My Best Resources for Deeper Emotional Healing

Emotional healing might be the most difficult kind.

When it comes to physical health, the body knows what to do. In most cases, we simply need to make space for it. Besides, we can usually see evidence when our body needs attention. A runny nose, a bad cough, a scraped knee. The need for healing is tangible, obvious.

Emotional healing, on the other hand, is more tricky. Not only do we discount emotions as childish or immature, evidence of emotional un-health can be hard to identify. It requires fearless self-awareness, dogged intentionality and, many times, outside help.

Thus the reason most of us neglect our emotional health. It’s easier to jog a few miles and log them in an app. Or blend up a green smoothie and visit the gym. We pop our supplements, do our crunches, schedule our checkups and cut out sugar.

But we pay little attention to the status of the heart until the evidence screams for attention.

And often, by then, an important part of us has already died.

For much of my life, I believed feelings were the annoying, out-of-control, touchy-feely stuff of female drama. Thus, I tried to hide, stuff and ignore them. In order to be an adult and “good Christian” (ugh—whatever that means), I believe I needed to stay in control, be unemotional, focus on facts. Feelings couldn’t be trusted. Thus, I tried to pretend they didn’t exist.

As it turns out, the more I stuffed them the more they erupted. Not only did I fail to stay in control, my neglect left me immature and unhealthy.

Although emotions can’t always be trusted, they mustn’t be ignored. Emotions are powerful indicators. Just as redness and swelling are signs of infection, emotions let us know something needs attention and care.

To neglect emotion means to risk a greater crisis.

For much of the past two months, I’ve been reading through the Psalms with fresh eyes. The pages read like a journal, a raw exposure of the writers’ agony and ecstasy. It’s like getting a close inspection of these men’s tortured inner lives. Moses, David, Solomon and others—each man poured out his deepest thoughts and feelings, processing through untamed emotions in stark-honest transparency.

I find it beautiful. Comforting. And freeing.

I’ll be honest: emotional healing is grueling. It’s requires us to set aside self-sufficiency and ask for help. Did I mention the honest self-awareness and hard work? However, when we commit to emotional healing, even when the process is tough, we can experience tangible and obvious rewards, things like greater resiliency, more meaningful relationships, new wisdom and insight, and a deeper sense of peace and wholeness.

If you long for deeper emotional healing, regardless of the source of your pain, here’s a snapshot of the resources I’ve leaned on for growth and relief:

Prayer & Meditation: I’ve been praying since I was a little girl. But lately God has been moving me away from my half-hearted, on-the-go petitions to something more like a soul cry. For too long I’ve tried to satisfy my deepest hunger with fast-food prayers. It’s no longer enough. Thus, He’s pulling me deeper in, drawing me into quiet spaces for both talking and listening. It isn’t easy for my always-moving self. But I’m learning. And it’s helping.

Breathing & Mindfulness: Before you think I’ve gone all wacko, remember breathing is rather important. In fact, you need to do it about 16 to 20 times a minute. For the last several months, however, I’ve tried to stop at different points each day to close my eyes and breathe slowly, deeply for a minute or two. And to acknowledge and embrace this moment. It’s amazing how simply being intentional about slowing and breathing sobers some of my most extreme emotions.

Sleep: This has become a non-negotiable for me. Rarely do I watch TV after my kids go to bed, and most nights I’m in bed by 8:30 or 9. Even better, I take a nap a few times a week. The more physical, emotional and spiritual “work” I do, the more sleep I need. It’s not optional; it’s necessary.

Journaling: This is not just for writers. This is for anyone who wants to heal and grow. The science is plain: As little as 10-20 minutes a day of stream-of-consciousness writing can significantly impact a person’s overall health—even if you write it and delete it. It isn’t about what you DO with what you write, but the fact that you write it at all. The point? Get what’s INSIDE, OUT.

Counselors & Mentors: There is much I could say about this, but I’ll save it for a book. In the meantime, know this: God created us to exist in bonded, connected relationships. Not superficial interactions, but connected, life-giving human relationships that replicate His example (think: the Trinity). In his book Changes That Heal, Dr. Henry Cloud said it this way:

“The soul cannot prosper without being connected to others. No matter what characteristics we possess, or what accomplishments we amass, without solid emotional connectedness, without bonding to God and other humans, we … will suffer sickness of the soul.” 

Books & Resources {NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.}:

healing

Question: What ONE new resource will you tap into for your emotional and spiritual health? It matters. And you’re worth it. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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7 thoughts on “My Best Resources for Deeper Emotional Healing

  1. Thank you for these resources. I’ve been on a journey of emotional healing for a couple of years now and the SPIRITUAL benefits of this have astounded me. My relationship with God is being completely transformed. You’re right about emotions: they’re not bad or good, they’re indicator lights to a deeper issue. They are so valuable. One book not on your list that was life-changing for me is The Gift of Being Yourself, by David Benner. A thin little book with profound truth. I highly reccomend!

  2. Michele, thank you for your consistent transparency. It makes you so easy to trust. And thank you, also, for fearlessly tackling tough topics such as this one. It touches a nerve with me (in a good way). When I was in the 3rd grade, my parents sent me to counseling because I was “too emotional,” maybe one of Cheri’s HSPs. I learned to stuff and deny my emotions, just as my father did. Only much later in life did I come to realize the fruitlessness, and even danger of that practice. Stuff and deny them if I will, but they are still there, and often building up pressure like a volcano that wants to burst. Over the years I have learned to embrace them, learn from them, and channel them appropriately (usually). Our emotions are a gift from our Creator, and we need to employ that gift in harmony with his design.

    Thank you again for sharing this post.

  3. Changes that heal.

    One needs to change certain habbits, attitudes or how you are used te deal with stuff needs to change.