Last week I started sharing some of the things that I’ve found helpful when I start to slip into stress and overwhelm.
Below are some further thoughts on this:
- Having trained in a range of energy therapies I am very fortunate to be able to draw on these when I feel triggered and emotionally raw. Two of these techniques are:
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT / Tapping) which helps to lower the intensity of my feelings, again helping to keep me from slipping into overwhelm and allowing me to keep a better sense of perspective.
Reiki which helps to restore balance and to bring my body back into ‘rest and repair’. This supports me in several ways:
- breathing, digestion and circulation function more effectively so that my body is able to stay healthy
- I sleep better, meaning that I feel less tired and can think more clearly
- I feel more grounded
- it supports other therapies, such as the EFT mentioned above, meaning that they are then even more effective
- Using these therapies on myself is obviously good, but sometimes, when I’m tired, my resources are at a low ebb and I’m feeling overwhelmed and loosing the ability to be objective, I need to turn to others for help. This is ok! It’s not a sign of ‘weakness’ or ‘failure’, but rather a sign of strength and the wisdom of recognising that we can’t do everything on our own – nor are we expected to. This help can come from friends and family, and also from professionals. There are many wonderful therapists out there, offering a wide range of approaches. It’s good to ask for recommendations and to have an initial chat to see if you feel they would be a good fit for you. Remember that this is about you. It’s ok to put yourself first and to be ‘fussy’ on who you choose to work with. Don’t worry about hurting the therapist’s feelings if you decide not to work with them. They too will want you to find the person and the therapy that is going to be the most effective for you.
- Through my healing journey, learning and practice, I have realised that we really are all doing the best that we can do with the resources that we have access to. Also, that our perception is a very subjective thing which is deeply coloured by our past experiences. This has given me a greater capacity for compassion, both for those around me, and for myself.
- I’ve also learnt the importance of having a sense of humour! The ability to not take myself too seriously has been of such an enormous benefit to my wellbeing. That’s not to say that I can always laugh at things, but generally I can catch myself and gently remind myself that everything will be ok and that things are not nearly as serious as my fears would have me believe.
- Another important lesson, which might seem to be almost the opposite of the one above, is that’s it’s ok to be ok with not being ok. In other words, it’s ok to feel sad / angry / guilty / anxious / depressed / etc, I just need to remember that these are only ‘e-motions’. That is, they are energy-in-motion. They bring me valuable information about my needs in a situation and when I tune in and listen I can address these needs, allowing the feeling to process and be released. It’s when I suppress my emotions, holding on to them or resisting them, that they cause me the most pain, and can even lead to illness.
- I’ve also needed to pay attention to my self talk. We can tend to be our own worst critic and when we’re triggered into stress, it brings out the most negative inner voices. Often these are voices from people who have been significant in our lives, such as parents, teachers and peers. When our confidence levels are low it’s all too easy to accept – and continue – this critical voice, but it doesn’t serve us. There is a saying: ‘Take the thought to court!’ Look at the evidence. Is your inner voice telling you the truth? We can probably find evidence to both support and contradict the voice, so why, then, is it so much easier to listen and believe, rather than to laugh it off? There will be several reasons for this:
- we’ve been listening for so long that our neural pathways around this are very strong.
- we are evolutionarily geared to look for the negatives (see Our Brain’s Negative Bias)
- we trusted the people whose voices we’re repeating
So what can we do?
- we can choose to remember to look for the evidence that proves that we are actually thoughtful, competent, skilled, caring, intelligent, capable, beautiful etc
- we can choose to believe this evidence and to hold it up every time our inner critic raises its head
- we can recognise the fact of our negative bias and understand that this is just our ego’s way of protecting us. We can then thank the ego, and let it know that: ‘It’s ok, I’ve got this covered!’
- We can use techniques (such as EFT and other energy work) which help to support the breaking of old habits – by releasing the beliefs and emotions behind them – and the creation of more helpful ones.
Remember to be gentle with yourself. Old habits have taken time to form, and will take time to change, but each step along the way will bring greater insight and move you closer to greater balance and wellbeing. Also, even small changes can have a huge impact on how you feel. The important thing is to approach this with an open mind, with curiosity, lightness and a sense of humour!