Time to Heal
We all know the feeling. You move your neck back and forth to realize it feels tight. Your jaw aches because you are clenching. Your heart beats faster. You hold your breath without realizing it. Thoughts race with an overwhelming realization that you cannot get it all done.
You wake throughout the night only to be more restless yet tired the next day. Irritability and anxiety grow.
Because of this past year, health specialists report that more than 40% of Americans could be diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety. No need to discuss why—we all know why. It’s time to discuss strategies for healing.
- Breathe. Slow the body’s stress response – take a moment to slowly, deliberately and mindfully breathe.
- Nurture self. Rejuvenate by using sound or touch. Listen to music that relaxes, inspires, calms or motivates you. Become aware of your child’s laughter or the sound of a deep, peaceful breath. Pay attention to the gentle whisper of the wind. Lean into the warmth of the sun. Cuddle up in your favorite shirt or wrap up in your favorite blanket. Feel your breath as you slowly and mindfully breathe in and out.
- Prayer. Spend meaningful time with God every day. Speak genuinely to God about your fears, needs, thoughts and gratitude. Slow down to see “God nods”—the little things amid the storm that remind us of hope. It might come in the form of a returning hummingbird that has been absent for a year, an unexpected call, a child’s smile or a breathtaking sunset. When you see one, rest in it.
- Gratitude. In times of uncertainty, it is easy to dwell on the things that are wrong, went wrong or could go wrong. Resilience grows as we mindfully focus on the things that are going right.
- Practice acceptance. Work to understand a situation “as it is” rather than pleading or demanding it to be what you want. As you accept a situation “as it is,” you can then make deliberate, mindful decisions in how you choose to cope with it. Acceptance allows for resilience because it allows you to move forward.
- It’s okay to not be okay. You may experience episodes of sadness, restlessness, anxiety, panic, irritability and anger. Let it happen. Feel it. Observe it. Breathe through it. Then, let it go and move forward one moment at a time.
- Manage the manageable. When you focus on things you cannot control, you feel overwhelmed and helpless. By mindfully and deliberately putting your energy on what you CAN control rather than on what you cannot, you take back your power, peace and serenity.
- Encouragement. As anxious thoughts create distress, focus on fact rather than opinion. Push away those negative assumptions and replace them with positive, celebratory certainties—both big and small.
Practice one of these strategies daily for a week to begin finding your internal peace and comfort. It is time to heal.
Because of this past year, health specialists report that more than 40% of Americans could be diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety.