I once found myself in a conversation with a friend discussing holistic practices to soothe symptoms of mental illness. He was interested in approaching his situation with a more holistic approach. Many people in our society would like for you to believe that these practices are bunk science. That’s because, yes, some of them are. This is where it becomes incredibly important to discuss this topic with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. Symptoms of mental illness are not only realistically treatable through pharmaceuticals. I believe that pharmaceuticals, overall, are a way to ease we suffering while we do our healing. Without the healing, we remain an open wound that only being treated for it’s pain. At this point, I’d like to make it very clear that my only knowledge on this comes from my own journey and experience with mental health. I am not a licensed professional. What I am is a person who suffers and is actively healing from diagnosed a mental illness. The thing about C-PTSD is that it’s an umbrella in which many other diagnosis fall under. These include Depression, Anxiety, Dissociation, ADD, OCD, Eating Disorders, Codependency, and Trichotillomania. All of which I currently deal with or have dealt with in my life.
I’ve spent a lot time now dedicated to treating my mental illness naturally and holistically. A method that was approved and met with encouragement by my therapist. I should include that getting this method approved by a professional is of the utmost importance. This is because there are varying degrees of mental illness, some of which require more medical intervention than others. This natural and holistic method takes time and the effects are not immediate. If you’re suffering on a level in which you believe you’re a harm to yourself or others (mentally or physically) seek the approval of a professional before you commit to a completely natural approach. Natural or not, holistic healing is an approach that everyone can take. Holistic healing isn’t as “woo woo” as it’s been made out to be. It involves the idea of treating the person as a whole to achieve wellness. Mind, body, and spirit. I’ll be touching base on this frequently. Nearly everything I do in my life is a mindful and conscious activity to keep my mental health right where it needs to be. I can actually say that through many holistic practices, diet change, lifestyle change, and through CBT – I feel well. Holistic healing often means changing many of your habits that formed from your truama. Remember, what works for some does not work for all. What works for “all” does not work for some.
One of the most recommended, highly studied, and well-respected holistic practices is Meditation. When I recommend meditation to friends, I’m often met with either – “I just don’t have the time.” or “That doesn’t actually work.” Yes, you do. Yes, it does. All you need is 5-10 minutes every morning to dedicate to yourself. This may mean waking up a bit earlier than usual and it may mean having to fight against your own negative thoughts telling you that it’s not worth it and that you can’t do it. Try your hardest. You deserve this. You deserve to start your day off dedicated to yourself. You deserve at least 5 minutes of your day to dedicate to appreciating your existence. Again, I’m not saying that it’s easy, but you’ll realize that it’s worth the effort.
Here are 4 ways to have a successful morning meditation –
1. Create a sense of space
Setting the stage for meditation can at times be as important as the act itself. Our environments can often trigger feelings of anxiety or unease even when we close our eyes for our meditation. My meditation spot is my own sanctuary complete with floor pillows, incense, candles, crystals, and all other things that inspire my mind to reach past my body. You can create this space where ever it is you’ll be doing your meditation. Even if you find yourself having to work your meditation into your drive to work – decorate the inside with little bits of peace. Yes, meditation ca be done with your eyes open. On a Budget? Your local Dollar Tree has many candles, incense, and even oil burners all for $1!
2. Use Guided Meditations
Something that holds a lot of us back with mediation is uncertainty of how to do it. Meditation isn’t always just clearing and silencing the mind. It can also mean meditating ON something – an idea, a word, an affirmation, a mantra. I find that guided meditations are the most helpful for me. They help me tell myself all the things that I have trouble with saying, knowing, and believing. They can take your meditation to the next level and really promote healing loving thoughts. People in recovery are often not yet able to tap into their own self love. Guided Meditations help set you on the right path. Download the Insight Timer app for hundreds of completely FREE guided meditations categorized by mood, need, situation, or feeling.
3. Don’t Guilt Yourself
I often find that I often stop myself from doing things that seem “selfish” or self-serving. Why would I take the time to do this when I have 1,000 other things that I need to accomplish today? Because you deserve it. Do not be a martyr to your life. Do not allow yourself to always suffer so that others can avoid inconvenience. Don’t guilt yourself for needing to care for your own well-being. You are just as important. Remember that nothing in your life will suffer from taking 5 minutes to yourself, but everything may start to get better if you do.
4. Express Gratitude
In a study on holistic approaches to mental health, one of the most effective and transformative methods was the self expression of gratitude. If we take time to think about the things we are grateful for, it can powerfully aid in how we view our world. In our Western society, we’re often taught to focus on what we don’t have. We put energy into it. We feed it. The power of gratitude is what happens when we put energy into everything we do have. You will really, truly never have everything you want until you realize that you want everything you already have. Everything you have right now is enough for this moment. As you work toward growing your life, career, or family know that everything – all the while – is perfect in this exact moment. Remind yourself how truly blessed you are to have all the things that you do. All the little things that bring you peace. All the big things that keep you safe, healthy, and warm. Name those things out loud. Say why it is you’re grateful for them. It just might help.
Please feel free to share your experiences, ask questions, or simply extend your positivity.