Healing•Recovery•Tools • 4 minutes to read
According to research, 1 in 4 children experience sexual and/or physical violence. Looking over the lives of the men and women working toward healing, we see that solely looking at sexual/physical abuse is insufficient. There is so much more to finding complete healing and freedom. Instead of looking at only our pain, we need to learn to look at our lives as a whole. This is where the term holistic healing comes from. Traumatic experiences left unprocessed lead to mental, physical, and emotional health issues. Things like migraines, back problems, the inability to stabilize one’s emotions, and problems with sleep can all be evidence of trauma still wreaking havoc in a person’s body.
So how can we take a holistic approach to our healing?
A holistic approach to healing will address the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual components. Unfortunately, there is no perfect map that each person can use to get to the same destination. Instead, this process, like many others, requires a person to take a deeper look at their life and create a customized plan.
Here are three things that work for me. Hopefully, they will spark ideas for something that will work for you.
Unfortunately, pointing a person to “pray more” is overused. However, prayer is crucial, and I could not leave it off this list. It has been suggested that praying can affect a person’s cognitive processing. The research showed that prayer increased mental imagery, attention to objects in focus, and even more sensory experiences. Prayer is not only good for our personal relationship with God but also for our brains.
Incorporating prayer may be difficult for those not used to praying daily. Many Bible studies talk about praying and how it can be done. But to keep things uncomplicated, prayer is simply a conversation between God and us. It doesn’t need to be long or wordy. I’ve even found myself praying “help” in times of need.
Recently, my family started a new tradition for incorporating prayer. I have a cute little flamingo that a friend gave me. It’s about the size of a large marble. I started with hiding it in plain sight. When someone else in our family finds it, they pause and say a little prayer. After their prayer, it is their turn to “hide” the flamingo. Our kids have had such fun doing this, and they love seeing us find it and pray.
Did you know many CEOs wear the same clothes each day? After many different interviews with multiple news sources, it was discovered that CEOs do this to help minimize their decision-making overload.
Every day as women, we make decisions that quickly wear us down—causing us to be sensitive to stress. I have found a massive benefit if I can eat the same thing for breakfast each day, wear similar clothes throughout the week, pack the same lunches for my kids, do my preplanned workouts at the same time of the day, and make decisions for the following week the weekend before.
Making decisions for each of these things (and more) every day wears us down. Then by the end of the day, or week, we feel exhausted and like we can not handle making even one more decision. However, if any decision can be made beforehand, it can act as preparation for the week. Day by day, we can turn our focus on the things that need it and end the days feeling accomplished instead of exhausted.
Last but not least, weekly evaluations. So much of life is trial and error, and that’s okay. Life is imperfect and we cannot expect perfection from everything we do. When we pause to evaluate our previous week it allows us to see what went well and what could have been better. We can take a step back, learn from our mistakes, and celebrate the good things that happened.
I enjoy using the FASTER Scale with the weekly Commitment to Change. The FASTER Scale allows us to identify how we felt throughout the week. It will also help to identify what might have been the cause of some of the more difficult situations. From there, we can set a Commitment to Change for the next week. This is like saying, “I noticed when I read my Bible first thing in the morning, I tend to have an overall better day,” or “I noticed that on the days I don’t get enough sleep, I am on edge and take it out on my kids.” Then, “This next week I am going to prioritize reading my Bible in the morning,” or “I am going to go to bed before 9:00 pm this week.” Doing a weekly evaluation like this can take as little as 5 minutes but can radically change the outcome of your future week.
Life is complex, so it makes sense that recovery (in any form) would also be complex. Fortunately, it does not have to be overwhelming. Incorporating things like prayer, recognizing decision fatigue, and doing weekly evaluations can make a difference in our holistic healing.
We can take it one step at a time, one part of our life at a time, and heal little by little each day.
- Finkelhor, D., Turner, H. A., Shattuck, A., & Hamby, S. L. (2013). Violence, crime, and abuse exposure in a national sample of children and youth: An update. JAMA Pediatrics, 167(7), 614–621. https://doi.org/10 .1001/jamapediatrics.2013.42
- Dutton, M. A., Dahlgren, S., Martinez, M., & Mete, M. (2021). The holistic healing arts retreat: An intensive, experiential intervention for survivors of interpersonal trauma. Psychological Trauma, https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0001178
- Luhrmann, T. M., Nusbaum, H., & Thisted, R. (2013). “Lord, teach us to pray”: Prayer practice affects cognitive processing. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 13(1-2), 159-177. https://doi.org/10.1163/15685373-12342090
The views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are those of the author alone and do not reflect an official position of Pure Desire Ministries, except where expressly stated.