Have you ever fainted? It’s the worst. You feel it coming over you like a thick cloud, pressure building in your head and pulling you down to the ground, spots of black dropping like thick rain onto your eyes. You don’t have time to steady yourself or really talk, your thinking mind is rail-roaded to one side while your body takes the driver’s seat.
That fight-or-flight, primal, natural reaction when your body acts on it’s own isn’t simply relegated to fainting episodes. For example, if you choke on a piece of food you automatically start coughing to get it out, you don’t sit and ponder for a minute about the best course of action. What about when you eat something bad and your stomach so kindly ejects it for you, often with no care or consideration to where you are. Our bodies are incredible machines with their own natural defences, which is why it’s so interesting to me when we see people, myself very much included, try to control and ignore what their own bodies are trying to tell them.
When you’ve experienced a life trauma, we in the western world don’t view this as the same level as a physical trauma which results in issues storing and building in your body as tension or other health problems. Divorce, a death, losing your job or your house, even a row with a friend which is upsetting but not physically traumatic needs to be processed and the ‘body’ as a whole needs to heal. When we work in this way, considering the body as more than our limbs and organs and as the physical, emotional, mental, intellectual and spiritual selves then we are going to heal more efficiently, feel better and generally be more whole as people.
If you, like hundreds of thousands of people out there, process in this way, please know that this isn’t meant to be a judgement, but a loving and kind guide to let you know that there is another way that can help you. Below are suggestions on how to take the first step, please note that this is to supplement professional help, if this is what you need. There’s no harm in asking for help, being honest in this way is the strongest thing you can do.
- Listen to your body. What are your hips telling you, are they tight and stiff? If so, there may be some deep issues that you aren’t dealing with which are coming up – we store a lot of our emotions in our hips. Are your shoulders tight? A lot of people store their tension in their upper body and neck, so you may not be dealing with stress very well due to other problems mounting up. When you take a breath to notice and listen to your body, it will happily tell you what’s up.
- After you listen, acknowledge the pain. Simply accepting that you are hurting and are not processing the trauma can be the first step to healing yourself.
- Know that you are allowed to feel the pain. You are allowed to feel hurt and you are not too sensitive/too much of a snowflake/weak because you are hurting. This is part of life, we get knockbacks and get hurt, this is how we grow and develop.
- Lean into the pain. This could take the form of counselling, speaking to someone or really going there in a meditation (I did an excellent guided meditation recently about releasing guilt, could not recommend it enough – you can find it here).
- Take it slow. There will be times where it’s too much for you, too intense or just too much to take. Make sure you are gentle and surround yourself with good go-to, self-care practices which you can access in an emergency (mine is Great British Bake Off and a cup of tea with honey in, it always hits the spot).
Like most of our behaviour, how we heal is a pattern that can be unlearnt over time. Healthy healing practices come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, but the key ingredient is accepting the pain and feeling it – without acceptance you cannot move on. Many people I know and love have unhealthy healing habits and a lot of them resist the negative feeling because they are afraid of it. Sometimes, we have to feel the emotion, ease in and open ourselves up to be able to properly move on.
Good healing postures for emotions are Lizard Pose, Wide Leg Forward Fold and Goddess pose. All of these open your hips and stimulate your root chakra, which helps calm you and help you feel safe. Accompany these with the following mantras:
I am here.
I am safe.
I am grounded.
Love you, always.