the poor" send you to the kitchen at night.

Continue with this step till it becomes a habit,
before starting the next one.

If and how much you succeed during this step, depends on the effort you have made while training for the first six steps of the beginners, and how much effort you have dedicated to integrating them with previous steps of this mission.

Sixth step

Once you have observed that most of the time the focusing has enabled you to succeed in restraining your overeating sprees, and you see that your new eating habits are already consolidated, it is time to enter the decisive step. In this step, you start exploiting every opportunity to change the ingredients of your menu to other equivalents that have less calories. At this stage, whenever you feel the craving to supplement your menu with high calory ingredients, eruptions of appetite, or the urge to snatch something to eat between meals, try to focus on them until you have killed these desires (or until you have lost).

Remember!!! as in war, the winning of each battle and the success of each implementation of a tactic is not so important. What really is important, is the final success of the strategy and the victory at the end. Therefore, if you have over eaten during a meal or a day, you can always even out your caloric intake the following meal or lengthen the duration of the project.

If you find that the decrease in your body weight is too quick or that you are nearing your target, relax your effort a bit. It is time to start building new eating habits (updating the activation supra-programs involved) for the permanent daily maintenance of your body. When you reach your target weight, it is advised to know already how you are to continue, lest you regress to your previous eating habits and weight.

The importance of a close inspection and control of the tempo of the changes induced by focusing is common to all projects. Matching the effort invested to the result achieved, in order to get the optimal tempo, contributes to the efficient expenditure of effort and will power. The need to economize is common to all focusing projects you involve yourself with. Sometimes it is a precondition to success. In addition to the economization of effort invested, this kind of management can reduce the danger of leaping from one extreme to the other or from one unwanted emotional climate to another. (Anorexia Nervosa or even a "simple" emaciation are no better than obesity.)

VIII. Concluding remarks

This is a temporary end to the guide for self-training in the use of the general sensate focus technique. For some of the readers this is a guide for a shortened trip or a journey to a better life. To other readers, the failure to apply this technique successfully will be more proof that they are helpless against the world and the troubles of life. For some this book will enlarge their horizons, or be a reason to criticize the author for the sloppy work he has done or for the unfulfilled promises.

The one who, in spite of his disappointment, is still left with cautious optimism, and thinks that the problems encountered are due to a lack of clarity - is invited to get in touch with the author. Blessed be the reader who directs my attention to additional material, explanations and directives needed for this guide.

Specific (and general) suggestions, questions, and other positive (or negative) feedback of readers and of new trainers are welcome. Just use the E-Mail link.

To do it yourself - now To the Daily Focusing To the recycled emotions To the Special projects To the Guide for the guide To the Emotions

What are the emotions The activation programs Ad hoc activation programs Supra-Programs The emotional Supra-Programs The cover-programs The trash-programs How it really works
to the Impossible missions???
You ask by e-mail I answer here.

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