First Aid for the Heart

Pain is a natural (and integral) part of our lives. An existence without friction is often an empty one that rarely amounts to much. Pain polishes and refines us so the best of us can shine through.

However, sometimes the pain is too much to bear. Intensely painful experiences can pull us down and get us in a slumber; making it hard for us to get out of that dark pit and move on with our lives. It can even affect our health and well-being at times. People around us may advise us to simply “shrug it off” and forget about it, but we all know it doesn’t work that way. What can we do in this case?

You don’t have to prolong your suffering unnecessarily. There are many ways to heal the heart and return it to the blooming state it was once in. Here are a few suggestions that may help cultivate your resilience: an essential trait for navigating through life:

Release Blame and the Need for Confrontation

This is the most difficult block and that is why I put it on top of the list, but once you overcome this one, a huge burden will be lifted off your chest.

If someone has said or done something hurtful to you, try to see it from their perspective. Was the intention behind this action harmful? Often times, there is no malicious intent; just reckless behavior that you can either gracefully overlook or gently point out to the person that you do not prefer this treatment.

Is there truth in their hurtful comments? It is likely that there is, and that is why it hurts so much. Of course, they could be more tactful about it or just mind their own business, but we are trying to work with the issue internally rather than blaming outside sources. This way, it will less likely happen again. Use negative remarks to improve yourself if you find that there is some truth to them, and choose not to listen if you believe they are not true. Not every opinion deserves to be heard.

It’s easy to “confront” and lash out at someone for hurting you, but the one who hurt you is unlikely to have your remedy. The cure is within you.

Analyze the Issue Inside Out

Now the second step is to analyze the motives behind the hurtful deed. Are these people on your side, or are they jealous? Some people are in your supporting circle, and some are neutral acquaintances, while unfortunately, some are enemies. It is good to differentiate and know “who’s who”, it’s also crucial to get to the core reason for your dilemma and ask: “why did the chicken cross the road?”

You’d be surprised to know how impersonal many of these attacks are, as human beings love to project -rather than confront – their insecurities. A lot of the times, problems can also come out of a misunderstanding or a conflict of interests. This can be resolved through clear, tactful -and if you can, loving- communication. It is the highest form of maturity to love your enemy and see them as your honest mirror.

If you are the one causing harm to yourself through negative or addictive behavior, then the good news is that you are the one in control. Again, ask yourself; what is the main reason for reverting to those behaviors, and when do you display them the most? Awareness is the first step to change, then comes your self-discipline into play.

Allow Yourself Time to Grieve

Allow yourself to experience pain. It is good to feel it, express it, and let it out in whichever way you find suitable; even if it means a good cry. Suppressing these painful feelings will only make them come back with a vengeance later on. Give yourself a certain time-frame to grieve, but don’t allow yourself to continue past that point.

Stop Digging!

Now that you have analyzed your problem thoroughly and allowed yourself some time to grieve, it’s time to move on. Sometimes, you may not know all of the answers as to why something happened or someone turned out to be that way; but try to be content with the current knowledge you have on the situation. Often times, the answer is right there, but we deny it because the ego refuses to see.

Regardless, you have now spent enough time grieving and analyzing, so it is time to stop digging. Try to catch yourself whenever you find yourself thinking about the issue and stop it as soon as possible.

Spend Time with Children and Animals

These amazing little beings have great healing powers; it’s almost magical! Spending time with them will help you release bitterness and regain trust in life. They are safe to love and often very receptive and grateful for your love and attention. They are always there, waiting for you by the door to come back from work –or wherever you are. Enjoy yourself with innocence play, laughter, and cuddles. Even a nice nap with your pet or baby can be very healing and refreshing.

Spend Time with Friends and Loved Ones

They are your support group, and simply spending time with them can make you feel much better. You can ask for their advice, as a fresh perspective can help you see things in a better light. Perhaps it’s a good chance for you to completely forget about your problem and immense yourself with their joyful company in the here and now.

 Move On with Your Life

Use your time to sharpen your skills and do things you love. Go to events that interest you and meet new people. Create new experiences for yourself and use this time as a chance to change. Try to counterbalance the negative experience with more positive, enriching new experiences. Get a new haircut or change your style a little bit to feel renewed. Work harder to achieve the goals you’ve always dreamed of. Do things that you’ve always wanted to do, but needed a little push for. Sometimes, pain is all we need to kick-start our lives for the better.

Workout!

Exercise is a huge mood booster, so don’t underestimate the power of physical activity. Perhaps now is a good time to join the gym or a fitness class that you’re interested in. It’s a good way to meet like-minded people and change the scenery a little. You will also feel great about yourself once you begin to notice results in your body within a couple of weeks. It doesn’t have to be a chore; choose something that appeals to you. Nowadays, you have a variety that is wider than ever; from dance classes, Pilates, and yoga, to CrossFit, weightlifting and martial arts.

Spend Time in Nature

Nature has a very soothing effect. Whether it’s sitting by the beach and watching the magnificent sea waves, to simply taking a stroll in a nearby park, you will surely experience a calm, tranquil time that will help you regain balance and inner peace.

 Soothe yourself

A great way to help you recover is taking some time to relax. Get a massage, or massage yourself with fragrant oils that alter your mood. Try to relax, meditate, and get enough sleep. Whenever my cat is not feeling well, she likes to sleep a little extra to help her recover faster, so maybe that’ll work! Avoid staying up late if you can, as it can cause severe mood swings.

Travel

If you can afford it, take a nice short trip somewhere. If you are on a budget, you can go to a nearby country over the weekend. Traveling is an exciting experience and will definitely take your mind off your issue, expanding your horizons and reminding you that there’s so much more to life. Travel often opens new doors in other areas of your life as well.

Practice Gratitude

Hey, it could be way worse, right? Be thankful that you are safe now with the chance to start over again. Perhaps there is wisdom and reason for the way things have turned out. Practice gratitude every day; don’t take all the gifts and riches you have for granted, be certain that many people would kill to be in your shoes.

Unplug

When you are at your wit’s end, facing a dilemma that seems impossible to solve at the time; surrender. Sometimes, completely letting go of an issue can allow it to solve itself, but we human beings are usually impatient. Control your impulses and don’t add insult to injury by lashing out uncontrollably; you will very likely regret it later!

Learn from Your Mistakes

In the end, try to take responsibility and evaluate how you contributed to the problem. Learn from your faults and take protective measures so you won’t go through them again. Don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty; you need to be gentle and kind to yourself during this time.

And with that, I wish you a speedy and full recovery of the heart. You can heal, and your life will get better. Remember that and stay focused on your well-being and self-development.


Dana Al Rashid is a writer and poet from Kuwait. She writes in Al Jarida newspaper and has also published a few English articles in Kuwait Times newspaper. She published a poetry book last year under the same name as her blog: Reflecting Moon, where more intimate poetry and articles can be found.

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