Secret Discovering Exercises

Part 7: Secret Discovering Exercises

Exercises to root out your inner secrets and out of control behaviors. A major step to stop overeating.In following these exercises, you will create a book which will become a map, guide and vital resource for your triumphant journey. As you proceed on this new healing path you will gradually see your secrets unfold and become known by you in many surprising and relieving ways. You will begin to recognize how overeating and other out of control behaviors shield you from self-knowledge.

Soon you will be stronger and more free to choose new and more positive actions. You will begin to experience more health and joy in your life. You will not only recognize opportunities, but have more courage to act on them. You will bring more quality to your life than you have ever known.

Establish a trustworthy support system so you have one or more friendly witnesses who are aware of your efforts.
Support could be:
sympathetic friend on a similar journey
trusted friend or friends
members of a psychotherapy group
12 step companions
12 step sponsor
other trustworthy and reliable person who is capable of tolerating your strong feelings without getting pulled into them.
your psychotherapist
(As close and as sympathetic some family members might be, it is usually best to have support for this process be someone who is not a relative.)
There will be times when you feel more than you think you can bear. You will need a trustworthy companion.
At first, one kind friend may be enough. Eventually, if you seriously engage yourself in these exercises, you may need more regular and reliable support than one friend can give. That's normal.
Remember and list experiences that soothe and inspire you. Your list might include:
listening to music
playing with a pet
model building
working cross word puzzles
warm baths or showers
dance classes
playing sports
lifting weights
exercise classes
board games
watching movies
working with clay
Whenever you find yourself having an enjoyable experience where you are happy or just more comfortable being you, describe that experience on paper and add it to your list. You are building your awareness of genuine support, health and joy resources. You will this specific and written list as you proceed through the Action Steps on your Triumphant Journey.
Be kind and appreciative of yourself. Acknowledge yourself as part of your support system.
Every morning read aloud several affirmations [1] and [2] to the walls, the garden, the furniture and the mirror. This will help you build a kind appreciation for yourself. When you discover a thought that is meaningful and helpful to you, add it to the affirmations list. Create your own affirmations making sure they are each in a positive form.

Let yourself know how much of your life has been consumed with protecting your secrets. Often guarding and hiding inner secrets becomes the basic organizing principle which governs all your actions.
Think about what you have been absolutely certain about what you can and cannot do.
Examples to get you started thinking about this are:
What kinds of things are okay for you to talk about?
What kinds of things must you or dare you not talk about?
What kind of people can you be with?
Who must you not be with or dare not be with?
What can ask of yourself or others?
What must you not dare to ask of yourself or others?
What kind of treatment or environment or life style must you accept, like it or not?
What kind of treatment, environment or life style do you barely allow yourself to dream of? Are there ways of living that other people can have but never you? Is it forbidden, for some reason, for you to try to bring that way of living into your life?
Getting acquainted with the power and influence of your belief system takes time, patience and courage. When you start to question these beliefs you begin to challenge the power of your inner secrets.
Some limits you impose on yourself are free choices. For example, you may choose to take a boring part time job because it gives you time to be with your baby or take a class or work on a project that is important to you yet brings in no income. That's a free choice.
But if you take a boring part-time job because you believe that you can't ask for more or expect more then you may well be under the influence of inner secrets you don't know about.
Hidden inner secrets can't let you know about your own strength. If you have knowledge and strength, you might challenge the system which holds you down. And overeating holds you down.
Remember to breathe and allow yourself to be surprised.
Breathe evenly and surely. Watch you breath and allow oxygen to nourish your body and mind.
As you breathe, allow yourself to be surprised. When you are surprised, allow yourself to breathe. Remember to exhale fully.
When you are surprised, you are discovering something. Your surprise is a major signal that you are uncovering inner secrets. In time those nameless secrets will be understood, named and resolved. With every surprise and resolution of secrets comes more understanding and freedom.
Elaborate on these exercises to make them your own.
You can add to your book:
conversations of the day
night dreams
You might include a phrase, comment, affirmation, prayer, or quote that touches your heart or your imagination.
These are personal strands of awareness that touch your genuine self. As you gather these strands, your desire to live healthy and strong will weave them into a healing, teaching, strengthening support system that will help make you whole.
Overeating is such a puny substitute for the strength and beauty you can create within yourself.
You can have self-confidence based on true personal strength and wisdom.
At least once every three weeks, read your book aloud. You will be sharing truth and freedom with yourself.
These are seven preparatory steps for your taking specific action. What follows is the Action Plan, the method you will use to be free of overeating.
The Action Plan is the heart of your Triumphant Journey.

Action Steps

Step One:
Make a regular appointment with yourself to travel on your Triumphant Journey. Give yourself a day, at least once a week, and a time. Give yourself a minimum of a half hour. Keep your appointment.

Step Two:
Obtain a 3 ring loose leaf notebook for 8 ½" by 11" sheets.
Print out the seven preparations of Secret discovering Exercises. Use a three hole punch to fit those pages in the beginning of your book.
Print out the Action Steps listed below and insert the pages in your notebook.
Write or print out each of the 20 secret discovering questions on a separate page. Insert each page with a question on it in your book. Place at least two blank sheets of paper after each question page. (Some questions may relate to you more than others. For now, keep them all in your book.)
Print out the Exercises to Stop Overeating and put them in your notebook.

Step Three
Any time your find yourself in an overeating situation, move as quickly as you can to these exercises and find what is helpful for you.
When you begin to discover additional situations and helpful exercises on your own, write them down in this section. It's amazing how brilliant we can be in the moment, and how quickly we can forget our own discoveries. Write down your new found strengths and understandings so you can recover them when you need them.
Use a divider to separate the sections in your notebook so you can find specific areas easily.

Step Four:
Select a safe and private place for this book.
Step Five:
Read the seven introduction points again.
Step Six:
Choose one of the secret discovering questions. Decide using your own criteria. For example, you may select a question because:
  • It touches you the most.
  • It intrigues you the most.
  • It causes you a degree of emotion you feel you can tolerate.
  • You feel it's the safest place to begin.
Remember, this process will take time. You do what you can do now. Tomorrow your now will be different from your now of today. You will feel differently and choose based on what you feel then. Now just choose based on what you feel now. You can't make a mistake. This is your personal journey.
Step Seven:
1.Sit quietly. Breathe naturally and watch your breath. Gradually breathe more deeply and free your mind.
2.Review the question you've selected as you breathe evenly.
3.Pay attention to what occurs to you.
4.Write the thoughts and feelings which occur to you on the blank pages following the question.
  • You may write unconnected words.
  • You may write partial or complete sentences.
  • You may draw pictures or make shapes.

Whatever occurs to you is of value.

Step Eight:
Pause and breathe evenly.
Pay attention to your body.
How are you sitting?
How are you holding your head, jaw, legs?
Pay attention to how you physically feel in your
  • eyes
  • head
  • neck
  • arms
  • hands
  • chest
  • back
  • stomach
  • hips
  • groin
  • legs
  • feet
Don't judge. Just pay attention to what is happening and write it down.
Step Nine
Let yourself experiences images which may flash before your mind's eye.
  • They might be memories, fantasies, wishes or dreads.
  • They might seem inconsequential or irrelevant.
  • You might hear sounds in your imagination with no pictures.
  • Or you might remember smells.
  • Don't judge them. Just accept them and write them down.
Step Ten:
As you proceed, you may feel physical sensations, strong emotions or both. Stay with them and write them down.

Step Eleven:
Notice what you want to do to end this exercise. Postpone ending the exercise for from one to ten minutes. The minutes you spend in the exercise after you want to stop will provide you with more information. It's not necessary to push beyond ten minutes. You are stretching your tolerance in this exercise. You are also being kind, patient and accepting of yourself. Postponing from one to ten minutes will give you the strengthening and confidence building experience you need. More is not required.
As you postpone you build your own strength and endurance so you can bear more information. That's where your freedom is. Write down this experience too.
Step Twelve:
When you decide you have had enough, write that you have decided to stop. Also write what you intend to do in the next minute. Be honest. Then put your book in the safe place you created.

Next Appointment with Yourself

In each appointment with yourself, go through these exercises the same way, beginning with reading the introductory preparatory exercises. With each appointment with yourself you may choose the same or a different question. You will find that you avoid some and return to others. You are choosing what is right for you at the time.

Understanding Your Triumphant Journey Process

By beginning to go through these exercises, even for a moment, you are slowing down your escape behavior. You are journeying toward what has been dark inside you. This is your gentle but firm search through your protective system. You are on your way to the truth, innocence and solidity of your identity.

By moving slowly and without judgment through these carefully planned and respectful processes, you will begin to hear and understand your own well guarded secrets. Your protective system will present obstacles. You will be extraordinarily creative in the range of obstacles you present to yourself. It is a challenge to meet them. It can also be a very reinforcing time as you appreciate your own powers of unconscious creativity. Once your secrets are resolved you will be able to use your creativity for much more positive purposes.

When you know these obstacles are unnecessary defenses your protective system is putting up, you can more firmly stay present and on task. Here are a few example of self-created obstacles. Learn to recognize them for what they are.

1. You will get anxious, bored, irritated or distracted.
2. You will forget to do the exercises.
3. You will only be able to do them for a few minutes.
4. You will not image or experience a brief and little image.
5. You will say to yourself, "This is nonsense." "This isn't getting me anywhere." "I can't do this right." "I want _______(fill in your favorite binge food)."

These are the actions and the voice of your old self-protective system. Remember, you developed this system when you were a young, frightened and powerless child. Living by such rules now that you are more mature and have more personal resources is a tremendous waste of your life energy.

It takes time to let go of a system that has worked well for you for so long. After all, that part of you was designed to save your life. Maybe it actually did help to save your life or your sanity.

If you meet these obstacles with the patience and kindness they deserve, gradually you will begin to hear your true voice, a voice hidden for years by overeating and other barriers.

Over time, you will discover and develop more strength and courage. You will greet yourself as an undivided person capable of positive action and profound joy.

This will take time. You will cry. You will get mad. You will protest. Use your support systems. Be gentle with yourself. Stick with it. These are the guideposts for your triumphant journey.

end of part 7

next: Part Eight: Using Affirmations to Stop Overeating
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~ eating disorders library
~ all articles on eating disorders

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 21). Secret Discovering Exercises, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Last Updated: April 18, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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