There are many things in addition to therapy that you can start doing to rewire your brain on your own – with intention.
We know that recovery and emotional healing is a whole body experience. Therapy is a critical element and provides an “anchor” point and lens to interpret and make sense of your journey – past and present. But the rest of the change happens through experiences in your body and by you intentionally taking small emotional risks to express yourself in a safe and contained way. Recovery can also be fun.**
Self Defense Class
For men and women who feel very dis-empowered, disconnected from their strength, have difficulty saying NO – a self defense class is a wonderful way to safely move toward connection with your power.
Martial Arts Class
This is an excellent way to get into your body and start to connect with your power center in a safe way. There are less combative versions, like Tai Chi, which is more meditative and a great place to start. Other forms, like Aikido, teach you forms of combat and if you have not found a healthy channel for your unexpressed anger, this might be for you.
If you have been unemployed for any length of time, you can feel very disconnected from your sense of professional identity. For professionals, this can be even more debilitating and confusing. Find a local non-profit organization near you and start volunteering. This is a great way to build confidence and reconnect with your professional identity. You may also make new friends and have additional references that can help when you start interviewing again.
Join a Cause
The world is not fair, justice is not guaranteed and it’s important to have allies. If you are struggling with the anxiety and anger from a personal injustice that you can’t resolve therapy is a must. But there is also something you can do to channel that anger in a constructive and healing way: volunteer with an organization whose mission is justice. It doesn’t matter which one (social, criminal, economic – there are many) the point is to get involved and find people, like you, who care and want to do something about it.
Take an Acting Class
Improvisation and acting classes can give us an opportunity to step outside our comfort zone to express in ways we would not have opportunity to “in real life.” It allows us to try on other characters and forms of expression and most importantly, it can provide an excellent way to grow our tolerance for attention and being seen in a positive way.
Take a Yoga Class
Recognizing we have a body and what it might be telling us is a critical part of any recovery process. Yoga provides a gentle and powerful way to connect with your body. If you are a trauma survivor you may want a trauma sensitive yoga class – look for that in the information when you are choosing the class that’s right for you.
**Before you start, talk about options with your therapist to determine your readiness for some of the things listed above.