Anything worth improving requires practice. This includes our emotional health, but think about it, where would one even start, and where would one even go for said practice to take place?
Oftentimes we instinctively turn to the sacredness of our morning routines, journal entries, mindset orations, and talk therapies for inner peace but research is showing that the process of healing requires quite a few more considerations. They are, your setting, senses, and community, and all of which involve an assessment of your environment.
Your Physical State
First, let’s start with your physical state. An ideal physical setting gets you in the mood to even approach doing the inner work. Inner work being unpacking triggers, defense mechanisms, processing past emotional upsets, and more. For this reason, many start their healing journeys by purging clutter and making aesthetic adjustments to their environment. We even go to great lengths to ensure we have the appropriate space to conduct our designated work.
For example, photographers create in-home studios, writers use writing desks and readers read in nooks, but while there is no shortage of TikToks to help you curate the best neurodivergent-friendly spaces to do your best work, we’re not just talking about your living environment.
What’s uncommonly known about the healing journey is that you can’t always heal where you’ve been hurt. For a lot of us, our wounds have happened in our homes, jobs, and around people whom we might feel we can’t escape from.
“You can’t heal, where you’ve been hurt”
This also means our physical state can be less optimally primed for change as we are constantly reinforced to be in environments that aren’t safe, comfortable, inviting, or considerate. However, there will be more on where to go and how to shift these physical states in a moment.
Next up are your senses, or what the healing community refers to as embodiment.
Embodiment is best explained through the absence of an experience. Take disembodiment for example. Many who are stuck in trauma responses mentioned above, find safety and security in less physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing environments, and have learned to dissociate (disconnect) from day-to-day experiences. These are the moments when you’ve auto-piloted your way home, you mentally checking out of conversations, you allow the TV to watch you instead of you watching it, and a host of other “out of body experiences”.
While we can chock some of this up to mental burnout, most trauma sufferers, however, don’t understand this can become an incessant state because the mind won’t send signals that you’re safe until your body does.
Put another way, you won’t feel safe in the world until you first feel safe within.
And a proven way to relate to the body that it is indeed safe is to get in touch with our senses. This is having a space to help you regulate your vagus nerve, your “soul nerve”, our sensory center in charge of keeping safe is crucial.
Progressive body scans and breath work are foundational ways to settle the uneasiness within and help you feel more comfortable in your skin. Other proven techniques involve bilateral stimulation and immersive audio waves, as the sensations work to help you stay present and connected with your body.
Last, is community. This is the final environment for consideration as you progress through stages of healing. Healing works best out of isolation.
Healing works best out of isolation.
Going back to our physical state, isolation is what keeps us from doing the work and trusting the process. We stayed siloed off, completely unaware that the struggles and challenges we face as neurodivergents is actually common. Healing in community gives you a greater sense of belonging, understanding, and visibility that keeps us accountable to our quest. This type of environment is what gets us in the mood to do tough work.
So where can we begin to do the work? While home is always an option, remember growth takes community, vulnerability, and bravery. For this reason, I created the Soul Healing Experience, a completely immersive, trauma-healing yoga practice for those looking for a regular practice of wringing out stored trauma and tension in a safe, cozy environment.
Don’t deal with trauma alone. Seek professional treatment and check out experiences like my new inner healing practice at Bella Prāṇa Collective in Tampa, FL, and join our introductory session Sunday August 13th at 6:30pm.
Article written by Tippi Cogen
Tippi Cogen, is a trauma-informed somatic healer and counselor working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Supervision. Tippi is a certified 200HR instructor specializing in Gentle, Yin, and Beginner yoga. She is a retired US Army Airborne Chaplain and certified in Transformational, Rational-Emotive Behavioral, Group, and Executive Coaching. She enjoys traveling, roller skating, putting on inner healing retreats, and workshops, and is occasionally invited to speak on topics related to church, military, and generational trauma.
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