Throughout my life I have struggled at different times with feeling trapped in my own mind or emotions. I’ve suffered through depression, anxiety, PTSD, post-partum depression, addiction and I’m sure many other mental health issues. I know I’m not alone…I know that so many of us face these challenges during our lives and have experienced the feeling of living under a cloak of darkness.
Feeling Trapped in Your Emotions?
During the times of darkness I’ve been logically aware that other people aren’t experiencing life this way. I was told repeatedly that “it’s going to be ok” or that I had to “look on the bright side” but I felt utterly incapable of doing that. I would wake and set my mind that THAT day would be different…that I’d be able to handle life…and yet more often than not I’d find myself in quicksand of my negative emotions which were ruining my life.
Today my life is different and I’m compelled to share with you all how it came to be so. This hasn’t been a quick or easy journey; it’s been a battle to reprogram my mind and focus in on my spirit to heal myself….yes I wrote SPIRIT there.
We live life with our conscious thoughts in the world, living in the now. We often have an attitude of “less than” throughout our day. We worry about not having ENOUGH of everything. From food to money to sleep. These thoughts can take over and morph into catastrophic thoughts of worst-case scenarios which leaves us living our days in an anxious state without us realizing it.
After a car accident I was living with PTSD and a brain injury which affected my short term memory. I’d get into bed and think to myself “did I lock the windows upstairs?”. I’d then be unable to rest until I got up, went upstairs and checked that the windows upstairs were indeed locked. Once I got into bed, got comfy the same question would repeat itself because I had no short-term memory and I’d be stuck in a cycle of anxiety for hours until I either experienced a panic attack or fell asleep from exhaustion.
This is an example which had many factors but we can apply it to any kind of negative thinking. It ruled my world and nothing in my life improved until the day when I began taking steps to actually STOP the negative thoughts by facing them.
These days I have the pleasure of helping many people who have felt trapped in their emotions and today I want to share just a few techniques which have helped me and many others along the way:
- Meditation – Years ago I would have rolled my eyes and chuckled if someone suggested mediation to me but the reality is that it allows us to begin to get in touch with thoughts and begin to be aware of our body’s reactions to our thoughts. Begin each day with a meditation period, a simple 20 minute meditation will help you to be grounded and you can do it more frequently through the day if you’re on edge to regroup.
- Identify & Replace Negative Thoughts – We can’t change what we are unaware of. In order to heal, we have to identify the negative thoughts which are affecting us and our perspective. Once you recognize a negative thought, replace it with a grateful one. Even if it’s as simple as being grateful for the shoes on your feet or electricity in your house. Doing this sends actual messages to your brain which eases tension and boost dopamine production which in essence makes us happier.
- Help Someone – When we are in these states, finding little ways to be of service to others can busy our minds, help us feel useful and alter our perspective. Take a moment to look around you and think how you can help someone else today.
- Pray – I don’t care what your faith is…turn to it. Each of us are at our best when our spiritual foundation is strong. During these dark times, turning to spiritual faith provides serenity, wisdom and courage when we don’t have it. We are NOT as alone as our thoughts may lead us to believe. God (yours and mine) is always there, waiting for us. We just have to reach out to know this.
Today I wish that you all feel the LIGHT that surrounds us and how very loved you are.