When trauma, what I think of as a Life Blow, finds you unable to move forward, breathe and wait. In time, you will be able to crawl forward and to make your way out of the swamp of despair. Remember as soon as you can start moving to embrace life’s small pleasures; each one fuels your forward progress.
Emotional Fitness Training Thoughts
Many therapists, and I am one, believe trauma lies at the core of most mental illnesses. Some are more genetically disposed to the ill effects of trauma, some are genetically disposed to recover quicker.
Marsha Linehan , who also believes trauma lies at the core of most mental illness, is a therapist extraordinaire. First, however, she was a seriously mentally ill teen diagnosed with schizophrenia, she endured electric shock treatments, a slew of psycho-tropic medications and was considered the most disturbed patient while at one of the most prestigious psychiatric hospitals. All she wanted to do was commit suicide. Go here to read her remarkable story of recovery.
Linehan has authored and co-authored many books, including two treatment manuals using what she dubbed the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, which adds Zen to the traditional cognitive-behavioral therapies.
She focuses on skills. When I say focus on small pleasures, I am suggesting thinking about what Linehan calls Improve the Moment advice. Here it is a short version.
I = Imagery - Use your imagination and fantasize about something pleasant or enjoyable.
M = Meaning - Look for the meaning and that most often means looking for the lesson, there is always a lesson.
P= Prayer - This means looking outside of yourself for meaning and help. Any heart felt thought sent to the universe whether religious or not is a prayer.
R = Relaxation - Learn and use a relaxation technique. I
O = One thing in the moment - Practicing mindfulness, being in the now, using EFT’s One Minute Meditation.
V = Vacationing - Which means stepping away, taking a time out, if even for a half an hour.
E = Encouragement - What would the most caring person from all the years of your life say to you that would help you keep moving ahead.
For a longer version and other skill building and self soothing ideas visit here.
A personal note. I was once accused of stealing Linehan’s ideas in order to create Emotional Fitness Training. I had never heard of her, but the accusation set me on a mission and I took a four day training. Felt I had found a therapist soul-mate. Moreover, I was just about to publish my second book – Parents Are People Too and after attending her training added a chepter about Radical Acceptance and quoting Linehan.
Her programs are mainly designed for the seriously mentally ill, while mine are for the unstressed, minimally stressed, seriously stressed and that includes those stressed by mental illness.
Emotional Fitness Training Tips
Tip one: Remember the power of a Calming Breath:
Here is how to take not just a deep breath, but a Calming Breath:
- Breathe in slowly to a count of five.
- Hold your breath for a count of five.
- Breathe out slowly to another count of five.
- As you breathe out, smile softly and say a silent “Ahhhhhh.”
Tip two: Be fully aware of the pleasure. The One Minute Meditation (OMM) builds full awareness; moreover, the OMM is an extension of a Calming Breath. You use it to focus on the pleasure.
- Take a Calming Breath.
- Breathe normally.
- Observe what it feels to just breathe in and breathe out.
- Indulge in the small pleasure of your choice. Mine is often a bit of chocolate or carame.l
- Continue breathing normally and indulging
- As you extend the exercise, occasionally, take another Calming Breath.
- When you are ready to end the exercise, take a final Calming Breathe and go on
Tip three: Indulge, but in moderation.
Tip four: Think about buying my eBook Self=soothing to Create Calm in Your Life. As with all of my eBooks, it costs less than an ice cream sunday and the good it does lasts long.
Tip five: Remember what matters: Trauma stops you from thinking about what matters. Trauma also pushes the desire to hurt those who hurt you. Hurting others leads away from the good life. Instead of revenge, focus on kindness, treating others as we wish to be treated, making your part of the world better, so the world becomes better for all
Thank You for All You Do
Thank me by remembering to share is to care; if you liked this post, share it. Liking, or commenting is practicing kindness and kindness keeps me going
This post was inspired by the Word Press Daily Post Prompt “Pleasure”
I use the Daily Prompts not just to spark my blog ideas, but to improve my critical thinking skills.
Not sure how to use a Daily Post Prompt as a writer? Here are the steps to get started. Then improve your thinking skills by seeing where the prompt has taken others and how other thoughts fuel your thoughts. Whether you write or not your thinking skills are improved by reading other people’s thoughts.
LINKS OF INTEREST
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (www.emotionalfitnesstraining.com
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)Emotional Fitness Tips for Parents (parentsarepeopletoo.com)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)