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.
Leaves on a Stream
is the second most utilized tool I use at home. This was the first tool my
therapist taught me the very first day I saw her. This exercise has been helpful if I have a
lot of thoughts going through my head at a fast pace or if I am in a crowded
space such as a restaurant. This tool is
a great way to slow those thoughts down, process and release them in an
To begin, find a quiet spot to relax. If you are unable to
find a quiet spot you can use headphones or earplugs to drown out the background
noise. Imagine a stream in the woods
(finding music that matches helps.) Spend a good amount of time imagining the
stream and the forest surrounding it.
The weather, the fall leaves, the location, the rocks in the stream,
whatever you come up with as long as it is relaxing. Get a good feeling of being
Now you are going to imagine leaves going down the
stream. They travel from upstream heading
downstream at a steady speed from right to left. Are there a lot, a little?
Take each thought that crosses your mind and place it on a leave on the
stream. Each one of your thoughts gets
placed on a leaf. You begin to watch
your thoughts go from left to right in a steady speed. Watch these thoughts
come and go. If one is hard to let go and wants to linger go ahead and pick it up.
Examine it, acknowledge it then place it down to let it continue it’s journey
down the stream. Do this however long you feel necessary.
Often times as adults we forget what we really want and what will really make us happy. We get caught up in raising kids, our jobs, and our relationships.
When I was young I had a lot of dreams. I wanted to be a veterinarian and a physical therapist. I wanted to travel to Kenya. I loved river rafting when I was a little. When I grew up I wanted to be a river raft guide and travel as much as I could and go rafting down as many rivers as possible.
Getting back in touch with my inner child has reminded me that i am a little lost. It is okay because like a child I will adapt but in the meantime I am going to figure out how I can get at least some of my childhood dreams accomplished. So hopefully one day you will be reading a blog about my adventures river rafting.
Please feel free to share what your dreams as a child were?