Category Archives: Emotions

Changing the Focus

A big part of healing is Changing the Focus. One of the challenges of responding to Emotional Abuse and recovering from Emotional Abuse is that Verbal abuse and other forms of emotional abuse focus the mind on the negative. In psychological terms, the emotional abuse orients the brain toward negativity. Some of the goals of emotional abuse are to throw you off balance, stun or shame you, or transfer blame. The solution involves reorienting, whether it’s responding differently to an emotional attack or recovering from a history of emotional abuse.

In this blog, I’d like to focus recovery by giving a few tips for Creating Shift from a history of emotional abuse. (A ToolKit for Healing covers responding to Verbal Abuse in detail.) Yes, the brain Is wired to respond to dangerous signals. It is also wired toward advantage and, in social creatures, toward sharing with others to benefit the whole, although the later habit usually also involves socialization. These brain habits can be diminished through lack of recovery from emotional abuse and repetitive emotional abuse. gratitude is the hearts memory

Reorientlng from emotional abuse involves recovering the habit of wellbeing, of being at ease in one’s skin. When one is able to reorient, one recovers at sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. Here are some activities to practice on a regular basis:

Cultivate the habit of breathing deeply and evenly.

  • Make a list of all the positive things that anyone has ever said about you. Update it regularly. “Take it out and review it whenever you feel stuck or down. Ask yourself, “Which one of these attributes would be most beneficial for me to embody now?” “What is the best way for me to embody this attribute(s) now?” “What essence(s) are revealed in these comments?” (Essences are qualities like Love, Peace, Wholeness, Joy, Serenity, Value, Truth, Power, Wisdom, Intelligence, Clarity, Creativity, Awe, Courage, Freedom and Presence.)
  • Every night before you go to sleep, list 10 things that you enjoyed and appreciated about the day (or about your life). This practice helps with low grade anxiety that is interfering with sleep. If your mind tends to gravitate toward the problems in your life without finding solutions that trigger a sense of ease, this exercise is especially important for you.
  • Learn to appreciate and accept complements. Breathe in the complement, smile, and say, “Thanks!” If there is a detail about whatever was complemented, say it. For instance, if an article of clothing is complemented, you might add, “It’s my favorite color.” Accepting complements is part of getting the good of life. And it’s also about connecting with others. People get stuck on whether they agree with the complement (especially if they are feeling out of sorts), and neglect the fact that receiving a complement means someone is trying to connect with you.
  • A way to physical reorient from trauma in general is to look around and focus on physical objects that you find attractive or soothing. Focus on the details of one and then another, and then another, until you feel calm and centered. Your heart has stopped racing, your mind has stopped racing, the butterflies have stopped fluttering, your breathing is easy and relaxed, and your muscles are loose or have at least released their tight grip.

These are just a few ways of Changing the Focus and Creating Shift. What are yours?

©NoreenWedman2014

Reclaiming Positive Emotions

Reclaiming Yourself through Reclaiming Positive Emotional States

Focusing on any positive feeling state helps shifts the Focus on the Negative that tends to be a legacy from highly stressed family systems (with addicted, emotionally abusive, and/or mentally ill parents). When focusing on the negative becomes a habit over time, we can lose touch with what it is like to feel okay in our own bodies. You can reverse this habit by spending some time each day focusing on some positive emotional state by remembering times you felt that emotion.*

Since we tend to experience feelings that we most recently felt, making a conscious effort to remember a feeling state will increase the likelihood that you will experience this emotion again soon. This habit will create a self-fulfilling prophesy effect that is positive because it subconsciously shifts behaviors. The first time I tried this experiment for myself, I felt the stresses of life were crowding out feeling loving and being loved, so I retrieved memories of different types of love with different people. The next day I found that more people were smiling at me. Then I realized that I had been smiling more than usual, so of course, more people were smiling back!

Are you willing to try the experiment? What emotion haven’t you felt in a while or what emotion would you like to feel more frequently? Even if you can only imagine glimpses of this emotional state, that is sufficient. Spend at least 5 minutes or more in solitude remembering what it is like to feel this feeling. Actively pull up a memory or memories of feeling this emotion. I think that just before sleeping is a good time for the positive feelings to be “incubated.” Keep repeating this experiment until you have ready access to this emotion as appropriate, i.e. courage when you need courage, serenity when engaged in your daily routines, joy in response to life’s splendors, etc.

*Note that this exercise is not meant to be used as a substitute for experiencing painful feeling in response to painful events – the goal is ready access to all your feelings as needed. For more tips on Healing from Emotionally Abusive Relationships, order the workbook: http://toolkitforhealing.com.

©Noreen Wedman 2011

Uses of Thanks Giving

When times are difficult, it can be very difficult for us to find gratitude in our hearts. Of course, when times are tough is when we need it most. I am not referring to the saccharine admonishments we have all heard from others, like “Cheer up! It could be worse!” Nor am I referring to Gratitude used as a deterrent to grieving – doing that can keep us as stuck as wallowing in self-pity. Gratitude is more like taking an inventory of what we still have on stock, which can be heartening and energizing, and easier to do as shock and grief begin to subside. Continue reading