Health News Digest
November 16, 2008
Peace of Mind Ė Help to Change
a Stressful, Unfulfilling Life
By Dawn Zurlinden
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Imagine that you can be completely happy, all the time. If you already are, you know
itís possible. If not, have you told yourself itís not possible? If you could believe itís possible, would you
then be willing to take your life into your own hands and begin to transform it? The truth is you donít even
have to believe itís possible. You only have to be willing to try some changes.
See the Problem
It may be hard to imagine complete happiness, but itís not as hard to imagine what is getting in the way of it.
Many things may be obvious, such as stress from responsibilities and worry about the future. Perhaps the ailing
economy, job security, or the health and welfare of your children has you on the edge of your seat. Add to that,
current issues, such as your overly burdened schedule, lack of self-care, or even worse, a growing or full-blown
addiction. And perhaps youíre lugging along the weight of the past: resentments that play over and over in your
head that interfere with current relationships; incomplete acceptance of the death of a loved one, broken dreams
or relationships. And then there are the more obscure specters from the past Ė imprints from unresolved events
of abuse and trauma.
What all these obstacles to happiness have in common is that they create anxiety. You can get so used to worry,
resentment or a hectic lifestyle that you may not even recognize that you are no longer all that happy. One of
the most common symptoms of anxiety is feeling emotionally disconnected. How can you tell youíre disconnected?
Recall fully, for a moment, how you felt during the best part of your life. If it doesnít match today, thereís
a good chance youíre emotionally shut down Ė not feeling. This is only being half alive!
Itís clear to professionals that trauma or loss causes us to create some sort of emotional coping strategy.
Often the strategy is to emotionally or mentally shut off. This makes it even harder to recognize that trauma
happened. Did you know that witnessing abuse causes trauma? So do losses such as an absentee parent. Sometimes
more obvious symptoms of anxiety emerge, such as nervousness, poor concentration, irritability, insomnia,
physical illnesses, even ragefulness. It only stands to reason that heavy artillery would be applied to such an
uncomfortable state, such as drugs, alcohol, food, or compulsive behaviors such as exercise, overly focusing on
the future, shopping, reading, overly focusing on helping others, you name it! Thereís also resignation and
re-doubled emotional shut-down.
Anxiety or emotional disconnection is truly illness. Itís illness to your physical body, your relationships,
your lifestyle, and your sense of spirituality. If you want true health and happiness there are some fantastic
methods to achieve this. All thatís required is a willingness to try something Ė to take an action. Not blaming
others, circumstances or fate for your current problems makes action possible.
See the Solutions
Well, it looks like youíre already taking an action Ė youíre reading about solutions. There are many ďhome
remediesĒ below. If you havenít tried one (with real effort) within three days of reading this, move on to
Learn meditation and relaxation techniques. Take two minutes to sit and breathe each hour. This one thing can
change your life.
Eat healthily, drink plenty of water, get 7-8 hours of sleep and 30 minutes of exercise daily.
Practice emotional housekeeping Ė Donít sweep emotions under the rug. Feel them through, or plan a time to
return to them for resolution. Then calmly create an action plan to address the internal or external
Set healthy boundaries, live in the present and have realistic expectations.
Stay connected to a supportive group of friends.
Find things that tickle you and have a good laugh!
First get a full assessment by a licensed social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist or pastoral counselor.
Then consider the following options:
Comprehensive residential healing programs such as those provided by The Ranch in Tennessee. These integrate
treatment for body, mind and Spirit. They address core issues, especially trauma and grief using
state-of-the-art techniques such as EMDR and Brainspotting. They address current issues such as compulsivity,
anxiety and depression. They teach a full range of coping skills and ways to change thinking, to provide for
emotional and spiritual connectedness.
Short intensive therapy programs such as those provided by Onsite, in Tennessee.
Spiritual retreat programs.
Individual, family or group therapy.
Massage, cranial-sacral therapy, or medical treatment for chronic physical symptoms.
Yoga, dance, Tai Chi and other martial arts.
Peace of mind is possible. Desire it and be willing to take an action!
Dawn Zurlinden, LCSW, is a Clinical Specialist
at The Ranch outside Nashville, TN.
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