Early on in my adult years, at age 20, I was suddenly introduced to the harsh reality of traumatic grief. My Dad phoned me one Monday evening, and asked me to come over to his place. When I arrived, his devastating words hit me like a tsunami. My brother had died that morning, and he had taken his own life.
Every aspect of me was overwhelmed by this new reality that I faced. I was an independent 20 year old, but I had no awareness of how I could stay afloat and care for myself as I bobbed around in the confusing seas of shock and grief. I hid my pain and distress for the most part. Actually I did this for many years, and it took me to some very low places.
After a long time of feeling that I had no real agency in life, I eventually realised that I needed to take full responsibility for how I chose to ‘be in the world’. This led me to approaching the highs and lows differently, and I also changed paths by deciding that moving forward I only wanted to follow my heart. In time I developed a passion for supporting others as they too followed their heart, & overcame their challenges along the way.
I now have a number of foundational practices that I’ve created, to help to lift and support me (and my clients) when life is difficult or challenging. The first that I’d like to share with you is simple, yet it truly helps to resuscitate my spirit when it has been winded. I call this practice BALM, as it is a balm for your spirit.
When you are feeling low, or overwhelmed or distressed by a reality that is playing out in your life, using the elements in B.A.L.M can help you to actively move through and shift out of this low energy, and help to support you to eventually develop a positive mindset for facing this challenge head on and with more confidence;
B – Bring yourself into the present moment, and breathe deeply
A – Become aware of, and choose to avoid activities or unhelpful coping habits that you know worsen your mood. Replace these with only focusing on whatever lifts and lightens your mood and perspective
L – Let go of all negative, unkind & unhelpful thoughts. Choose to actively shut down these kinds of thoughts
M – Move your body in some way. Do something – anything – meaningful to you. Continue doing something meaningful, until you notice a positive shift in how you feel and in your mindset.
We are often drawn like a magnet to numbing or self-destructive behaviours when we are feeling low or down-and-out, but unfortunately this inevitably feeds a downward spiral. This practice of BALM is a gentle reminder of the truth of what will help us to shift into an upward spiral. It is just the first step, and is designed to help lift you out of a funk or a very low emotional state. It is of course not a replacement for reaching out for support, which we all inevitably need sometimes.
My other practices and techniques then help with the practicalities of facing challenges head on, realising dreams, surrendering, letting go of dis-empowering patterns, and maintaining an attitude that supports you to flourish in life. I look forward to sharing more of these with you in my upcoming articles.
To book a session with Nicki or purchase her newly released book, visit: www.theinspirationcouch.com