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Dec 24, 2014

Internal Support – Nursing an Injury

As I progress in my recovery, I am learning the importance of strengthening my internal support system. I am blessed to have people in my life who are assisting me in my rehabilitation process but I am realizing the value of creating my own form of internal support as well. My current counselor/coach has been challenging me over the last couple of years to begin engaging the “rational” part of my brain as I work through my thought processes and internal triggers. This has probably been one of my greatest challenges in terms of my treatment and recovery. Telling someone who is a “dreamer”, an “experiencer” and a “feeler” by nature to start leaning on “rationality” when they are addressing their pain, anxiety, etc. is like telling a cardio-junky to start weight-training regularly…difficult. 

As I go through this process, however, I notice a balance that is taking shape in my life. As I engage my “rational” parts I notice that these parts become stabilizers for my other, less-rational parts. I met with my personal trainer bright and early this morning and we decided to work on legs. She has an old knee injury that she is currently nursing and she is going to physical therapy to address it. I remember her telling me several weeks ago how important it is to strengthen the muscles around the area of an injury so as to create the necessary support for healing and recovery of that injury. As I recalled what she taught me, I made a very important mental connection. I understood how important it is to do the same while addressing our mental and emotional injuries. I put together in my mind how strengthening that rational pre-frontal cortex area of my brain is actually diminishing the effects that my “survival/reactive brain” has on me when I am triggered. As I engage and exercise that part of me, the irrational pieces of me are less affected. I understood that strengthening that rational and stable (“Adult”) part of my brain gave it the capacity to “support” and assist the irrational (“Child”) part and calm her more efficiently when she is experiencing fear and irrationality, just as strengthening the muscles around an injured part of the body gives it the support it needs to heal. 

I am practicing and strengthening this area of my brain in the same ways that one would address a weaker part of the physical body: by working it out! I am practicing guiding meditations by reading intellectual, philosophical, encouraging and uplifting material instead of doing just “free thought” meditation (“free thought” meditation can be relaxing and can clear the mind, as it would do for me many times; but I noticed that it would leave me open for “mental assaults” that were extremely distressing. When my counselor/coach suggested that I start doing a more guided meditation, the “cardio-junky” in me wanted to buck against that notion…as it sunk in, however, I was inspired and up for the challenge…and it is changing my life). I am experiencing a hunger for more knowledge and truth sparked by my guided meditation practice and as a result, I am reading much more than I was before. 

I am practicing adult-like thought processes when I am triggered by fear; I am taking a step back, practicing objectivity and seeing the fear for what it really is. I am learning to let go and resist the urge to “fix” a thought or a feeling and allowing it to just “be”, while experiencing the fear and discomfort that come with such experiences ( as I do so, many times the fear and discomfort just passes). I understand and am starting to honor hormonal and chemical changes that naturally take place before my period begins and I am reminding myself to be kind to “me” as I experience these changes. And I am practicing openness and connection with my friends so as to exercise and fulfill my need for fellowship with other human beings. Though there are more, these conscious exercises that I mentioned are proving so effective for me that I want to share them with you. The longer I engage in them and see the fruits that they are producing in my life, the more I desire to practice them. 

Maybe you already engage in these types of exercises. For me, however, many of these have proven to be a true “work-out” yet absolutely essential to the stabilizing of my personal “injuries”. 

by Aimee Dassele

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Comments

  1. Gravatar
    brettact2

    Being kind to yourself... sounds like exercising the fruit of the Spirit on ourselves. Interesting idea. I like your discussion on strengthening your rational brain so as not to be so susceptible to your reactive brain. I don't know if you are familiar with this book, but I'm rereading "Just Listen," by Mark Goulston. He goes through a number of scenarios on talking people up from their reactive brain into their rational brain, through a number of brain-design mechanisms. A lot of practical insight. Thanks for sharing Aimee

  2. Gravatar
    Paul

    Thank you so much for sharing. This was so helpful to me and something I really needed to hear. I'll say more in the future.

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