Self healing is a process that involves all aspects of your being. Ancient teachings and modern science confirm that your body, mind and emotions are all part of one integrated system.
Using powerful practices like inner child work, boundary setting and deep relaxation, you can heal yourself emotionally. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Talk to yourself
Talking to yourself is often viewed as a sign of mental illness, but it’s actually very common. It is usually referred to as internal self-talk, and it can have many benefits including helping to regulate emotions and improve memory. However, it is important to recognize when self-talk is unhealthy or a cause for concern.
For example, self-talk that is demeaning or disparaging can cause a lot of stress and hold you back from succeeding. It is important to replace these negative thoughts with positive ones.
For instance, you can tell yourself things like “I love and appreciate myself” or “You are doing a good job.” You can also use motivational self-talk to help you push through challenges. According to research published in Acta Psychologica, participants who silently talked to themselves experienced less emotional reactivity and more self-control than those who did not talk to themselves. These positive messages can help you to become more mindful and effective in your healing journey.
2. Be grateful
Gratitude is an attitude, emotion, personality trait, mood and behavior. It has been shown to have positive health benefits including stress lowering, a stronger immune system and better sleep.
Studies also show that gratitude can help you to become more resilient and increase the strength of your relationships. People who feel grateful are often able to move forward after a negative experience and are more likely to focus on what they have instead of what is missing.
One of the best ways to practice gratitude is to spend a few minutes each day focusing on what you’re grateful for. This can be done on your own or with a gratitude buddy, someone you can check in with to share things you’re both thankful for. You can also spread gratitude by practicing compassion—calling someone, sending them a note or volunteering. Practicing these behaviors creates a trickle-down effect that can transform the world around you. Getting a daily dose of gratitude and compassion can help you heal.
3. Practice deep relaxation
Practicing deep relaxation, a state of restful calmness that triggers the opposite of the body’s fight or flight response, can help with self healing. Relaxation techniques generally involve slow, controlled breathing and a focus on one’s physical awareness. Some involve tensing and then releasing one’s muscles, and others focus on becoming attuned to each part of the body.
During this mental state, people are more receptive to positive affirmations and other self-healing tools. Dr. Miller has heard people describe this feeling of “deep, pervasive safety” as a key element in their ability to relive and release the shame and fear associated with their childhood traumas.
Several different relaxation techniques exist, including yoga, tai chi and qigong. If you try to incorporate relaxation into your daily routine, you can build a habit and eventually experience this relaxation response at will, even when you are under stress. Initially, however, it may take a bit of practice to get comfortable with a relaxation technique.
4. Practice self-compassion
Practicing self-compassion means being kind and understanding to yourself during moments of stress or suffering. It’s about treating yourself like you would treat a friend in distress, instead of judging and criticizing.
It’s about accepting your flaws and failures, as well as your strengths, talents, and unique qualities. It’s about understanding that life isn’t fair and that everyone suffers sometimes. It’s about reminding yourself that you have a common humanity with others, and that you can use your compassion to support them in times of need.
Practicing self-compassion isn’t easy at first, but it can become more natural over time. Some ways you can practice are by talking to yourself in a compassionate way, listening to soothing music or podcasts, watching funny videos (build up a “laugh library”), journaling, short walks, prayer, or meditation. Also, try touching your own arm with gentle pressure, as clinical psychologist Chris Germer suggests, and accompanying it with a silent, self-compassionate statement.