Emotional healing takes time but it’s absolutely possible for anyone who is willing to work on themselves.
If you want to create emotional healing in your life, there are several steps you can take. Healing from past pain, learning to manage anxiety, and feeling difficult emotions are all part of healing.
We’ll discuss multiple ways you can begin to do this important work.
Ways to Experience Emotional Healing
Each of us has different past experiences and some people have almost incomprehensible trauma in their lives. This work is not easy, but there is hope and it is possible to heal.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or dealing with depression, please seek out a therapist – therapy is one of the single greatest things we can do for ourselves.
Here’s how to experience emotional healing.
1. Recognize the stories you tell yourself
We all have thought patterns and stories we routinely return to to make sense of our experiences in the world. Some stories we tell ourselves can be negative – if you find yourself routinely thinking things like:
-All my bosses have been horrible, none of them “fill in the blank – respect me/treat me fairly/pay me well enough”.
-I’m never good enough. I wasn’t good enough “fill in the blank – parents/teachers/friends” and I’m not good enough now.
-I’m not pretty enough. No one will like me because “fill in the blank”.
Your thinking might not be quite so reductive, but these are examples of patterns that we tend to think over and over again.
Figure out what stories you tell yourself. Is is something about your family? Is it about money? What are the things you can’t accept about yourself and what stories are you telling yourself.
This step is crucial in understanding what needs to be healed.
2. Figure out your triggers
This can relate back to your stories – what triggers you to start beating yourself up or what sets you off?
There are certain things for each of us, oftentimes behaviors we don’t like in other people, that can serve as triggers to understand what our emotional pain is.
Write down a list of triggers and notice them when they happen.
3. Allow yourself to feel your feelings
When you are triggered or you feel frustrated, angry, or sad – allow yourself to feel your feelings. Bottling up emotions leads to resentment and emotional numbing (and sometimes physical numbing through food, alcohol, or drugs).
Have you ever felt a hot wave of jealousy, sadness, overwhelm, anger, or inferiority hit you and you’ve tried to push it away? How well did it work? I’m guessing not so well. Instead, try to sit in silence (if possible) and allow the feeling to wash over you. Let your body and mind fully feel it. It will feel awful and then it will pass.
4. Learn to manage your mind
While we want to feel our feelings, we don’t need to choose to believe every thought we think. Once you wake up to the fact that you are actually an observer in your mind, it will change everything.
A therapist once told me that we should think of 90% of the thoughts in our mind as junk mail. Delete and move on.
If you ever think a gross or hurtful thought – just say nope, I won’t believe that. You aren’t what you think. You don’t have to allow it to affect you so much.
So learn to manage your mind. When you start to hear yourself telling yourself the same stories over and over, you can question whether or not it’s something you want to think. If it’s not, tell your mind, no I don’t accept that.
5. Work on releasing your anxiety
Anxiety has become so commonplace in our lives. With global pandemics and volatile politics, the world can feel overwhelming.
Some of us struggle more severely with anxiety. If you really suffer from this, I would highly recommend seeking out a therapist you can trust – it will make all the difference.
If you want to tackle your own anxiety, you need to really take care of your body. First, get enough sleep (7 to 9 hours a night) – sleep allows us to lower cortisol levels. Too much cortisol in our body can cause anxiousness. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly (source).
Meditation and mindfulness can also help you manage anxiety. Sometimes something as simple as taking three deep breaths and moving your body into a new position can help you calm down.
6. Be true to yourself
Being honest with yourself about who you are and what you want is essential. When you keep yourself small to please other people you are essentially turning off part of yourself.
Take small steps towards being true to yourself. Be brave and speak up for yourself.
7. Learn to let go of the past
Ask yourself what’s holding you back from the past? Sit quietly for several minutes and then ask yourself, ‘what’s something I need to let go of?’ Your intuition will know.
Allow yourself to remember the pain of what happened and forgive yourself for holding on to it. Love yourself in that moment and ask yourself if you’re ready to let it go. You might not be ready right now, but keep asking yourself if you can let go.
If you keep checking in, you’ll get to a place where you can let go, consciously and for good.
8. Be honest with yourself
Be real with yourself. You can accept your weaknesses and flaws, but you should also accept your strengths. You have things that make you great and unique. You’re the whole package – so be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want.
9. Allow yourself to be loved
After you know who you are, let other people see that to. One of my favorite quotes about this is:
“Remember: despite how open, peaceful and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves. “ -Matt Kahn
Be the kind of person who has met themselves deeply and is willing to share that with others.
10. Spend time in silence
Meditation and mindfulness are powerful tools for exploring your inner world. Spend time in silence daily, if you can. Make your healing and personal development a priority.
11. Don’t be afraid to change
When you find a part of you that you don’t like, that needs to be changed, or is ready to be released – take action. Don’t be afraid to allow change in your life.
12. Find support
Emotional healing is a powerful journey. You’re going to change and grow in ways you might not expect, and it’s important to have support along the way.
Find a therapist, coach, or very trusted friend to speak to. Listen to supporting podcasts and read life-changing books. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Emotional healing is possible and you can do it. Allow yourself to explore your inner world, release past hurt, and become the person you want to be. Then let people see that real you. You can do this!