I have learned a lot over the last 3 ½ years when it comes to what works when I am overwhelmed with triggers and heavy emotions. Some of the worse times for triggers are when I am doing household chores. A good example is when I do the dishes. I go on auto pilot when doing them and that is when the thoughts, triggers and emotions sneak in. All the everyday chores a Mom must do are the type of chores I would have the hardest time with all the thoughts coming up. At any given moment of any day you could catch me balling my eyes out, frozen from the hurt, paused in time, in the middle of doing a chore.
A little over a year and half ago during an appointment with my EMDR therapist I learned what to do when I was doing household chores to help process all the triggers I was having. At the time I was having a hard time at work. I was having to open boxes upon boxes of wood flooring. My therapist brought up using a cross body motion to slice the boxes open. The next day I sliced those boxes open with passion. After the relief I received from this I started to implement the same thing to all chores I did. After this second D-DayI am using this same therapy tool again.
The way to do this exercise is simple. When you are doing everyday household chores
turn them into a chore where you use your body in a left to right rhythm. This
is very similar to when Daniel in The Karate Kid does the “Wax on and wax off.”
If you are unable to do the whole-body rhythm use your left hand, then switch
to your right hand. A good example is when I vacuum, I push the vacuum with my
left arm and pull back with my right. When I do dishes, I make sure I am
passing the dish from one hand to the other. When cleaning counter tops I do
the same thing. I try to get the largest
left to right motion and keep at a good fast paced rhythm. I allow all the triggers
to come at me. I don’t try to control my thoughts or emotions. They tend to go
as fast as they come when I would normally go on a roller coaster ride with my
thoughts. As long as I keep a good pace, the thoughts are getting processed the
way my brain can handle it best and in turn keeping myself from suffering
anymore physical ailments.
This is a great way to process your thoughts and get them “filed away neatly” in your brain. I have noticed while going through this second recovery round I am having an easier time processing my triggers and find myself naturally doing the exercises and tools I learned from before. When you practice all the different at home therapy exercises and tools you develop a second nature to processing your triggers that can provide some relief.
Link to all At Home Therapy Tools
After my first D-Day 3 1/2 years ago I was incapacitated, suicidal and hopeless. I had no choice but to reach out for professional help. Thankfully I found the perfect therapist for me that did EMDR and was very helpful in sending me home with exercises and tools that I could use between my appointments with her. A year and half with her and I was finally feeling like a person again.
For this exercise you are going to need to be in a relaxing place with no distractions. It is best to have someone lead you through this meditation but you can also read the steps below, then do the exercise. The idea is to train your brain to put a feeling to a word. A happy word to a happy feeling.
- Close your eyes. Place yourself in the most beautiful, comfortable, relaxing setting you can think of. It can be anywhere in the world or out of this world. The choice is yours.
- What does this place feel like? Is it warm, cool, hot, busy, slow. Get all the feels. Is your skin sweaty, cool to the touch, warm, etc. What are you wearing?
- What are the sounds you hear? Are there any animals, running water, waves, cars, people, children, etc.
- What type of surface is under your feet? Are you sitting, standing, laying?
- Is there anyone with you? Your favorite animal, a loved one
- Imagine you can stay in this place for as long as you want. Absolutely no rush to leave. You relax into your surroundings feeling no rush to leave. Time stays still in this place. You are safe from everything.
- Sit in this place and take in all the scenery, feelings, scents, etc. until you can actually feel yourself there.
- What is one descriptive WORD you can use to describe this place? What WORD describes how you feel in this place?
My word has always been peace. It puts me right onto Huntington Beach in California feeling the sand between my toes. One of my favorite places to visit when I was a child. The warmth of the sun, the sound of the waves crashing and the seagulls is a place of comfort for me. My husband knows to say “peace” whenever I get really worked up in an anxiety attack. Just the word alone puts me there and I can feel all the feels.
I hope you are able to find a place for you and one word that puts you there.
My therapist had to work diligently with me to get me back to a semi functioning human the first time I discovered my husband cheated. This second time around is worse, and I am thankful I remember what she taught me. I would be in a mental hospital if I did not have the tools I was provided. If you have been through this then you know that at some point most of us end up in the hospital. The next tool I am going to share is called The Container. The container is for when heavy stuff is coming your way and you can feel it add up in your body. If you feel mentally drained by the end of the day then you are more than likely taking on too much mental baggage then this tool is for you. There is a warning with this exercise. I learned the lesson the hard way so pay attention. Overuse of the container may create more nightmares while sleeping. You must empty the container at least once a week if not more.
First step is imagining a container. Your container is yours and can be anything. A glass, jar, box, etc., or whatever else you may think of. Now you go into details. It is fun to get really creative with it. What is the container made of? What size and shape is it? What does your container weigh? What color or colors is it? Do you have a way to lock it? If you do not have a way to lock it then hide it so absolutely no one will find it. Get a good feeling for every single detail of your container. The more detail you imagine the better. Once you have a good vision in your head move on to the next step.
The second step is using your container. What are the thoughts and problems that are weighing you down? Put those thoughts on a piece of imaginary paper. Each thought one at a time. Write it down. Fold the paper and put it in your container. Continue to do this until you have put everything that is bothering you into your container. Now lock it up. Lock it up good and put the container away. I close my container with a lock, taking the keys and pretending to throw them and saying, “Lock it and F&*^ it!” Feel all those feelings being put in a safe place until a later time.
I cannot tell you how many times I have used my container. The hardest part about this exercise is remembering to use it. When you get good at visualizing your container you will find it is a great way to handle problems that will not leave your head, perfect for all those triggers. You can catch me at least once a day saying the “Lock it and F&^* it!” phrase.
Let me know if you have done an exercise like this? Did you do this one? What did your container end up looking like?