Emotional distress itself may be universal, but the ways we experience it are not. For some, it manifests as sadness or depressive episodes. For others, it’s self-sabotaging behaviors that send you five steps back every time you step forward. Boredom, anger, addiction, anxiety, and agitation, and even physical illness may all be signs of emotional damage in need of healing.
At present, the general guidance offered by practitioners says that if you experience these emotions or behaviors over the long-term, you need either medication or therapy. While there’s nothing wrong with either of those things—and both provide relief, comfort, and healing to many—not all emotional repair needs to take place within the confines of a doctor’s office.
Little by little, it’s possible to begin healing on your own
10 Tips For Emotional Healing
Emotional healing is a long process that most of us will engage in at least once in our lives, if not over and over again.
While healing yourself is never easy or straightforward, it’s always possible if you permit yourself to do so.
Like anything, finding emotional healing becomes more achievable when you reach out and use a process to work your way through each step. While you use these ten tips for emotional healing, check in with yourself to see where you were, where are you are, and how far you’ve come.
Decide Who You Want to Be
You have characteristics that are both innate and nurtured, but if you’re like most people, you’re not yet the person you want to become.
Take stock of who you are and begin to think about the kind of person you want to be while also celebrating the person you are today. How does this help alleviate emotional pain? By choosing to become a person who experiences less distress by becoming calmer, intuitive, accepting, given, or productive, you’ll begin to remove the behaviors that invite harm into your life.
Give and Receive Love
Finding a balance between solitude and togetherness is different for everyone, but those in emotional distress tend to see themselves veering towards more alone time than we need or deserve.
Giving love and accepting love from others adds warmth to our lives that gives meaning to who we are as individuals in ways a solitary existence cannot.
How can you give and receive more love than before? Start by being your most authentic self and using it to relate to other people. Actively include others in your thoughts, decisions, and plans. Learn to listen as often as you speak and carve out the perfect space for yourself in someone else’s life by becoming the kind of person people want to have a meaningful relationship with.
For some of us, giving love is far more comfortable than learning to accept it. Receiving love is a choice you make every day—and it’s a choice only you can make for yourself. Be kinder to yourself and accept that you not only deserve love but need it, too.
Remember, giving allows us to pour ourselves out for others, but receiving provides the refill of light we need to continue offering up our best gifts.
Learn Anxiety Management Techniques
Anxiety is healthy—it keeps us safe and secure. But too much anxiety isolates us and leaves us feeling scared and even broken.
The difference between healthy anxiety and being overcome with it lies in the ways you learn to manage it. Some of the most straightforward techniques don’t require psychotherapy or huge investments. They mean taking care of yourself by getting the nutrition, exercise, and sleep you need to function at your best.
Breathing techniques are also essential. While it may sound like a New Age technique, breathing calms your physical body down so that your nervous system and your mind might also relax.
Other methods of anxiety management might include learning to approach situations that trigger anxiety. Knowing when to face something head-on or actively avoid triggers help you eliminate unnecessary causes of stress. Understanding how to contain your worry by recognizing what is and isn’t in your control helps identify the path forward and offers a plan.
Anxiety management is a skill that requires practice. As you learn to focus, you’ll build the determination you need to work through anxious situations and find yourself living a more productive life.
Create Meaning for Your Life
What is meaning, anyway? It’s a subjective experience that preoccupies philosophers and metaphysicians, but what does it offer for your hour-to-hour existence?
Rather than looking for the significant, overarching meaning for our lives, look for little ways to invest in the quality of your life. By looking for ways to feel alive daily, we keep the pain at bay and feel less trapped and less likely to engage in harmful behaviors that add feeling to the everyday.
Pain isn’t to be avoided or shunned. It’s a natural part of life and to heal, you must acknowledge it. Rather than allowing it to overwhelm you, choose to honor instead.
Acknowledge it, reflect on it, and permit yourself to feel it fully. Only when you truly understand and experience your feelings can you begin to move on from it.
Remember that pain is a punctuation mark in life. It completes one sentence, but it also provides a clean break to start anew. Once you’ve added the period to your last chapter, you’re free to begin your next thought in any way you choose.
Seek Moments Away from Pain
Acknowledging, accepting, and honoring your pain is the only way you move forward, but don’t forget to allow yourself the brief respites from suffering as you see them.
Just because you’re going through something doesn’t mean you're not allowed to laugh, sing, or feel something other than pain or loss during your grieving period.
Find Ways to Learn
How will your experiences today inform the way you’ll handle life’s complications tomorrow? Will you take what you’ve experienced forward, or will you leave it in the past?
Every moment, including and especially the profoundly difficult ones, offer opportunities for learning. Reflect and explore without judgment to figure out how and why you felt and behaved the way you did. Would you change anything? What could you do differently next time?
Don’t just learn from those things that didn’t feel right, accept the wisdom you’ve gathered as well. Every piece is meaningful and helpful.
Accept that Healing Takes Time
You should never choose to just “get over it.” Your healing happens on your timeline and your timeline only.
Healing always takes time. Whether it’s a week, a year, a decade, or a lifetime, we all heal at different rates. What you must not do, however, is choose to expedite the healing process in favor of seeking new adventures or pastures.
Of course, you shouldn’t use the mantra as an excuse either. Give yourself the time you need, but don’t use it as an excuse to avoid the most difficult parts of the healing process. Hold yourself accountable for your feelings and seek some progress every day even if it’s only a small step forward.
Repair Your Self-Esteem
Pain takes a toll on our self-esteem. Part of that may come from the cause of the pain, but it is also natural.
People who experience chronic physical pain often have far lower self-esteem than people who have no pain or who experience short-term, organic pain. Clearing up that pain almost always dramatically improves a person’s self-esteem.
Repairing your self-esteem requires more than positive self-talk. For many, a tangible reminder of your worth is also helpful for the journey. Begin to fertilize positive self-esteem by setting a challenge for yourself and then working to meet it.
It shouldn’t be a massive challenge that requires an existential struggle. It may be choosing to put effort into self-care like making a healthy dinner at night or choosing to take the stairs for several days in a row.
Making the extra effort shows that you can, and you will be in charge of your life, and pain doesn’t need to control you.
Become the Person You Want to Be
By now, you can envision the person you hope to be—the person who came away from pain stronger than before. So, go out and become that person. Take action and begin living the life you envision for yourself. While not everything remains in your control, the way you chose to process and move on from pain is up to you.
Whoever you want to be, go out and become them.
Healing Over Hurt
Pain is a natural part of life. Although it is hard, it can also be beautiful and transformative in a positive way if you let it.
By following these ten tips for emotional healing, you’ll find it easier to not only manage your pain but work through it to seek a positive outcome.
Do you have any tips for dealing with emotional pain? Share your stories in the comments below.
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