Getting Past Your Past
Life gives us a variety of experiences, some joyful that we would like to experience on repeat and others that are downright awful and painful. The good news is that people do move forward from painful experiences and go on to lead lives filled with joy. You probably already know the challenging news- moving forward can take effort, and you might have to think about and explore that painful experience in the process of getting past it.
EMDR therapy (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a process that includes several methods to help you process and move forward. Here are a few tips you can try on your own to help get past a painful experience. Remember, professional help is available if you find these tips simply aren’t enough, or if you aren’t moving forward fast enough on your own.
Create a Positive Slogan
The messages that we repeat to ourselves can either make us, or break us. Be aware of the self-talk that happens between your own ears. Rephrase negative talk that isn’t serving you. Rather than, “why do bad things always happen to me?” try practicing a positive slogan such as, “I am strong and able to change my life.”
Get Out of Dodge
Sometimes being in the place where the painful experience occurred turns into a constant reminder of misery. Putting physical distance between you and the location can be helpful. This can apply to people, places, or things.
Pay Attention to the Present
There is quite a buzz regarding mindfulness these days, and for good reason. If you can focus on what is happening in the moment, it can be possible to take a mini-vacation from the regret of the past and the dread of the future. In short, paying attention to your sensory experiences as they are happening and being in tune with your physical being can shift attention.
Treat Yourself With The Respect
You always deserve respect, no matter what choices you have made or what painful events you have experienced. Especially following a painful experience, when you didn’t receive respect, it can be hard to acknowledge that you can still treat yourself with kindness. You can give yourself some time to process, accept things that happened, and to make choices about your life. Be your own best friend and protect the way you treat yourself when things are rough and filled with pain. Be gentle with yourself.
EMDR therapy explores painful experiences, identifies related beliefs, and assists in processing the emotional charge associated with the experience. While it cannot change what happened in the past, it can help a shift in thinking and feeling about yourself, others, and situations. It can reduce “triggers,” or deplete the power of the negative emotion experienced in day-to-day situations. EMDR therapy may help reduce painful feelings.
If you have had a painful experience that feels “stuck,” or you can’t let go of it, EMDR therapy might be right for you. Is your life joy being limited because of a painful experience? What choices might be different if you could let go of painful hurts from the past?