When I was half way through my counselling, I started to see things clearer. I was able to recognise what was having a negative impact on me and what was or could have a positive impact on me. Self healing is something I’ve always found interesting but never really tried out until this year. For me, I had to work through my past, process the memories, thoughts and feelings and then I was able to move on and concentrate on myself. These are the 10 principles for healing that I followed:
- Put Yourself First
This was something I found really difficult. I was a person who always put others before myself. I would take on mostly my friends troubles and forget about mine. Looking back I think it was a way for me to escape my own troubled world and go into somebody else’s. For me, I couldn’t say no to someone loading their shit on me. Rather than me just being a listening ear, it made me feel like I had a responsibility to help them. I put other before myself. I know this may sound selfish of me, but it got to a point where I did neglect my mind, body and soul for others. If I didn’t help them I’d be riddled with guilt either brought on by myself or them. I reached my turning point at the start of 2018. I realised that I was there for many people but they weren’t there for me when I needed someone to just listen. So I started putting myself first. The first month or so was hard. The people who I used to comfort and try to advise were gone. I guess they loaded their shit onto someone else. I started putting my health and my mind first. I stopped doing what other people expected me to do. I stopped trying to please everybody else but myself. Taking this first step got rid of the negative/toxic people in my life that I didn’t need. Your body is a temple and should be treated like one.
- Feel Your Emotions.
This one I still find quite interesting. I kept my emotions bottled up and buried deep for a very long time. When I started counselling all the emotions started to release and I was feeling better and lighter! I became a more positive person. Since I have finished counselling I have noticed I seem to cry a lot more than what I did. Not in a bad way, but I’m just not able to bottle anything up anymore. I’ve basically been converted from this hard rock to this massive baby. For example the Royal Wedding, when it came to them saying their vows and their first kiss I balled like a baby (thankfully I watched it home alone!), but if this wedding was say last year I know for a fact I wouldn’t have felt anything. Back then I was numb. I couldn’t feel any sort of emotion really. There was a day where I said to my mum how it felt as though I had forgotten how to be happy. I had to release a lot of negative and difficult emotions for me to able to feel and understand my emotions now! Sure I now cry at TV adverts, love films, child films, books, I even cried at the Big Bang Theory when Sheldon and Amy got married! (Spoiler…sorry). Your feelings give you the opportunity to recognise what your body is saying to you. It gives you a chance to release any pain, hurt and it helps take that weight off your shoulders. By bottling it all up, you’re keeping all that negativity inside you and carrying that around.
Some people might not believe me with this but I used to forget to breathe. Yes…something that should be a natural instinct, I sometimes forgot to do. I would have moments where I’d actually realise I was holding my breathe and I’d have to say in my head “Emma, breathe!” and I’d let out this long sigh. This was something that happened on a regular basis for me. I never realised I was holding my breath till my body clicked and told me “Emma, you need to breathe if you want to survive”. Breathing helps you tune into your intuition and relaxes your mind. Looking back I think my body would hold my breath whenever I was anxious. Mostly in social situations or when I was at work. My ‘normal’ breathing was very short and shallow, which led to my body constantly being tight and uncomfortable. This year I haven’t had to tell myself to breathe, but I’m also a lot let anxious and my depression and PTSD has pretty much gone! Every night when I lie in bed I like to do some slow, deep breathing. It helps me drift off to sleep and releases any tension I have built up throughout my day. When I’m out in public and maybe feeling slightly anxious I’ll do some deep breathing. It’s such a simple technique that you can do pretty much anywhere and it benefits your mind and body!
In this day and age it’s a lot easier to grab some fast food rather than taking the time to prepare a healthier meal. I briefly touched up on my previous diets in another article which you can read by clicking here. Fast food usually contains excess fat, sugars unhealthy chemicals and caffeine all of which can have a negative impact on your body. I’ll admit, changing my diet has been difficult, but it’s why I did it gradually. That way my body didn’t go into a state of shock if I ate an apple. To be healthy you kinda need to eat healthy food. Healthy food nourishes your body with natural vitamins, proteins and anti-oxidants as well as providing you with energy. I inhale my food. I can 100% promise you now, that you will never ever meet anybody else who can demolish a meal as quick as me. Me and my friends have tried to come up with different theories as to why I eat so quickly and we are still baffled by it now. Whenever we go out for a meal I always finish at least 10 minutes before everybody else, however I have made some improvements! I am trying to eat slowly, but not gonna lie, it’s a real challenge for me. I’m cutting my food up into smaller portions and I’m trying to count how many times I chew my food. When I first started this I used to chew my food a maximum of 4 times (depending on what I ate) before I swallowed. I’m now trying to chew at least 10 times before I swallow and it’s one of the hardest skills I’ve ever had to learn. I don’t know how some people do it! But I’ve noticed, in the past month or so I am sometimes finishing my meals after my friends/family are! Which is massive progress! Taking the time to create healthy food for yourself is a lot more rewarding than getting something ready made and unhealthy.
Everybody knows exercise has many benefits, but it can be so hard to get moving! I’ve always been quite active, but when I moved back home and got myself an office job I found it a lot harder to motivate myself to move. So again I changed this gradually! All my exercises are done in my bedroom or around my home. I use what I have around me! When I’m brushing my teeth I do some squats. Instead of bending over to get something, squat down to get it! Can’t be arsed going for a run? Run upstairs! At least you’ve done something! I know when you suffer from a mental illness it’s very hard to get moving when all you want to do is stay in your shell, but the feeling I got when I finished even a little bit of exercise was amazing! I was proud of myself and I felt more energetic and upbeat. Over the past few months I’ve gone from doing just a few sit ups and squats to crunches, planks, leg lifts, yoga, weight training and I try walking to places now rather than drive (depending on the weather of course!).
- Listen To Your Body.
Recognise your body language and what your body is telling you. Understand when your body needs a rest or when it needs to release excess energy. Ignoring our body talk can lead to stress, anxiety, tension, fear or frustration. Do some stretches, go for a walk, have a pamper evening. Remember your body is a temple and should be treated like one. Even practising meditation can help you figure out if your body is tired, stressed, tense or healthy, happy and relaxed.
- Be Creative.
Being creative gives you the opportunity to learn, expand and discover your talents. It helps release any built up negative emotions and provides your mind with a break from the real world. Creativity can lead to you feeling more inspired and imaginative. I swear by colouring! It’s a childhood favourite that has so many benefits to adults too. It allows you to be creative and there are no rules to follow. If you want to colour the sky pink you colour that sky pink! Colour whatever you want! Find activities that allow you to express yourself creatively!
Black used to be my favourite colour when it came to clothing. I’m off to Cape Verde in a week or so and I’ve realised how depressed I was, as near enough all of my clothes are black. So me and mum went shopping the other weekend and we bought a new colourful wardrobe! Colours can have a big impact on how we feel. For example if I was to walk into a room filled with black, grey or silver furniture/walls I’d thing “Oooh stylish” but once I spend some time in that room I’d start to feel heavy and tired. Where as when I walk into a room that is filled with white, cream or blue colours I instantly feel peaceful and content. Become aware of what colour make you feel what. Notice what colours make you feel great and positive. Bring some colourful flowers into your home, paint your walls, wear that blue skirt or pink top. Experiment with colours to find which ones really make you feel good!
Focus on all the good things in your life. Trust me I know how hard this can be, which is why I created my journal. You can read about it here. My journal allowed me to focus on the positives in my life. It took my attention away from all the negatives and it gave me a different point of view. It made me realise that my life could be a lot worse, and it made me so thankful for what I have now. I’ll admit at first it was hard for me to find something positive to write about, but I realised I could write about whatever! It could have been about a compliment I received, something I did that made me feel good. It could have been about just getting out of bed that day. Make gratitude your attitude and you will see life from a whole new perspective.
I have quite possibly one of the most embarrassing laughs on this planet. It seems to make other people laugh more than the joke itself but I love to laugh! I laugh at pretty much anything. But I think for a long time people have thought that they had to have a reason to laugh. You can start laughing right now if you wanted! I am! Laughter is a huge benefit to our minds and bodies! So much so that there are laughter clubs, laughter yoga classes and laughter therapy! Looking at life from a humorous angle can help you release stress, pain and tension as well as giving you a new insight to life.
These are the 10 principles I followed to help heal myself and to create a positive mind set. It’s not been easy of course, but it’s been a journey that I have enjoyed.
They are realistic principles that don’t necessarily ask too much of you, and can all be done in the comfort of your own home. Try some of the principles out for yourself and see if you notice anything different!
Sending positive vibes to you all!
Love you all lots,