2015 has just begun. New beginnings are in the air, media, social networks and the history of our lives. I notice cravings for what is new and am aware of that familiar yearning for what is old and familiar. Advertisers may be all too familiar with these psychological “truisms”, perhaps more than any of us want them to yet they are the engine of our lifestyle machine here in the US.
New – the emotion of excitement
Comfort – the feeling of security and times gone by
Hope – the anticipation of getting what you want
This year I decided to create my own first aid kit for emotional management and healing. Based in part on the emotions listed above – the New-Comfort-Hope concept. My advertising logo might be the eagle/dove image. Over the years in my private therapy practice I have explored many healing modalities for psychological healing. I believe in the explore, experiment and educate philosophy…the emotional scientist so to speak. The following is a list of my own tips for managing the truisms of our ourselves, how our beliefs about ourselves derive from our emotions, those we came into the world with at birth or the ones that were created throughout our lives. The encouraging news is that we can heal from both psychological and physical conditions and ailments. The reality is that it takes an investment of commitment and time. Let’s begin:
- Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Every moment of every day is a new opportunity to start again. Take on the beginners mind when you want to change anything. Discouragement and doubt are powerful emotions. I have seen many couples in my therapy practice make comments on the how hard it is to carve new paths together. It is only possible if both have some interest and if the interest isn’t there then the “fun” can begin. Get out the emotional excavation tools. As Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe every life is worth living to each person’s capacity. Finding that capacity is sometimes tricky.
- Take an emotional inventory meaning “Who do you love?” and “Who loves you?” The belief that we all deserve to love and be loved is also powerful. Stress and emotional disorders such as mood and anxiety can impact the brain and cause negative thinking and depressive symptoms. If the answer to the love question is no one and not me then that is the time to call in resources and realize the brain in stress can create problems.
- Intentional Movement – we hear it all the time that we need to exercise, get fit and toned. Emotional heath does better with movement in harmony with body and mind. That would include any type of mindful exercises such as Tai Chi, Yoga, Balance and dance or moving meditations. Many activities can be adapted to be intentional by slowing them down. Fast paced, competitive sports all have their place but for the purpose of emotional health these are better. Essential Somatics by Martha Peterson is one such program that combines these elements to manage/eliminate pain. I have been experimenting with this one. The author is a former dancer who experienced pain related to injuries and inflammation. By “tuning in” to your body regularly, you create a relationship with your own body that can work with you over time.
- Nutrition and Intuition for the brain. I have written several blogs regarding the importance of brain health and the role of nutrition. Listening to your body and what it does and doesn’t need is the goal. In this culture we are not taught to look within for answers, not taught to listen. Our consumer driven society teaches us to look outside of ourselves; how to fix what is wrong with us with every product under the sun. Developing a way to access your inner guidance system or intuition will empower and help navigate the current landscape of food choices and beliefs we carry. Loving Yourself to Great Health by Louise Hay,Ahlea Khadro and Heather Dane is one book to explore this subject. Question what the beliefs are that you carry around. Be like Michelangelo and question your life. Every day create some questions for yourself.
- Explore emotional healing strategies such as The Healing Code and The Emotion Code. The Healing Code, by Alex Lloyd states that there is a physical mechanism in the body that would heal physical and emotional issues (wrong beliefs) and counteract the source of all these issues which is hidden stress and bring them to light by a practice he has developed using the hands. The Emotion Code by Bradley Nelson focuses on the role that emotions play in ones life. ” Where would you be without emotions? If the sum total of all your experiences makes up the tapestry of your life, it the emotions that give that tapestry its color.” He states that unresolved emotions that are stored in the body are the source of many types of pain and suffering. The treatment is about finding these old emotions and releasing them forever. This relatively simple tool involves finding a way to access your body/mind using muscle testing or as I have seen, learning how to use the pendulum as a way into yourself. ” I have been trained in the trauma treatment EMDR which uses eye movement and stimulation to calm the brain as it introduced to new and positive beliefs about oneself and relationship to past stress and trauma. This is a treatment that needs some guidance, yet once it is experienced, there are many strategies to help yourself when negative symptoms arise.
- Be Open to Resources. We all have unique pasts, experiences and personalities. Whenever you find yourself thinking “I am right and You are wrong” or “I don’t know what to do” seek out a resource. This can come in the form of mentor, education(ie.books, computer research, a class) therapist,medical professional, spiritual guide, trusted friend or in a practice such as meditation, centering prayer, art, writing or just being in nature. Health is all about balance Too much stress can create instability and consequently physical or emotional pain. I once read the quote “Pain is inevitable, suffering is not.” I often suggest specific essential oils as resources to help access the parts of us that need attention and healing. Lavender Vera, Frankincense, Sweet Orange and Peppermint are a few that come to mind now. There are oil blends that are created for each energy center of the body (chakra system) and are often used to energize and move what needs to move.
- Language matters – speak words that have forward motion. Avoid words such as “No” or “can’t”. Re-phrase what you want to say with words that are more positive in tone. Yes, you will be amazed at this practice. Research has shown energy patterns to words said both verbally and to yourself. Positive language carries a higher frequency while negative words are measured at a lower frequency level. For me, making changes in my own internal dialogue has been most challenging. I am constantly being shown all the old, habitual forms of negativity that have made their home in my brain. Genetics, lifestyle, culture and spiritual history all have influence here. Change has been harder than I first thought. The good news is Perseverance does pay off. Keep after it… like training a puppy.
- Love and Affirm yourself daily – This may seem foreign to some. This mirror exercise is amazing. With your hand circling your heart say out loud: “I love and accept myself completely; with all my faults and limitations and all my wonderful gifts and talents, I love and accept myself completely. Try it for a week and notice.
- Last but not least – BREATHE and BREATHE some more. Explore learning breath strategies. The audio called “Breathe to Beat the Blues” by Amy Weintraub is an excellent resource to download. There are many apps for that as they say. The 4-4-4 is a basic yet effective breath. Inhale for the count of 4, hold for 4 and exhale through pursed lips (like blowing air out a straw) for 4.
My intention on this mid-winter day is to create some excitement for exploration and strategies to use when experiencing the pains of life. Just like a medicine cabinet holds medicine for your body, the emotions need their own first aid kit…and that can be exciting and comfortable at the same time.