Uncover, Recover and Discover: Overcoming the Stress, Trauma and Drama of Everyday Living

Uncover, Recover and Discover:   Overcoming the Stress, Trauma and Drama of Everyday Living
Uncover, Recover and Discover: Overcoming the Stress, Trauma and Drama of Everyday Living

I recently presented EQ, IQ or No Clue: Creating Emotionally Intelligent Relationships to the Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association. As part of my preparation, I re-read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman and was reminded of just how delicate we are when it comes to the stressors, changes and shocks of life.

In other words, we are all subject, at some point in our lives, to stress, trauma, and drama of everyday living.

What we do with that trauma, drama and stress, however, makes all the difference between being a recovering survivor and thriver, or stuck in the muck of victimhood.

Practicing psychotherapy for over 30 years has taught me a number of humbling lessons. Most of these insights are simple, but not always easy to implement, hence, my encouragement to you to reach out for help when you need it.

Even the best brain surgeon in the world would never think about operating on his or her own brain. Likewise, to think that we can heal ourselves completely by ourselves only sets us up for recurring stress, trauma and drama.

Even if you’ve been to see a therapist or other professional, you’ll likely find these resources, at the very least, to be good reminders.

  1. Breath. This is the simplest and most overlooked intervention to a healthier and happier life. It’s quite a shame that we haven’t been taught this basic life mechanism more thoroughly. A few breathing breaks every day will help you alleviate stress. Being more conscious of your breathing will help create more calm, peace and relaxation for your mind and body.

  2. Gratitude. Counting what you’re grateful for is the best practice you can give to yourself. I have a morning ritual. I write 3 specific things about the previous day that went well that I’m extremely grateful for. It doesn’t matter how “big” or “small” these things are. What’s important is to recognize and embrace them. Starting the day off with positive thoughts sets the tone for the rest of the day.

  3. Friends. I’ve quoted The Beatles lyrics, “I get by with a little help from my friends,” many times because there is so much truth in it. I’m convinced that at least half of the healing power of therapy is in the sharing of stress, trauma and drama with someone who listens well. Reach out to friends who are healthy, empathetic listeners. They will help bring more peace and calm to your mind, body and soul.

  4. Writing. Writing can be extraordinarily healing. Why? When we write, we slow down our thinking (we write at least 100 times slower that we think) and give ourselves an opportunity to look at events in a more rational way. Additionally, being able to review something gives us a chance to reframe it in a more neutral (or maybe even positive) perspective.

  5. Movement. Moving your body, as simple as it seems, can change how you feel. Moving outside gives you fresh air, sunshine AND body movement, which are like vitamins for our minds.

  6. Turning off and tuning out. Remove yourself from electronics and media. Take a break. Do this frequently and regularly. If anything important happens that you need to know about, you’ll be informed. Seriously; unplug and create some serenity time.

Breath. Gratitude. Friends. Writing. Movement. Turning off and tuning out. None of these are substitutes for good psychotherapy, but they provide a healthy foundation to uncover, recover and discover new ways to overcome everyday stress, trauma and drama!!

Now, it’s your turn to implement some, most or all of these simple tactics into your everyday living. Your mind, body and soul will be happy that you did!! Let me know how it goes, as well as other tactics you use to better cope with life and strife.

About Ken Donaldson

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