It hurts. Stuff hurts. For everyone. Feeling emotional pain is as typical in life as getting a cold. Yet, for many of us, hurting is a setback, a sign of weakness or failure. Inevitably, many of us squish, stack and store the stuff that hurts us away. Like any other problem we set aside, like an overdue bill, a bad cough, a pain in our side, the more we try to ignore it, the more powerful the problem becomes.
To feel better, to function more effectively, to continue through life without the heavy anchors of trauma or loss dragging and slowing us down, the emotional wound, like a real scrape or cut, must heal well. It must be tended to correctly to prevent scar tissue, scarring or perpetual soreness.
Whatever the wound, childhood traumas like those of Marilyn Monroe or, for examples, the loss of a job, a break up, a fight with your mom, the loss of a loved one or facing a rejection, can be alleviated more smoothly with proper care. Therapy is most effective when it comes to trauma, however there are some home remedies that can also assist in the process.
10 Home Remedies For Emotional Healing
1. Write. Pick up a journal and write out your thoughts. Don’t cheat yourself by writing what you think you should be feeling; write about what’s really going through your mind. Ask questions. Make lists. Summarize the issue. Recognize the truth behind the issue. Psychologist, James Pennebaker, discovered that “people who use writing to make sense of their traumatic life experiences felt happier and less anxious.”
For more on writing and healing, read Randi Kreger’s Heal by Writing about Your Trauma.
2. Thought refurbish. After dealing with a painful experience as little as a paper cut or as intense as a robbery, we begin to associate details from the incident to the painful consequence of the incident. For instances, you might ask someone else to make copies for you after getting a really bad paper cut last time, or after getting mugged at a 7-11, you might find yourself nervous every time you drive past one. You may even avoid them all together.
In order to regain the confidence to enter a 7-11 again, you would have to work to create new associations with 7-11. You could ask a friend to go with you for a Gatorade after workouts with the intentions of changing your view of 7-11 from potential danger to post workout social reward.
Psychology Today’s insightful article, Emotional Healing and the Automatic Defense System can offer further information and clarity regarding this idea of “reconditioning” thought schemas.
3. Grieve. Respect what you have survived or dealt with. Give it your time, focus and sympathy. Accept and feel rather than neglect and suppress.
4. Walk. Sure, it’s good exercise, but it also changes your setting. Sometimes, staying inside makes it harder to revise your mindset. Being outside can loosen up your thinking and put things in perspective.
Additionally, nature promotes the emotional state of happiness within us, as John Zelenski and Elizabeth Nisbet explain, “nature relatedness has a distinct happiness benefit” (Price-Mitchell 2014).
5. Read. When I was going through some hard times, I’ll say it, I felt very alone. I suddenly dove into an obsession with Old Hollywood Women Stars. Rummaging in the library’s online catalog would preoccupy my mind. Then I would spend hours in bed with a thick musty book, riveted by Edie Sedgwick’s struggles with identity development, men, art, family, finances, toxic friends, drug use and choosing what to wear to an opening of one of her experimental films during the sixties. I read about Marilyn Monroe’s battles between her Hollywood persona and her introverted innate self. I learned about Judy Garland’s so-called childhood, her exploitive Hollywood agents and bosses.
Not only were the stories fascinating, but also, I found a semblance of companionship with these artists that managed to survive contradicting times of success and exploitation. Others had been there too. Others knew the pain. This helped me feel less “alone” with my “problems.” Plus, it keeps you from calling friends that may be exhausted from giving you free therapy.
6. Meditate. When you meditate, you stop thinking. So the concept of meditating to heal might seem counter-intuitive because, unlike with writing or therapy, you are stopping yourself from finding new insight. However, the process of discovering new insight and empowerment can be incredibly exhausting on your mind. Through meditation, you can recharge, re-center and lower anxiety levels. Meditation has become a seriously effective coping strategy for me.
7. Create. You may have heard the term, “art therapy” before. Once the benefits of art therapy were unveiled and socially accepted, the colorful therapy’s popularity has grown. What is art therapy? Kendra Cherry explains in her article, What is Art Therapy, “Art therapy integrates psychotherapeutic techniques with the creative process to improve mental health and well-being.”
A technique that sort of came to me instinctually as I was moping around the house was to paint my feelings. That’s it. No further guidelines. Just colors and canvas. Some incredibly intense abstract pieces came to be. Some which my mom still can’t seem to get used to. Others find them exhilarating but eerie.
What’s interesting is that now that I’ve “healed” my art is brighter and lovelier. I remember when suddenly a fresh peaceful abstract image appeared on my canvas. It was a significant sign of growth and change.
8. Help. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, an animal shelter, the public library etc. Help a family member move. Help your niece learn the 50 states’ capitals. By helping others, you not only distract yourself, but also, more importantly, you gain perspective. Helping others reminds you of your blessings and how important you really are to others. You also earn a chance to socialize and vent.
10. Sleep. Healing is tiring. It can be sad, exhausting and super challenging. Sleep is the best way to physically recover from the physiological effects of the emotional work.
Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.
Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
Helen Keller (June, 1880 – June, 1968)
I’m so pleased to announce that three of my poems, “Slots,” “Scraping” and “Make a Decision” have been published in Barking Sycamores Literary Magazine Issue 13. Barking Sycamores is dedicated to neurodivergent literature and its craft. I’m so honored to be a part of this project. Barking Sycamores Issue 13
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