7 Holistic Ways to Heal After Emotional Trauma.
The wounds of emotional trauma run deep and leave lasting scars.
Modern doctors quickly prescribe antidepressants in the wake of emotional trauma. And while these can definitely provide much-needed help for some people, they can also be harmful to others, so some of us may try to walk a more natural path first.
This can be frustrating as well, for the emotional scars and mental toll that trauma leaves us with can sometimes feel impossible to overcome on our own. There are some natural remedies out there that may help make your journey to healing just a little bit less bumpy. These have helped me, and I hope they help you.
Take a Walk in Nature
When you’re in the depths of grieving, it’s easy to want to curl up in bed 24/7. However, getting out of the house, even for an hour, can lift your spirits. Going for a walk will get your blood flowing and remind you that you are a still a beautiful creature of nature. As an added bonus, taking your walk near a forest, creek or another natural setting can fill you with the serenity of living things and help you reconnect with the Earth.
Deep breathing has long been a way to center, focus and clear a weary mind. Deep breathing techniques saturate your blood with oxygen, something we lack when depressed. Try implementing the heart breath into your daily routine. Place one hand or both over your heart, and take deep, slow breaths, focusing on the heartbeat. Visualize your heart filling with universal light and love.
Write it Down
Writing is a phenomenal way to help you process negative emotions and make sense of trauma. Writing can even help you eliminate negative behaviors. Writing activates the part of the brain that regulates behavior. Writing literally carves new neural pathways in the brain. This can help you address and change unhealthy behaviors such as resorting to drinking or drugs to ease pain.
Similar to writing, journaling helps you to process grief in a more systematic way. Due to its chronological nature, it also helps you track your progress as you heal. If you’re not sure how to begin, try searching for writing prompts, especially those designed for people struggling with grief, anxiety and depression. These help you calm and center your thoughts and focus on where you are and where you wish to be.
Yoga or Relaxation Therapy
Yoga and/or relaxation therapy can help heal the grieving heart. Many Yoga studios will even offer a free session, which helps to get your feet wet with the practice. This has the added benefit of getting you out of the house. If you don’t wish to leave the house, YouTube offers a ton of free Yoga videos. Some videos only last a few minutes, which is great for those days you feel yourself lagging a little bit.
Or try Shavasana, lying flat on your back with your palms up, your legs gently apart, and your eyes closed. Slowly tense and then relax each muscle of the body, becoming aware of your physical self and any areas in need of added relaxation.
We tend to forget the complex structure that is our brain. The brain is an amazing and resilient mechanism. It contains 100 billion neurons and even more connections designed for healing, given the right conditions. Yoga can help you strengthen those connections and keep your brain sharp even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Essential oils have been used in alternative medicine to promote relaxation and a calm spirit. Some of the best essential oils for lifting grief include lavender, rose, bergamot, ylang-ylang, chamomile and frankincense. You can find essential oil diffusers at many retail stores. Try a few drops before bedtime and before meditating. Mix a few drops with your favorite lotion to experience uplifting soul scents all day long.
Creative activities have the power to lift the grieving spirit. Painting or drawing a picture, planting a beautiful garden, playing a musical instrument or singing, crocheting a quilt or knitting a sweater are all wonderful ways to let your artist’s spirit soar. Even something as simple as rearranging furniture and redecorating a room on the cheap can lighten a melancholy mood.
If in Crisis, Text for Help
Sometimes, grief is simply too much for us to handle on our own, and we need a safe place to talk. Texting HOME to 741-741 will connect you with a crisis counselor who can help you de-escalate difficult emotions. The service is absolutely free, and has been a lifeline for myself and many of my loved ones. We all need that human connection, but sometimes, texting is easier than talking. Luckily, the stigma surrounding mental health is beginning to break down more, and access to counselors is becoming more widely available.
Whatever your grief, acknowledge it, and remind yourself: you deserve time to heal. Practicing one of these techniques, or a combination of several, can certainly help you in your journey. Take the time to do what you need to do to heal your beautiful soul. And remember: people care about you, you are important, and help is there if you need it.