Posts Tagged ‘emotionalhealing’

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.

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*https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/09/16/the-science-behind-ptsd-symptoms-how-trauma-changes-the-brain/

Anger: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

As a child I was taught that anger was a bad emotion but I’ve have since come to understand that there are no bad feelings. All emotions have purpose and value as they teach us about ourselves based on how we react to external events. We assign value to each depending on how people act them out. If someone feels angry and reacts by screaming or hitting someone, it is pretty well agreed upon that that’s bad. Hence the feeling behind the behavior is labeled likewise. Keep in mind that it’s imperative to always separate the feeling from the behavior. The emotion may be appropriate to the situation but the actions that follow may not be.

GOOD ANGER: Anger is a necessary part of our existence as it alerts us to the fact that something is wrong or in need of our attention. For example, if I’m constantly annoyed at my husband, my anger may signify that I have too many expectations of him and am not accommodating enough of our differences. Becoming more aware of my arrogance and consciously changing my thoughts about him enable me to move beyond anger to a place of loving acceptance. My anger ultimately proves to be a blessing as the peace I now acquire not only benefits me but my husband as well.

We may also experience anger when we witness an injustice is occurring. Without becoming upset or irate, how would we know that we need to take action to correct it? In this regard, laws have been created by man to protect the innocent and create a fair and equitable society for everyone.
And in the event we feel threatened or unsafe, whether physically, emotionally, sexually, verbally, etc, anger prepares us for the vital fight or flight response. We either stay to correct a wrongdoing or we flee in order to keep ourselves safe.

BAD ANGER: Anger becomes problematic when it is mishandled, misdirected (at those who are undeserving) or the result of a misconception.
A popular song, Lost Boy, is one of my new top five favorites. I recently listened to it on Youtube and much to my surprise discovered that it’s performed by a lovely dark skinned young woman. I had envisioned a 14 year old Caucasian girl with a short pixie haircut. I mentioned to a friend of mine how surprised I was. “She didn’t sound black”, I stated. “What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked, clearly disturbed by my comment. “Just how are blacks supposed to sound?” She was clearly irate. “Some black singers have a very distinct kind of twang (for lack of a better descriptive term) to their voice”, I responded, “much like a Southerner might or an Aussie from down under, a Hispanic sporting a Spanish accent, and so on. Each has a unique sound to their voice that gives insight into their heritage or where they’re from.”

In this instance, my friend clearly had unresolved issues with racism, insecurity, poor self-image or some such issue. Her reaction indicated that she was not comfortable with my comment and perceived it to be derogatory. Such a perception led her to respond with anger. When one takes personal offense to what others are saying or doing or misinterprets anothers innocent actions as hostile, their anger reveals a deeper rooted issue that is causing distress to themselves. However, with serious introspection, one can determine the root cause of their indignation and thus seek an effective solution through understanding and healing.

Anger can be detrimental to our physical health as explosive or long-term anger can cause the body’s natural immune system to break down making one more susceptible to a range of diseases from high blood pressure to ulcers, cancer and more. There are also times when we use anger against ourselves, when we are so upset we may deny ourselves the chance to be happy or to take advantage of a wonderful new opportunity; to laugh or find joy in the moment or to fully express or receive love. Anger can damage our outlook on life, impede our emotional well-being, and rob us of our overall sense of enjoyment in life.

UGLY ANGER: Anger at its worst becomes ugly when it is used to hurt or offend others or cause any type of damage to a person or object. Criticism, belittling, embarrassing, ignoring, and gossiping are all expressions of anger at its worst. Acts of racism, physical violence, hate speech, betrayals are all violent forms of anger being expressed with the sole purpose of causing extreme pain or hardship to another. Intimidation, manipulation, threats and coercion all seek to gain control over another party through the use of force. Damage to nature or personal property through acts of rioting and looting or individual acts of rage are all reminders of just how ugly anger can become when it’s intent is to harm rather than to foster positive change.

To summarize: anger is neither a bad emotion nor a good one. It’s simply a messenger. When we are able to understand why we react in anger as opposed to another feeling, we can uncover the root cause of our issues, resolve them and ultimately channel our actions into creating positive change that benefits not only the self but those around us as well. Use anger to your advantage. Much good can come from doing so.
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
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Achieving Self-Compassion

At times, human beings can be incredibly compassionate towards one another. A family member going through a difficult time is encouraged to take extra care of themselves. A teen struggling with adolescent challenges is given support and encouragement. We offer our assistance to a neighbor who’s spouse is seriously ill. When others are at their worst, humanity is at its best. And yet, we are sometimes remiss in extending to ourselves the same tender care we offer to others. Is it that we feel we are not deserving of such compassion or can a little pampering be misconstrued as a sign of weakness or indulgence? Regardless, God tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” He is instructing us to extend the same mercy to ourselves that we do to others. What can we do to extend compassion and understanding to ourselves? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Be your own best friend. When asked, “Who is your best friend?” I would venture to say that people don’t respond with, “I am!” Typically, we think of our best friend as the one who is always there for us, kind and thoughtful, who accepts us as we are, and so forth. Do we posses those same qualities that could qualify us to be our own best buddy? The consideration we show to our friend – are we willing to treat ourselves in the same manner?

2. Develop beliefs that work for you. Do you have belief systems that were imposed on you by others? Do they work for you? A particular religious belief, a healthy living plan, an idea of what a successful life looks like – these are all beliefs that can cause internal unrest if they do not align with what works best for us.

3. Know your inherent worth. You are not who others say you are. You are not your mistakes, flaws, or bad choices. You are first and foremost a sacred child of God. Your value has been pre ordained by the One who created you and no one or nothing can ever diminish that.

4. Do not project your needs onto others. Expecting others to want the same things as you, to feel as you do, or act in the same manner causes unnecessary stress and frustration in life. Be free to be yourself and extend the same courteously to others. Life is much easier that way.

5. Choose happiness and peace of mind. Would you advise your best friend or child to be happy or miserable? Would you recommend that they fret over things they have no control over? Of course not. When you care about someone you encourage them to be happy and at peace with what is. Each is a choice. Love yourself enough to give yourself the gifts of happiness and inner peace.

6. Take good care of yourself. From the physical, to the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects it’s important to give yourself only what is absolutely in your best interest. Carefully choose your friends, foods, activities, beliefs, feelings, and intellectually stimulating material making certain that each enriches your life in some way.

7. Tune into your authentic self. In other words, know thyself. The ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, Lao Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching, stated that “He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” One must first know their authentic self before being able to provide all of their needs.

8. Eliminate negative reactions. The simplest way to avoid reacting to any situation is to train yourself to stop and assess the situation before responding. A deeper understanding of what has transpired coupled with an evaluation of what one hopes to achieve by responding, allows for a more thoughtful and positive reply, thus ensuring the situation improves rather than deteriorates.

9. Appreciate what you have. Gratitude goes a long way in bringing us joy and happiness. Those who focus on what is lacking are generally miserable and unhappy. Give yourself the best. Be grateful.

10. Enjoy the present moment. Too often, we are trapped in the painful experiences of our past, leaving us feeling helpless, remorseful, and bitter. Excessive focus on the future can lead to anxiety and worry. Regardless of where you reside, if you are doing either, you are not fully embracing the present. Let go of both. Live in the moment.

11. Pass your compassion on to others. Remember the same love we express to one is meant to be shared with all. In this way we can be an instrument of compassion and thoughtfulness to others. Good deeds have a way of paying us back tenfold.

Confucius once said, “Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” Treat yourself well. You deserve it.

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
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