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Coping, processing, and healing.

As a society, we have many coping mechanisms that are widely accepted. For example, we are told to “get over it,” “suck it up,” “walk it off.” Maybe we heard, “It’s not that bad,” and so on. This mentality can be helpful in the moment when the stakes are high, and the circumstances don’t afford us an opportunity to take a moment to stop and reflect. The problem with it is that we (as a society and as individuals) often stop there. These coping mechanisms often turn into ways to avoid having to deal with things at all. “It’s not that bad” often turns into “mine isn’t bad so it’s not worth talking about.” This process of turning coping mechanisms into repression keeps us stuck in a cycle of avoidance that is difficult to escape.

A healthier approach to this might be to ignore the physical, mental, or emotional distress in the moment, but to then take the time to process these sensations and feelings at a later point. Processing the events in our lives creates a greater self awareness and increases our emotional intelligence–two things that are usually lacking in many of us, especially men. As a society, we lack processing and healing mechanisms on any meaningful scale. This trend does seem to be changing as mental health, self awareness, and emotional intelligence are topics that are more widely discussed and addressed.

Learning the skills required to process and heal my mind and body has been a large part of my own personal growth. Even small adjustments like adding yoga and self massage into my daily routine to care for my body has had a huge impact on the way I feel in my own body, and how I relate to those around me. For years I felt older than my age, now I feel younger and more energetic. I also trust my body more. When I get up I don’t feel pain or groan, and when I need to lift or move something I no longer feel the stress of potentially injuring myself. Learning to trust my body again after years of neglect is incredibly empowering!

There are so many incredible options available to us and the number and variety of them continues to grow. Adding self care routines such as yoga, exercise, massage, bodywork, and meditation to our lives can have an amazingly positive impact on the quality and trajectory of our lives. These routines allow us to physically, mentally, and emotionally process our experiences.

Many methods have been devised to heal trauma and with every year we see more people embrace the support provided for us in healing trauma such as psychotherapy, trauma touch therapy, coaching, and so many others!

While there are many opinions on the right or wrong of so many holistic and medical healing modalities, I find one thing to be consistently true: Every time we make the effort to care for ourselves, we create more beauty and peace in the world. As my wonderful wife is fond of saying, “All acts of self care are holy.”

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