the healing journey counseling fl

healing, anxiety, loss, grief, depression, ptsd, self-care, suicide prevention, post partum depression


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Self-care challenge: The Process of Forgiveness and Mindfulness

Today I enjoyed listening to a fellow colleague who talked about forgiveness and mindfulness. Forgiveness is something that takes some time and practice. But we need to allow ourselves the opportunity to choose to forgive others so that we can release the burden of hurt. I worked with several clients who came to therapy seeking help for the anger that they felt. We choose to either do two things forgive them or hold on to the hurt. The following are are some exercises to try so that you can process forgiveness into your everyday life.

  1. The Power of Breath and Visualization- This basically consists of conscious breathing that allows us to be present with our body. It helps to move the hurt, anger, frustration away from our body or shuts it down. First, close your eyes then envision a ball of white cloud or golden light at the base of your spine. Begin counting  very slowly to 108 as you visualize the ball traveling up your spine. Hold the light or ball at each area of your back for 5-6 counts then slowly imagine the ball or light moving all the way to your head and extend it in front of you. Visualize the person that hurt you whom you wish to forgive surrounded by the light or ball. Breathe deeply and silently repeat the name of the person then say, ” I choose to let go of what happened. May you be surrounded and filled with this light.” Keep breathing through whatever emotions may surface or arise as a result. Hold the vision, repeat the statement, breathe through it until you feel a sense of calm and then gently open your eyes.
  1. Bilateral Stimulation: Swing those arms!- Bilateral Stimulation is a tool that change the brain chemistry. Walk briskly, swinging your arms (right, left, right, left) while feeling and thinking about the hurt. This creates a new pathway in our brain that allows access to more positive emotions, memories and beliefs. This practice also helps to lessen the impact of negative emotions. Notice how much calmer you feel while continuing to walk briskly and swing the arms. Be sure to breathe deeply and rhythmically as you are walking, feeling, and noticing.
  2. Sit in Silence and Stillness- Dedicate 15 minutes every day to sit with your spine straight, eyes closed and focus on the natural flow of your breath. Observe the silence and stillness which helps you to be present with what is without actively doing, changing, or fixing. As thoughts and emotion occur return your mind to focus on your breath and the sensation of your sitting. This helps the mind to be okay with what is rather than being hooked by memories and emotions.

The following is an excerpt for the above activity by Lynn Louise Wonders.

 

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Stop Overreacting

 

Effective strategies for calming your emotions

Understanding overreactions- We must be aware of the things that triggers our emotions for instance we may overreact to situation that is fueled by past experiences and raw emotions which we have not dealt with yet.  I completely understand how we can get so worked up about something and we must acknowledge our emotions that cause us to overeact and gets us in trouble. Not everyone reacts the same way which is something that I had to learn during the course of my life. Each of us as a different range of emotional equilibrium that is known as “the degree to which we can mange stressful experience in a calm and thoughtful way” (Siegel, 2010,p. 9).

The Exploder and the Imploder

When I saw this title I could relate to the imploder which is the quiet person who puts their feelings aside while the exploder gets very upset and loud. Exploder has a hard time holding on to their feelings and are easily agitated. For instance, a child whose feelings are not noticed by teachers and parents which leads depression or becoming ill. There are three ingredients to overreacting that includes “the event that triggers a sense of danger, an immediate response that involves our emotions as well as our physical state, and an interpretation of unfolding events that may be colored by defenses and emotional memories” (Siegel, 2010, p. 12). The way how we view a situations has an effect on our psychological well-being which has an effect on the way we view a situation.

In order to manage our reactions we must first be aware of the way how we tend to react. Here are some questions to help you with this exercise:

  • When someone gets very angry at your, do you tend to withdraw?
  • Would people who know you describe you as someone who is mainly logical?
  • When the stress in your life builds up, are you likely to feel fatigued or ill?
  • When someone asks you how you are feeling,  do you give them information about events or description of your emotional experience?
  • Do you often zone out or have an escape fantasies?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you are an imploder style. However, here are some other questions for a exploder style:

  • Do you frequently lose your temper or fight about an issue that seems important in the moment but that you barely remember a few weeks later?
  • Do you speak your mind if you think someone has acted inappropriately?
  • When someone challenges you, do you get annoyed and stand up to them?
  • When another car cuts you off in traffic, do you try to catch up to them or start swearing?
  • Do people tell you that you are too emotional?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you are a exploder style.

The following is a body scan exercise that will help you to become aware of your feelings. First, start from a relaxed position, close your eyes and focus on the different parts of your body. Ask yourself is you are aware of carrying any tension in your body. Is your heart racing? Do  your muscles feel tense? How about your neck is it tight?Are your hands relaxed? Are your fingers open or clenched? What does it feel like in your stomach? When you know how your body is when you are relaxed, you will begin to notice  how you change when you are under stress. Secondly, we must explore one of the feelings such as being angry and try to learn more about it. We can look back at how we felt when we were angry  and begin to do a body scan by asking yourselves all the questions in the first part of  this exercise. Think about the tension that you are carrying to different parts of your body, If you are uncomfortable, where do you notice this most? If you feel better, do you notice it in any part of your body? By noticing the different sensations throughout the body you are beginning the grasp a whole new way of exploring your feelings. Thirdly, we can now begin to try a guided exercise where you revisit how you feel when you experience something good. By learning how we felt during that experience we can call it up during the times that we are feeling angry or upset. If you open up yourselves to positive feelings, “you will add to your reservoir of well being” (Forsha, 2000).

 

 

Reference:

Siegel, J. (2010). Stop Overreacting. Effective strategies for calming your emotions. New Harbinger Publications, Inc.