Part of my stress, distress and trauma recovery process, besides therapy, consists in the cultivation of resourceful, positive states.
States are temporary ways of being, and the longer you spend in a certain mental - body state, the fastest it becomes a trait. Cultivating the qualities of joy, peace, love, openness, power and flow require clarity of intention, awareness, purposeful action, and frankly, it's a full time job and not an easy one as life happens, and gets more stress my way, or I get triggered and off-center.
Some of the things I do (or don't do):
- Avoid all the mental pollution that I can, especially here on Facebook - disturbing images, fear mongering writings, hate posts etc. I have unfollowed and unfriended people because of these kinds of posts. I do follow news, and in general, if there's nothing I can do about the bad news, I don't need to know them.
- I chose to see only movies that uplift, inspire and teach me something useful, and avoid depressing or infuriating ones. This is quite hard, because I am sooooo tempted to watch the latest season of Orange is the New Black, and I hold off, because watching it makes me angry and tense; and even though the script is funny, the jokes are "victim humour" (a concept I learned from Paul Linden)
- I spend as much time as possible outdoors, in nature, in vast and open spaces, near trees and flowing bodies of water, walking, chasing the sun, stopping to pet passing by dogs.
- Whenever I am in a pleasure-inducing environment, such as beautiful nature or listening to beautiful music, I breathe it all in, visualize beauty entering my body through the pores of my skin, and magnify on purpose the pleasurable sensations - tingling, buzz, warmth, glow, spaciousness. I really make a big deal out of beauty and pleasure.
- I maximize beauty in my living environment for the same reasons, and try to start the day with beautiful music and fragrance before noises and smells from the street or the neighbours arise.
- I start the day with a morning routine that sets the tone for the day and make sure to complete it before interacting with people. Some women don't show their face to the world before putting on makeup; I don't show my face to the world before placing myself in a centred, calm state.
- I avoid sneaky people. Post traumatic stress makes me hyper-vigilant, I can sense very keenly when someone is lying or hiding things, or taking something of mine without telling me, and I get super-triggered. Traumatized people have a highly sensitive bullshit detector.
I can only relax around people who are open and upfront with me and so I cultivate relationships with them.
- I limit my exposure to suffering. Friends and clients Ok: friends bring me both their suffering and their joys; and clients bring me the kind of suffering that I can help them alleviate. Then there's the inevitable suffering of family members, so I avoid adding to that, especially when I can't help.
- I get as many hugs as I can. Easy with my dancing and healing tribes, but needing way more than that, so when we meet, remember to give me a good hug.
Also, I'm open for cuddles. Because recovery :-)