In a lifetime, we each endure numerous challenges. From childhood, through adolescence the angst can continue when we start work, get married, have children, divorce perhaps, re-marry grow old, suffer financial worries, work to adhere to commitments and so on and so forth.
I have touched on the events but what of the emotions that accompany the events? In an earlier blog, I mentioned that different traumas, physical, psychological and emotional traumas impact our lives. In the immediate moment we may not feel anything but over time, left unchecked, like a fly trapped in a cobweb the emotional trauma for example may get more and more tangled, locking itself into our bodies in ways we could never imagine. It may appear as a physical pain or heightened emotions with an inability to cope. It may show itself as anxiety or depression or some other mental health issue.
Certain people may use drink or drugs; celebrity examples include Robert Downey Junior, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Some people become addicted to other things to numb what they feel. Some people harm themselves because they feel unworthy. One high profile example of this is Princess Diana, who would cut herself as a means of helping her to deal with the pressures of being within the Royal family, knowing about the presence of another woman in her husband’s life.
Some of us might recall William and Harry, the royal prince’s talking about their own mental health issues and Harry is worried enough about the pressure’s royal life and media places upon his family, to remove them all from that environment to something he feels more able to cope with.
We have seen high profile deaths linked to depression: Robin Williams, Caroline Flack. Others who claim they have been through depression and overcome it; John Hamm, Ashley Judd, Owen Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow to name but a few.
In today’s society people endure life’s challenges and occasionally the more they endure it, the more they may carry it, until suddenly there materialises the kind of baggage that ends in an inability to cope, emotional overload makes an appearance and then can come nervous breakdowns, mental disability, depression, and anxiety.
If you think of the average lifetime a few days of illness is not such a bad thing, but what if the mental illness that transpires takes away months and years. Reduces esteem and saps confidence and leaves one feeling inadequate, un-friendable, un-loveable, incapable. What kind of life is that?
What if you are a battered wife, an abused child, a person who never quite thinks themselves good enough. What if you repeat patterns, never learn from your mistakes, or from the education you have achieved?
Someone somewhere might relate to one of the examples given here and wonder why; not just perhaps anxiety follows you, but life never changes for what one might deem, as being better.
That stiff upper lip teaches us that our task in life is to put up, shut up and tolerate and there is something to be said about the ability to compartmentalise the good from the bad, but the human body is not designed to pump adrenaline at the rate that life’s challenges make it. Despite being necessary to our body for our fight and flight instinct the constant flow of adrenaline takes its tole and counterbalancing it or learning to reduce it are ways to overcome the onset of anxiety or other negative mental conditions.
In the midst of Covid 19, during isolation there will be so many more cases of anxiety, so many more people impacted by the worries of financial struggle and loss of both social company, familial support and the touch of a loved one, not to mention the actual grief of loved one taken by this awful disease.
There has been stigma attached to mental health. Thankfully its now no longer considered madness. It can be treated and there are people and organisations who genuinely want to help. Therapies exist for that very purpose. Talk therapies like counselling and psychological support are the more well-known forms of help.
What is perhaps not so well known is the positive impact of human touch. Hugs are invaluable obviously, but I am talking about targeted and specific touch therapy that can draw out the pain and the negative emotion. Touch reaches trapped emotional and psychological trauma because it has the capacity to act directly on the fascia that holds the imprint of heighted negative energy. I have talked about Fascia in previous blogs and its importance in the human body: https://thefeelgoodcentre.co.uk/how-can-understanding-my-body-help-me-overcome-emotional-trauma
Touch therapies exist in different forms. They work on the whole person and avoid reducing the body into parts. Learning to see the human being as one organism, the sum of all its parts, where the union of mind with body is essential to affect real life changes is of paramount importance even when working on mental health. Reiki and Colour Healing are more spiritual formats. Yoga is not a touch therapy, but it can impact the energy vortices, along the bodies central axis that can be accessed through colour healing. Complimentary techniques like Craniosacral Therapy and Chiropractic derivatives use alignment of energy to promote health. Manipulative techniques like Visceral therapy, Myofascial Release, soft and deep tissue release, Neuromuscular techniques, all help release emotions from the body. An additional technique is called somato-emotional release; this combines talk or dialoguing with physical bodywork.
I have worked with individuals who have developed self-worth, self-esteem and so much more towards long lasting well-being. The work they put into their own recovery cannot be underestimated. I say this because bodywork is never a one-way process. The bodyworker or manual therapist is the facilitator who helps the process of healing. Participation of the patient is important infact, I would go as far as saying it is essential.
No mental illness, not even anxiety has to be life’s inevitable companion. What is needed is a change in attitude to the methods currently used. Even the Science of Psychology is learning that progress does not just have to be a matter of focusing on the negative emotions, that because we have positive emotions in our human make up, we can find our way to health by asserting our strengths.
With that in mind I would like to give you some tips. I suggest you do this every day for 30 days:
Begin each day by writing a journal entry.
As part of your daily entry answer these questions. Your answers do not have to be the same. Each day is a new day so don’t be too concerned about writing the same thing.
First, ask yourself: Who am I? Focusing on the positive of who you are. e.g. I am a kind, loving person.
Then think about where you are in your life: Where am I?
- Do I have a dream?
- What is my dream?
- How much do I want this dream?
- How hard am I willing to work to achieve my dream?
- Who will I be if I achieve my dream?
- Where will I be if I achieve my dream?
- Sit for 5 minutes every day, slow down your breathing and focus on the breath coming in and the breath you release outwards. Your mind will wander away from the process, but every time it does, bring it back. Just like you have to develop muscle memory, the brain can be wayward and needs training.
- Remember a happy moment in your life, a single moment of joy. Hold onto that feeling and smile. Write the memory on lots of different post its and stick them everywhere and every time you look at them repeat the smile and feel the feeling of joy.
- Every day in pencil write down your first 5 thoughts. Read them back to yourself and if they are negative words, replace them with their positive opposite words.
I feel crap——–is replaced by———-I feel great
I am so sad——-is replaced by———I am happy, I feel joy today
I realise this might sound like a lie, like pretence, but go with it.
Once you have written the positive opposite, rub out the negative words, so all you can see is the positive.
I’d also like you to identify what are your strengths. For example:
I am great at cleaning my house.
I am really organised.
I knit like a professional
I am creative
The point is to find what you are good at, what you can do well. It does not matter how silly or inconsequential it may sound. You are the only one who will see your list. The only proviso to this is you cannot say there is nothing good about you. It is simply not true. These are your affirmations.
If by doing these exercises you feel the need for further advice or you would like to know anymore about the topics I’ve spoken about here, then email firstname.lastname@example.org