Coping with SMI

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you will never get better. According to some scientists, the brain is a complex and mysterious part of your body that they are learning about every day. It heals in different ways than your liver.

In the brain, cells are always finding new ways of communicating. This Psychology Today article, Psychologytoday.com/us/blog/workings-well-being/201703/how-to-heal-the-traumatized-brain, talks about how you can heal after trauma. Trauma can be physical, chemical or situational. There are people who have been struck in the head in a car. Others ingested something that affected them cognitively. Some people were involved in a psychological incident that affected their minds like a kidnapping or verbal abuse as a child.

According to the article from Psychology Today, “Psychotherapy and mindfulness training can reduce activation in the fear center and allow for healthy emotional expression.” This means that there is hope. I know that when I am in that bad head space where all feelings coalesce into fear, vigilance and stress, I feel despair and don’t see any hope.

Luckily for me, there are some techniques that I have learned. Mindfulness is about knowing that each moment is precious and will pass, so gratitude for each moment is a must. I first heard about mindfulness in college. I did a final project for a class on it before it was a thing. I first practiced these techniques on my own before it was called mindfulness when I studied meditation and relaxation. These things really help, but are not for wimps.

Mindfulness routines:

  • Use breathing exercises
  • Use five senses to expand awareness of surroundings
  • Incorporate good posture
  • Connect with body

Psychotherapy taught me to list the things that make me feel better and do those things when I feel bad. I know of about five things that change my mood from bad to good. I know that one of them is eating so I have to keep healthy, fun snacks around. Please, please, please limit or just avoid alcohol or illicit drugs. A good set of supportive friends, a loving family or an emotional support animal really help. Now, psychologists are expensive and people without insurance may not be able to see one. It’s worth fighting to see one for the one-on-one counseling help they provide.

Another important thing to remember is that they are always learning about health. Scientists are always performing studies into the mind and health. What we think is a death sentence night be something like a bad headache tomorrow.

I love music and reading, watching sci-fi. These things are inexpensive and help me take my mind off brain noise.

Finally, pick an exercise that you like and do it for 30 minutes a day. I like to clean the house, so I do that. Walking counts.

Blessings.

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