Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

EMOTIONAL /SPIRITUAL RECOVERY FROM TRAUMATIC EVENTS

Life can change in a heartbeat. A few weeks ago, a family was stopped at a red light and rear-ended by a drunk driver. Their 10-year old son, Matthew, suffered a severe head trauma and is in a medically induced coma. The prognosis is not good and the family struggles to make sense of what was an act of sheer reckless endangerment. While hopefully many of us will never experience a trauma of this magnitude, we will all face some type of serious emotionally shock that we need to deal with. In some instances, the ordeal can be so severe as to dramatically alter who we are and the course of our lives. One’s life becomes unrecognizable in an instant. Even in those circumstances when we are given time to prepare for the inevitable, such as the death of a loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s or MS, the loss can be significant. In any event, one experiences a wide range of emotions that need to be addressed and healed in order that the individual can minimize any long term damage.

Trauma is defined by the American Psychological Association as the emotional response to an extremely negative event. It can manifest physically as well as emotionally. It is absolutely vital that one acknowledges their feelings rather than deny them. Every feeling has purpose and value and denial of such in no way dissipates them. They reside within causing unimaginable issues on multiple levels until identified and treated, much like termites on wood.

All emotions are the direct result of our thought process. What I think, my internal voice – the words I say to myself – dictates how I feel. Therefore, I choose my feelings. In any given moment, I can change how I feel by changing what I’m thinking. What makes trauma so challenging from our day-to-day emotional state of mind is that we continually replay the powerful event in our minds giving it energy to grow larger and more powerful. An understandable obsession that continually reinforces the horrific event we just experienced keeps it alive in our minds long after it has ceased. There are also neurological changes that occur in the brain after trauma as well.*

Common Emotional Reactions and Spiritual Solutions

Shock occurs when an event is so sudden or unexpected that we experience an extreme state of disbelief. Oftentimes, our belief system has conditioned us that such a terrifying act could not possibly happen to us. We believe we are immune to such a severe type of crisis. Initially, the shock can be so acute as to cause one to shut down emotionally, experiencing a sense of numbness and stoicism.
Slow, deliberate deep breathing enables oxygen to travel to the brain providing much needed nutrients that maintain mental clarity and stimulate our logical thought process. Realizing that no one is immune to tragedy and that God continually provides every resource needed to navigate this dark path gives us hope and strength to continue. That same faith in our loving Father reminds us that on the other side of tragedy is triumph as God heals our pain and restores inner peace and even joy.

Confusion: lacking clarity and direction. When one’s brain succumbs to emotional overload, it can be difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions.
Enlisting the aid of others willing to share their knowledge about what transpired can help you better understand what occurred. Expressing your hopes about what you want to do next and your longer term goals gives others the opportunity to guide you in the right direction and offer valuable resources to assist you. Breaking things down into smaller segments helps make the process more manageable and alleviates anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed.

Denial: one’s unwillingness or inability to accept the reality of what transpired. Extreme disbelief deceives us into believing that there was a horrible mistake or that this is simply a bad dream from which we will awake. Fueled by fear, it keeps us trapped in an alternative reality.
Both logic and faith are the team mates that will help to bring us to victory over the inevitable. With the assistance of facts and the input of those we trust, we can face the truth about said event.”The truth shall set you free” is more than a catchy cliché. It is a powerful belief that reminds us that only when we deal with reality are we really able to take back our lives and move forward. Remember that God has already prepared us to face every challenge that enters our life and with each one our lives are enriched.

Sadness results when life does not cooperate with our plans. We experience disappointment and a sense of loss. One’s marriage was supposed to last forever yet somehow ended in divorce; homelessness is for those in underprivileged neighborhoods, not for the college educated. Sadness is a powerful emotion that robs us of the joy and motivation necessary to fully embrace life.
Prayer, our conversation with God, is a great tool to remove sadness and restore joy. Reminding ourselves of all that God continually blesses us with each day, what still remains in our lives to be grateful for, is the perfect antidote to sadness. One cannot be sad and grateful simultaneously.

Anger is derived from feelings of helplessness or powerlessness and is an outward expression of intense vulnerability and weakness. Extreme anger leads to rage. One experiences anger when their expectations are not forthcoming.
Everything external is beyond my control. I have no authority over anything outside of myself and my thought process. Realizing that life is not intended to conform to my demands and by putting my faith in the One who created and loves me beyond measure, I can relax and allow life to unfold organically. I understand that whatever enters my life has a higher purpose and is meant for my spiritual evolution. I can refocus my energies on how I allow my new circumstances to affect me, strengthen me ,and enrich my life.

Regret: one feels remorseful over what they failed to do or what was done improperly. An intense desire to relive the situation so that one can craft a more desirable outcome is not uncommon.
Recognizing that every experience, good, bad or indifferent, is a necessary part of one’s emotional and spiritual journey brings great comfort. Additionally, choosing to learn from the experience and share that knowledge with others so they may learn as well, adds immense value to a tragedy. Vowing to refrain from repeating the same unfortunate choices builds confidence that future traumas can be averted.

Fear is the antithesis of faith. We worry that the event will reoccur or that we may not survive what we just witnessed. Anxiety also arises from our concerns that we and/or others may not be fine with their new circumstances. Extreme fear can result in panic attacks, creating an immobility that prevents the individual from moving beyond the incident.
On a practical level, one can rely on their inner strength and attitude to overcome fear. Building on prior experiences of overcoming hardships helps to strengthen one’s self-confidence. However, faith in God, trusting in the promises of the Lord, is the true path to overcoming fear. When one truly knows that God would never allow anything to enter our lives that we were ill-prepared to handle, and handle well. His perfect love for us would shield us from that experience if necessary. Therefore, I need not fear the here-and-now nor the future for the same loving God is ever present.

Blame is a self-defeating behavior directed at the one we believe to be rightfully responsible or it can be wrongfully aimed on the self. People may hold themselves accountable for something they had no control over. For example: a parent whose child is diagnosed with a severe disease may feel as though there was something defective within them that they inadvertently passed along to their child, causing their child to become ill. Some blame God. However, our loving Father cannot cause bad things to happen as this violates His very nature. He gave us free will, intellect and choice. Events of the human genre are caused by man’s own actions.
Blame involves judgment which is a defeating action as it devalues the individual. Taking ownership for one’s mistakes while being compassionate of mankind’s imperfections removes shame, self-loathing, and misdirected anger. Forgiveness for their misguided actions and for their weaknesses allows us to move beyond anger and blame and restore the peace God intended for us.

Revenge often follows blame (of others). There is a natural human need to seek justice on those who perpetrated the offense against us. However, vengeance never produces justice as it cannot right a wrong or undo what has happened. One is still left with the residual effects of the event and a healing must still occur. Revenge is often thought of as a learning tool for the offending party as well as a deterrent from committing the atrocity again. However, neither has ever proven effective and only perpetuates suffering onto another.
Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. This in no way implies that God will punish those who committed the offense. On the contrary: Divine Love seeks to teach and heal and that is what God seeks for all His misguided children. Prayer is a powerful deterrent to revenge. Pleading for mercy for the offender heals the one making the request.

Guilt is not an uncommon reaction to a traumatic event particularly when others have suffered more than you, been severely injured or lost their lives. Survivors guilt is a common occurrence when others have passed away.
Understanding that you were in no way responsible for the event occurring, nor could you have prevented it is a good beginning. Many survivors find great comfort in realizing that God has a special plan for them. Realizing this and fulfilling His Will can be very comforting and alleviate residual guilt. It is also important to remember that even for those who have been injured, their experience is just as much a necessary part of their life’s journey as your suffering is for you. This in no way minimizes it but simply helps one to find some sense of peace, though rarely in its entirety. As for death, many view it as an end or a punishment. It is neither. Death is a transition from the temporal physical world back to the existence of eternal spirit which is our ultimate goal. One can find great comfort in knowing the other party has achieved a state of permanent salvation.

Never allow your life or who you become to be defined by your trauma. You are not your ordeal. It was a life experience that has a higher purpose. Your knowledge of and reliance on God will enable you to better navigate your way through a devastating event to a more empowered and meaningful life.

Acceptance of what is or what must be for our higher spiritual awareness allows us to find peace in our new circumstance.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+
*https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/09/16/the-science-behind-ptsd-symptoms-how-trauma-changes-the-brain/

ALTERNATIVE RESPONSES TO ANGER

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we’d like. When situations take an unfavorable turn, we become upset, frustrated, or angry. When others don’t agree with us, live their life the way we think they should, or act in a manner we find disturbing, anger is a typical response. With the exception a few extreme circumstance, an angry reaction rarely improves the situation or endears us to the other party.
For the most part, humans have very strong opinions about how life should be, how others should behave, and about what circumstances should occur and how they should eventually conclude. We expect a certain outcome that aligns with our beliefs or with the efforts we put forth. When situations don’t progress or end according to our plans we experience angst as to how the outcome will affect us and/or those we care about. For example, the recent presidential election has a portion of the country frightened and angry about what the future holds with our new president. Unpredictable weather on our wedding day causes concern for the overall success and enjoyment of our special day.

In another regard, we are quick to complain when an individual is not behaving way we want them to or the way we think they should be. This anger evolves when we label and judge people based on our criteria of what we believe to be right regarding their attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, life-style choices, etc. A harsh assessment of the other party leads to harsh feelings as well. (Thoughts create feelings.)
When anger arises in these areas it’s an indication that frustration or fear is lurking beneath: frustration that we cannot control our circumstances and fear as to how that situation will impact us and those around us.

Anger also arises from hurt: if someone criticizes the way we look we may take personal offense. Their perceived cruelty and lack of regard for our feelings is disconcerting. We feel disrespected and our natural defenses take over, fueling the need to correct them, put them in their place or retaliate with an even more hurtful comment teaching them that we will not tolerate their ill-mannered behaviors.
In each of the above examples, anger gives us the momentary feeling of power in a situation where we feel we have lost authority. However, any person or situation that can cause us to react in a manner not beneficial to us actually has more clout that we do. Thoughtful consideration of what feelings and reply are most advantageous actually restores our authentic power.

Consider the following alternatives to anger:

Compassion: a compassionate response can be the perfect solution to anger. Compassion consists of both understanding and empathy. We can view the individual whose behavior we find unacceptable from a place of understanding. Each person has a right to live life according to their beliefs, dreams, needs, etc. If someone is struggling or acting inappropriately, rather than becoming irate because they are not living up to my ideals, I can remove the “shoulds” (unspoken expectations) and in my heart grant them permission to have the experience they are engaging in, knowing that it is a necessary part of their life’s journey. If they are struggling, lost, or in pain, I can choose to feel compassion or sadness for their suffering, hoping that they soon pass through their current challenge to a more joyful place. Being patient and always treating them with kindness (which may include setting some reasonable boundaries) during this time are all components of being compassionate. Choosing this alternative response softens one’s heart and prevents anger from manifesting.

Humor* is another powerful tool for diffusing anger. We take life far too seriously. We take personal offense to what others are saying or doing rather than remaining emotionally detached. After all, their behavior is a reflection of their internal environment and has nothing at all to do with me. We become agitated when things don’t go according to our plans yet in reality a life that conforms precisely to our dictates teaches us nothing. We worry and obsess over that which we have no control over or that which in reality is relatively unimportant. (Ten year rule: will this matter in ten years? Will I even remember it? If not, then it’s not important now.) Humor puts any serious situation into its proper perspective. It diffuses fear and angst; it acts as a protective barrier to emotional pain as we recognize that what is transpiring has nothing at all to do with me; and it makes light of that which in reality has no significant value.

So when others behave badly, find it in your heart to forgive them for their indiscretions rather that judge them. When life hands you the exact opposite of what you requested, make light of it. After all, this life is only temporary so why get so bend out of shape when it doesn’t conform to your ideals? Rain on your wedding day? Break out the umbrellas and boots and dance in the puddles!

*Just a note of caution: humor is not intended to be directed at the other party. One can find humor in the situation or make light of their own reaction or behavior. Humor must never direct it at the other person. To do so is disrespectful and may very well make the situation far worse than it is.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+

Using Emotions As Tools

Very often people query me as to whether or not anger is a bad emotion to which I reply “No.” All emotions have purpose and value. None are good or bad. They simply are. It is how we utilize them, our actions, that determines their positive or negative value. Emotions are messengers that help us better understand ourselves based on how we react to certain stimuli, whether it be a comment or a circumstance. At the root of all anger are three unique feelings: hurt, fear, and frustration. Each one sheds light on what is important to us as well as what internal issues are in need of healing,
If I am hurt by what someone has said to me, I need to ask myself “Why?” Why did I take personal offense to their comments? Do I need to strengthen my self-esteem so I am able to listen to other’s comments objectively? If I am frustrated, what in my life am I seeking to control? Frustration results from the need to have things a certain way. How will my life be impacted should this incident transpire in a way contrary to what I prefer? Fear, worry, or anxiety alerts me to the fact that I lack confidence in myself. What can possibly happen in my life than I cannot handle? Being capable does not mean that I don’t care what happens. We’d all like to avoid unpleasant situations from occurring. But my self-confidence assures me that I am fully capable of handling whatever enters my life and finding a way to use it to my advantage.

Additionally, when I am angry (i.e. hurt, afraid, or frustrated) I can use this knowledge to more accurately express to the other party how I feel. Rather than state, “I’m angry at you for not inviting me to your party!” (which puts the other person on the defensive), I can say, “I’m hurt that I wasn’t invited.” Rather than fly into a rage when my computer isn’t working properly, I recognize my frustration because there is much I need to accomplish today. I can shift my focus on seeking some possible solutions to either getting my computer fixed or completing my work using another modality.

Knowing that our feelings have purpose, we can use them as tools for understanding others as well. If I’m dealing with an angry person, I need not address their ire but rather inquire as to whether they have been hurt or offended by something I said, if they are worried (fear) about something, or perhaps they are stressed (frustration). In that way, I can assist them in dealing with the root cause and hopefully finding some possible solutions to their issues.

In summary, emotions – all feelings – are valuable tools. We can learn much about ourselves and our issues, as well as what truly matters to us. Internal issues can now be addressed and resolved more easily. By identifying our feelings we are also able to more clearly express ourselves, thus improving our communication and conflict resolution skills. And, when dealing with another person’s upset, we are now better equipped to understand and assist them as well.

Never deny or suppress your emotions. They are valuable tools that appear for a specific reason. Spend time with them, appreciate each feeling, seek a deeper understanding as to why they appeared, address whatever issues they reveal, and use them for the good of all involved. In that way, they can be one of our greatest allies rather than a destructive force in our lives.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html
Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+