Pain from the past can build up and fester within us. These 7 steps will help you alleviate that pain and move forward to a more mindful state.
Emotional Trauma Build Up?
Are you dealing with pain from the past? Sometimes we have unresolved and painful emotions that we need to face head-on. Doing so ultimately brings us peace of mind and harmony not only with the person, issue, or event but it’s also essential to maintaining mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health and well-being. Hiding, burying, denying emotional pain compounds the matter and the unresolved emotion only resurfaces, albeit in time, much stronger. This toxicity can manifest as insomnia, hostility and anger, or fear and anxiety.
Further, it’s essential to learn how to process these feelings of anger and fear lest you internalize these highly charged emotions and falsely begin believing the issue is your fault. Guilt is one of the single most destructive and worthless emotions, depleting not only our spiritual life force but impacting our physical and emotional self through feelings of exhaustion, apathy, and ultimately depression.
The good news? You can learn to quickly identify these painful emotions and in moments dissipate them from your space.
Metabolize Trauma and Pain in 7 Steps
Pain is a very normal part of life. Suffering, however, is not. So, knowing how to deal with and process pain is the doorway to stopping the toxic, turmoil filled emotions. When you learn how to process, deal, and cope with pain, the suffering ceases to be. It’s that simple.
1. Where is the Pain in my Body?
In a comfortable, upright and seated position, with your bare feet on the ground, soften your gaze. Pay attention to your breath. Breathe in and out, drawing your attention inward. Be with the silence and be thoughtless.
Next, recollect an incident or situation in the recent past that brought you concern, upset, or even anger. Perhaps someone spoke harshly to you. Were you mistreated? A disagreement or injustice with a friend, family member, or coworker? Bring this memory to the forefront and identify every aspect of it.
Take some time now to hone into the details about this emotion filled incident. In your mind’s eye, picture the event unraveling. What was the specific course of events? What were you wearing? Where were you? Who was near? What were they wearing? What do you hear? As if you were a newspaper reporter, recall as vividly as possible, all the details. As you are doing this you are an observer of this event, disengaged from it, and report from a neutral perspective. Resist going into the emotion of the event. You are not the event, the argument, or the emotion you see. Rather, you are purely a bystander or witness. You might imagine you are watching a movie in a movie theatre. In your meditative space you have a unique vantage point of calm, disengaged observation only. You cannot be pulled into the drama and intensity of the emotions.
Now then, begin to identify exactly what you are feeling. If you could describe the incident and what you are experiencing in one word, what would that be? Think for a moment and be as clear, succinct and precise as possible as you search for the word. Are you feeling disrespected? Victimized? Dishonored? Embarrassed? Disappointed? Give the emotion or feeling you hold a name that accurately describes this poignant and painful experience. Once you have found this word, focus absolute attention on that word. Say it out loud three times.
2. Be an Observer of the Pain and the Related Experience
Next, bring your attention inward to your physical body, releasing all thoughts or concerns about the world around you for the time being. Make an agreement with your subconscious self that you’ll go back to all that later. Notice any physical sensations inside or outside your body as you have identified the emotion.
The perspective you hold in your mind and the literal physical sensation in the body, coupled, are essentially emotion. They come hand in hand, collectively. They are one. So, this is why we use the term feeling—because we feel emotions in our physical body.
Let your attention pass through your body as you’re recalling this experience. Locate the sensations the memory brings up. For many it’s a pressure in the chest or a sensation of tightness in the gut. Some feel it as pressure in their throat. Find where it is in your body that you’re feeling and holding the emotional experience.
3. Communicate the Emotion
Did you know that when you verbally express, you release the feeling? We’ll do that now. Vocalize and express that feeling. Rub your hands together for a few moments and then place them on the part of your body where the feeling is emanating from. Say it out loud: “It hurts here. I feel pain here.” There might be more than one location. If so, put your hands on each part of your body in pain. With your hands resting at each location, take a moment to inhale and exhale and then restate what you’re feeling and say out loud, “It hurts here. I feel pain here.”
Understand that your body and every cell of your body knows when you feel pain. Do your best to make peace with, embrace, or even befriend these sensations. Believe it or not there is wisdom, learning and forward momentum in the experience of pain. It is leading you to a broader, richer, and more whole you. This experience of physical discomfort through pain is telling you something is unbalanced in your life experience—physically, mentally, or spiritually.
You might also consider expressing your feelings through writing or journaling to find even more release and resolve of this emotion.
4. State Out Loud, “I am Taking Ownership.”
Understand that your pain equates to your feelings. In essence, pain equals emotional feelings. These emotions and feelings are taking place in your body as you remember the pain, even though nothing is taking place in the material world. In your recalling, your body is reacting with real physiological processes like muscle contractions, hormonal secretions, and other physical sensations—just because of memory recall! What’s more, even when the painful incident was occurring in the material world (not by recall as we are doing today) the effect was entirely within you. So, this lets you begin to understand that you have more control than you realize. You literally have a choice in how you interpret and respond to emotional turbulence. As you begin to make this recognition and awareness, you begin to take ownership and responsibility for your feelings.
What to do next: Let go of any guilt feelings about this. Rather, recognize your ability to respond to painful situations in a new way. By taking ownership for your feelings, you can also gain the power to make the pain melt away. You’re no longer blaming anyone else for having caused the pain, so you no longer must depend on anyone else to make it go away. Resonate in this new understanding for the next few moments.
5. Resolve and Release the Emotion Now
Go back to the part of your body where you’re holding pain. Gaze here, hold your energy and focus here for a few moments. Breathe in and breathe out. With every exhale, image breathing out the pain. Visualize the pain as a mist, give it a color and watch it dissipate up and away. Stay in this very powerful sacred space for several moments as you focus with clear and deliberate intention to feel the pain release and leave your body. You might notice a wave of emotion release … tears, vibration, or tingling in your body). You might notice a spontaneous verbal release … a guttural sound or audible tone of some kind. This is the pain releasing through sounds of expression. Others may need to get up and move, bend over and let their head and body hang, stretch, or even dance. This is perfectly fine and is more release through physical movement. If you took time to release by written expression, it’s perfectly reasonable, and even considered a powerful kind of emotional release ritual to burn the paper and offer the ashes to the earth, wind, or water.
6. Celebrate with Your Peeps
We have our support group of family and friends for a reason. When you share the outcome of this power exercise of releasing your pain you are literally activating a new pattern of behavior on the heels of the old painful pattern being released.
You might even imagine speaking to the person who was involved in that original painful incident. What would you say to that person now? Do keep in mind that he/she was not really the true cause of your pain. The true cause was your response.
Now, having transformed and released, you are liberated and set free so you can share with others without blame, manipulation, or seeking approval.
7. Rest Your Head in Peace of Mind
Most importantly, take some time to celebrate … the painful experience was the very thing that helped you move to a higher state of being and transform into this new level of consciousness.
Rather than responding to the situation with a pain reflex which served to only perpetuate the problem, you’ve created an opportunity for spiritual transformation. That is indeed something to celebrate! Take some “me time”!
Remember that you can repeat this exercise whenever you feel upset to free yourself from emotional turmoil and the underlying pain.