Americans do not have good mental and emotional hygiene. Few of us were taught that one of the keys to mental health is to honor and experience our emotions as they come up, or within a reasonable amount of time after the experience that brings them up.
As children, we were encouraged to bury feelings and move forward. “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” “Suck it up.” “Oh that is nothing, you aren’t even hurt, stop crying.” “There is nothing under your bed or in your closet, go to sleep.” These phrases spoken to us by exhausted or hurried parents not realizing the long term effects of not processing feelings of pain, grief, disappointment or fear.
Armed with these lessons, we set out on our lives with varying degrees of success. If our early childhood resembles the above lessons, you are probably fine but may, through the pace of life, have chosen to focus only on those feelings that are considered positive or good.
However, if you had a childhood with an alcoholic or addicted parent, unhappy parents who neglected you, violent or volatile parents, or you suffered abuse in any other of a million ways, you may now be a master at burying your feelings.
You may be one of millions of Americans who use control as a safety measure to feel safe and secure. Whether you control the food you eat–when or how much, the physical environment–being highly organized and cleanly, or maybe you move every time you are feeling disenchanted or unsatisfied. These are just a few of the ways that unhealed wounds are mitigated.
We may have never dealt with the underlying situation that began our heightened emotional state because we were kids when it happened and we were not in control of our care. As a result, we adopted behaviors that made us feel safe or that we indeed had control over amidst the chaos all around us.
Our current situation, social distancing and shelter in place orders, is likely to bring up all those old feelings of loss of control, fear, pain, grief. Combine that with our inability to properly use our survival skills because of shelter in place and many with unhealed wounds are in a pressure cooker.
If you are someone who is struggling to keep emotions in check during this time, here are a few tools to help you as feelings escalate.
If you are in the situation and tempers are flaring, take a beat and see if you can de-escalate the growing tension using one of the flowing methods.
- Take a breath and pause
- Respond rationally rather than emotionally
- Speak in a low, calm voice
- Remember, you do not have to prove yourself
- Decide the value of the argument early on
- Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes & keep an open mind
- Learn to disagree with respect & find common ground
There are tools you can use to help avoid arguments all together. Our bodies are energetic machines. Stress can send our system into fight/flight/freeze states. Our mind is unable to help us manage our way out of stress due to our physical response to this state. These two meditations help us avoid falling into this state.
- Create a small routine of meditating to ground your energy into your body and your body into the earth. This can do wonders to calm you, center you, and allow yourself to find solutions.
- Clear your energy field. As empaths, we carry around a lot of the energy we pick up from others. Their pain, fear, grief, beliefs, etc. Having all of this extra junk in our field affects our health, our thought process, and our emotions.
Proper care and maintenance can protect our energy system from being overloaded and shutting down vital access to our mind and physical body. I have two short recordings you can access if you have never done these practices before now. Listen to meditations.
A Rise in Domestic Violence
There is a rise in domestic and child abuse during this time as our ways of managing our emotions are stripped away. This means people who have never perpetrated abuse are acting in anger and violence creating deep sorrow, grief, and confusion for people who have never experienced domestic violence in their relationships or families.
If you or someone you love is experiencing situations they haven’t had to manage in the past, take some time and explore your area’s resources for help during the shelter in place order.
If you need help during the shelter at home order, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522.
If you have secure internet access, explore their website to learn more about what domestic violence looks like during COVID-19 especially and to understand how gaslighting works.
Seeking out Healing
The shelter in place order is officially in effect until April 30th and may, in fact, last much longer. If you would like to begin work on changing some of the behaviors and patterns that no longer serve you, therapists and energy workers are still working with people over the phone or by video during the COVID-19 experience.
There is still a lot you can do to free yourself from patterns that limit your joy and create havoc in your life. There are many methods to work with and in the coming week, I will put together a resources list but in the meantime, check out Alignment to learn more about my work or email me if you would like referrals to different healers and modalities.