This guide is a collection of tools, exercises, tips, information and good advice around how one can handle a multitude of negative emotional situations. Please use this information however you would like and share it with friends and family. I am writing this during the COVID-19 incident after a neighbor of my co-parent out of the blue asked me for help and it was clear she didn’t have the emotional tools she needed in the moment. I came home right away and collected this guide of things I have used in my own life to help me get through all sorts of severely negative situations. I hope that some, if not all, of the information in this document helps you through the tough times and into feeling as much love and light as possible in every moment of your life.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a psychiatrist, I am a man who has had to work through a world of trauma in his lifetime which has brought me to a life of shamanism, yogiism and healing. Everything in here is based on spiritual practices and wisdom that I have found to be valuable in my life. I also recommend looking into traditional healthcare services as much as alternatives, both have their place in our lives and it’s important to understand how each heals from a different angle. If you are having any sort of mental health or physical health crisis, seek immediate professional help, this book is for DIY self care of the traditional wounds of life, it is not a replacement for professional help.
Before You Begin
For doing these exercises it’s going to be important to find a quiet space away from others. This may be difficult if you are living in close quarters with people, live with people who are the cause of your wound or have small children around that need attention. Some things to consider, some of these things can be done with others, you can always make a game out of it and work through your shit together. Others need solitude, take a drive in your car, take a bath or wait till the kids are in bed. If you are living with someone who is traumatizing you, intentionally or unintentionally, think of this – Insulate, isolate, distract and distance. Insulate yourself in your body, heart and head. Isolate yourself physically, mentally and emotionally as much as possible. Distract, if you can distract them and keep them occupied they have less energy to focus on you. Distance, if you can’t isolate in a location consider changing locations, this can also be taken metaphorically as well. Do not, just do the opposite of these people in your life, as even the worst person has some loving traits somewhere. Instead focus on Loving yourself in every way shape and kind possible. If hitting or violence is involved in any way, leave immediately, it’s done, the social contract is broken and null, and it’s ending must be immediately executed. Sleeping in a shelter, church, car or even a bench is infinitely less damaging than being hit in a violent situation. It can take decades to heal the wounds of violence but days of being in a healthy environment can heal years of sleeping in less than ideal conditions.
Boundaries are the limits one places on what they are willing to accept and not accept in their lives, emotions, treatment of and by others, and thoughts. On many levels they define who we are by their nature of being the edge of how we express ourselves in life. Healthy boundaries are the point where you are able to love yourself and someone (or something) in balance and at the same time. It is important to recognize what your boundaries are and how well you enforce them, if you aren’t sure of your boundaries take some time and contemplate this, it may be one of the most important things you can do for yourself in life.
All of this information helps but it does not replace a self care regimen. A self care regimen is something someone does daily, weekly or monthly to go above and beyond, as best they can, to care for themselves first. You can’t pour from an empty cup and you can’t squeeze water from a stone. Take time each day and treat yourself to something. Enjoying a cup of coffee, eating a treat, giving yourself a hug, taking an extra look in the mirror and finding a minute to relax. Have a bit more time, consider taking a bath, a nap, a jog or going to the park, all the way up to taking a vacation or whatever your heart tells you you really need.
Infinitely Love Yourself
This is a mindset, a philosophy and a way of being that will get you through the toughest of times and through the toughest moments in existence. It is based on the law of love, you cannot love someone else until you first love yourself. This is because love is not true love unless it is selected and one cannot select from a place where they are lacking. Because of this, one cannot move into the world of love, until they love the world that is within themselves. This doesn’t have to make sense now but over time the exercise will make things clear.
When to use: This is an all purpose exercise that can be used every day, anytime. However it’s most effective use is when you find yourself terribly hurt or broken and not knowing what else to do.
What to expect: Initially this exercise will help you in a multitude of ways. The first being that you will start to love yourself, which means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. From there you will begin to develop a deep relationship with who you Truly are within and that relationship will help you forge a path forward from whatever you are experiencing.
Time: 5 minutes minimum
The Exercise: Stand by yourself in front of a mirror in your house in clothing you feel comfortable in. Take a deep breath, let it out and then time and look at all your features, really look at every part of you and take yourself in. Now speak out loud and introduce yourself to yourself, if this is your first time act like you are meeting for the first time. Tell them your name, where you are from, what your life is like…and then tell them how much you deeply love them even though you just met. This can be hard the first time, so take your time and work up to it. It doesn’t have to be the first time you do this exercise but by the third time you should be able to get there. You can tell this person anything and everything and the more you do, the better you will feel. This is because once something is spoken out loud it becomes human, and thus manageable. There really is only one rule you need to keep with this person, which is you, and that is to never lie to this person ever. You love this person infinitely, which means you will always tell them the Truth no matter how hard it is.
When you look at your reflection, think of this person as your best friend. This reflection is going to help you take care of you in every instant of your life, by always being there for you. This person can be your lover, your confidant, your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your boss, your buddy and the list goes on. In the end though, it is just you and everyone else you can imagine in relationship to you; however this will take time to see.
If you would like, feel free to close with some words of power, such as – I forgive you, I Love you, I See you, I AM you – or whatever feels natural.
You are the only you, you get
The Seven Tools of Emotional Release and Aspecting
When to use: This is an excellent tool to use anytime you are experiencing negative emotions that are not evolving or progressing. The process has us using the physical activities children use to deal with their negative emotions, thus allowing us to reconnect with our primal, and natural, ways of working through our emotions.
What to expect: Expect to cry A LOT, this tool really works at loosening up all sorts of negative emotions that have been stuck within our body. At first you may feel silly or that it isn’t working, do not stop until the time you’ve allotted is over. If one of the maneuvers doesn’t work for you just move to the next. After practicing them all your body will know which one you need to use, just like a kid throwing a temper tantrum. They just seem to know how, it’s intuitive.
Recommended time: 5-20 minutes – You can also use silent hand screams, or pillow screams for one off situations, works great when your button is getting pushed or you just need to express yourself.
This exercise can be done with music, in that case select something heavy, hard and/or aggressive.
If you are working through this with kids, leave out the pelvic thrusts.
Remove all jewelry. Make sure you have adequate space to practice and will not be disturbed. The intent is to move the emotional body into ease and a felt sense of wellbeing. Say, “I am going to the optimum level of being, for the purpose of expressing and releasing my emotional body. I intend to be present and witness as I let go of what no longer serves me. I agree to not harm myself, anyone, or anything. The space that I vibrate open will be filled with resolution, freedom and love.”
1. Hand Scream- Place hands over your month to block sound. Scream into hands either out loud or silently. Move your belly to keep energy flowing.
2. Pillow Scream- Place pillow over your month to block sound. Scream into pillow as you move your belly to keep energy flowing.
3. Power Stomping- Stand with hands extended over your head. Move your legs as if running in place and have arms mirror leg movement above your head. Scream out, “Ahhhhhhh!” and keep the energy moving.
4. Wailing/Grief Ritual- Do this either standing, on your knees or laying on your back. Allow your head fall backward, open your heart and chest, your arms are extended out to the sides and your mouth is open as you wail!
5. Pillow Pounding- Kneel in front of a pile of pillows/cushions. Clasp your hands together and pound the pillows with your forearms. Do not punch with fists. Use well sewn, dustfree, non-feather pillows.
6. Pelvic Thrusting with Pillow- Lay on a bed or on top of pillows or cushions. Have a pillow in front of your pelvis. Thrust your pelvis into that pillow as if you are copulating.
7. Tantrum- Lay on your belly or your back. Have pillows under your extremities. Throw a temper tantrum as if you are 2 years old.
Fight, Flight and Freeze are ways the SNS responds to feeling threatened. Notice when these reactions arise. Use sound, breath and movement to release the tension. If you freeze, feel numb or get stuck try the “Fetal Freeze”- Take a deep breath, then exhale fully as you contract into a fetal position. Hold the breath in this position for several seconds. Exhale fully, as you relax the body totally open. Repeat at least 2 more times.
Additional optional step – Aspecting/Voice Dialog
If you run into a problem with someone or something in your life that you are unable to talk directly to, it can help to sit down and have a pretend conversation with them. The below can help you work through that.
Voice A is you and Voice B is the person, place, thing or event that you wish to address.
Sit on a pillow and have another pillow in front of your about 2 feet away. Move back and forth between them, one pillow represents Voice A and the second pillow represents Voice B. Allow A and B to have a dialog. The voices may be a person in your life, an archetype or a situation. Ultimately they represent an aspect of yourself. Continue the dialog until you feel resolution. If you find you feel stuck in the head, look deeper, find the emotions under the thoughts. Use the 7 tools to move the emotions.
This tool is from Crystal Dawn Morris and is not my own work, it is publicly shared and I suggest you visit her site for more wonderful tools.
Updated 2017 by Crystal Dawn Morris, ISTA Lead Faculty ISTA SSSEX Level 1 www.schooloftemplearts.org
Climbing Down the Tree of Fear (advanced)
This meditation will help you identify the root causes of the feelings you are carrying around today. It is great if you are going through a troubling time and are struggling to process your emotions in a way that allows you to grow and heal. It does this by identifying issues that are currently causing your discomfort and reframe them to become neutral, growing or pleasant.
When to use: When you’ve been deeply hurt and need to rapidly heal to a point where you are able to make it through your day. It is also great for when you’ve had a bad day and want to just let it go.
What to expect: This is an emotionally intense exercise but there is nothing more effective that I have found in the world for pulling yourself through a painful experience. Expect to do this every day for 3-4 weeks for the best effect. It works first by bringing consciousness to issues that need to be addressed within and then helps heal them by creating a cognitive dissonance that neutralizes the root cause. Everything is done in the imagination during meditation.
Time: Minimum 20 minutes but longer is better
Enhancing this experience: This exercise works excellently by itself. However, if the wounds are great healing can be enhanced by smoking marijuana prior to practicing. The reason for this is that pot tends to lower the emotional barrier we have with our existence that allows us to get through our days. When this barrier goes down, it uncovers how we are truly feeling, which is why some people experience high levels of anxiety, it’s because they now are feeling their deeper feeling enhanced. This is great for this work when it is done with intention. The key is to ensure that you are in a safe place and that nothing can harm you beforehand, that way it is clear that whatever negative emotions are coming up are from something internal, and not external, so they can be addressed and alleviated.
The Exercise: Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. This can be in a chair, on the floor or on a cushion. Focus on your breathing and systematically relax every part of your body from your feet on up to the top of your head. This doesn’t have to be much more than actively relaxing your feet, ankles, legs, hips, groin, ass,waist, chest, arms, hands, shoulders, neck, head and face over 2-3 minutes. This alone will start to relieve the things carried inside of you. From this point, just let your thoughts and feelings flow, don’t try to stop them or control them, just let them come up and then go away. As this flow begins to happen give it a few moments and then wait for an uncomfortable thought or feeling to come to you. This will happen naturally, especially if you are going through a painful experience. Whatever comes up, this is the right thing to be working on in this moment, your mind/body just knows these things. Hold on to that thought/feeling and as you breath begin to focus on that one thing. By touching it with your consciousness alone, you have already begun a process of healing it. Much as a massage removes knots in muscles through touch. Just sit with it and breath into the discomfort. This is the first branch of the tree.
From here you have two options, you can let it go or you can use this wound to climb down the tree to the roots. To let go, simply return to letting your thoughts flow again until the next thing comes up for you to hold.
To climb down, consider why this event is uncomfortable, or painful, in the first place. Where did you learn to feel pain in this event, instead of neutrality or possibly even pleasure? Is it really the event itself that is bothering you or something about the event that is bringing up an older wound? What is that older wound, if there is one that is the next branch. Continue this process over and over again until you get to the root of where you learned (or experienced) this first. Each time you grab another branch, this wound releases more, nothing else needs to be done, it happens automatically.
Pulling The Root: Once you get to the root here is where we get to have a little fun. It generally is recognized as an event or group of events that set a pattern in our life at a young age. Pretend to imagine yourself in that situation while you are meditating. Then step into that imagination as the person you are today and explain the situation to yourself from your current perspective. This can be as complex as having a conversation with a younger version of yourself, to giving yourself a virtual hug and saying I love you and that it wasn’t your fault bad things happened to you like that.
This practice can be deeply healing and it’s one you can do yourself every day. Pot makes it easier to visualize some of the steps although it is not required and long term it can hinder progress and must be dropped. Much like a crutch being used until it becomes a hindrance to healing.
Addendum: Additional Materials
- Books that Heal
- The Women Who Run With Wolves – excellent for healing the feminine
- No More Mr Nice Guy – excellent for healing the mascuine
- Kundalini Yoga and Kriya Yoga
- Specific exercises to heal different wounds on youtube that work
- Excellent exercise for self care
- Easy to get started – just google
- Traditional Meditation
- All around great practice
- Basic outline
- Once you master one go to the next or do all 3 in a row
- Spend 5-10 minutes letting thoughts and feeling flow
- Spend 5-10 minutes focusing on a single thought or mantra
- Om, Love, Freedom, Peace, Healing
- Spend 5-10 minutes being empty of all thoughts and feelings
- Can also be a guided meditation on youtube, lots of options
- Safe places to cry
- The shower
- The car
- On a walk
- When everyone else is in bed
- Anywhere and everywhere
- Be aware of what this is and what it looks like from others.
- Speak only the truth of what you know to help combat this, even if the Truth is that you aren’t sure what you experienced.
- Notes, journals, vlogs and blogs can help record your life to combat gaslighting in your own life.
- Only you Truly know you at the end of the day, believe in yourself