Lean Towards Healing

Written by an iTherapy Provider

Lean Towards Healing

All of us or at least many of us probably have something to heal. Maybe we are already in the process of healing, and maybe we have taken a step or two and started to lean towards healing. Healing is an active process, and we need to be ready to lean towards healing. There may be times we need to take a break on and off through the healing process. But there are steps we can take along the way and lean towards healing.

Now What?

When you are ready to lean towards healing or reengage with healing, having some help in the process can be beneficial. I think looking for a therapist can be very helpful and there will be some links at the end of this blog to assist you. I believe very much in counseling and would encourage finding a therapist to help you through your journey. There are different places to find a therapist such as professionals directories. You can get a referral from a physician. Can contact your EAP through your work for some names. You can look through different organizations to find someone certified or trained in a certain modality. There are also online mental health platforms.

Okay you are looking for therapist or on a waiting list. Or maybe you are just considering therapy but are not ready to commit yet. What can you do on your own? You can start with some journaling which will be a good start and help you be clearer on what you want to address in therapy, either to help clarify what you want to do in therapy, just what you are looking for or what are some present issues.


Journaling is a powerful tool and can help with the healing process. It can bring out some of your feelings and thoughts. It is the beginning of self-awareness and clarity. We spend a lot of time avoiding these things and it finally can help bring somethings to the surface. It helps with processing what is going on in our lives but gives us more understanding as well.

It might help to have some structure for your writing, such as setting a certain time of the day and trying to write for at least 20 minutes. There is nothing wrong with free writing and see what comes from it. Don’t get caught up in grammar or it being neat. You can try starting with a meditation to help free you up or maybe you answer some questions or use some journaling prompts, “15 Journal Prompts for Healing”, https://robynliechti.com/blogs/journaling-resources/15-journal-prompts-for-healing.

You can write about what has been difficult and explore those times when you become reactive. It can help improve your awareness on what has been triggering you, your feelings, and help you know better what areas you might want to work on with a therapist. It can help decrease stress and worry. The process of writing it down can be very helpful instead of you getting stuck ruminating or worrying. With some clarity and awareness, it will allow you to have some directions and understanding on areas you want to heal or work on.

Important Element

While you have started the journaling process, we need to keep in mind some of our basic needs that should be addressed. If you think of Maslow hierarchy, we do need to have our basic needs met before we might be ready to focus on healing and moving through the healing process.  So, we need to address our physiological needs (food, water, warmth, sleep) and safety needs. If these needs are not met it will be difficult to dig into deep wounds. You can certainly start therapy and what you may need to start with is how to meet some basic needs including safety and putting a plan in place before you are able to focus on deep issues. Some phone numbers are at the end of this blog that might be helpful.

Spiritual Fitness

I have been thinking about this idea of spiritual fitness and what it means to me. For me it is the mind/body/spirit connection. The general definition of spiritual fitness seems to vary from living up to your potential, having fulfillment and finding purpose and meaning.  I look at it as mind, body, spirit (soul) connection and being in a place where you can embrace healing. Healing is an active process, and it does require energy and willingness to fully emerge yourself into the process. We looked at meeting some basic needs earlier. Part of my spiritual fitness would be getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthy balance diet.

To embrace healing is to embrace feelings. We may have to manage whatever habits we have been using to keep ourselves numb. Whether getting too much comfort food, drinking too much alcohol, spending too much time on social media, streaming too many shows or indulging in whatever your to-go habit for numbing is. Maybe the first step is starting to make some changes that would allow you to be open to a place of healing.

Being able to stay self-regulated will be very helpful whether you are working on healing or just trying to manage your life. It is about really getting familiar with your autonomic nervous system and noticing shifts. The more connected we are to these changes the more we will be able to maintain our regulation. We can utilize different tools.


Some tools to help with self-regulation, you can find in prior blogs, “First Aid Tools for Stress and Overload Managing in Stressful Times”, https://illuminationcounselingservice.com/2021/09/14/first-aid-tools-for-stress-and-overload-managing-in-stressful-times/ and “Expanding Your Window”, https://illuminationcounselingservice.com/2021/12/08/expanding-your-window/. Being able to maintain self-regulation can be important when we are dealing with feelings, sensations and thoughts that can be overwhelming. Another practice to help with the mind/body/soul connections is meditation practices.

Mindfulness and Loving-Kindness 

Healing requires a lot of compassion and mindfulness. Embracing some self-compassion and loving kindness practices will be very beneficial as you move through the healing process. It is important to start caring and nurturing yourself and recognizing the importance of being kind to yourself. Moving through this journey you will need to be able to self-sooth and give yourself kindness along the way.

Mindfulness is about being present and aware without judgement.We have opportunities for healing all the time. For example, whenever we notice uneasy feelings, or we start feel uncomfortable. It usually means something from the past has been bumped into. If we can stay with our discomfort, be present with what we are feeling and breath through it, we just might be able to start healing old wounds.

Loving-Kindness Practices

Doing daily loving-kindness practices will be helpful. You can create a formal practice or even create a mantra or short loving-kindness meditation such as:

May I be filled with loving-kindness, may I be held in loving-kindness, may I feel calm and connected, may I accept myself just as I am, may I be happy, may I know the natural joy of being alive.

Which you can do throughout your day. Or start and end your days with it. There are many scripted meditations that you can follow along with. As you continue your practice, it is good to expand your kindness outward at first to people close to you, then acquaintances and people you don’t know and even don’t like. Loving-kindness meditations will increase our capacity for self-acceptance and forgiveness among many other things that will boost well-being.

Mindfulness Practice

Start doing some daily mindfulness meditation. You can start small. Make a goal of 5 minutes a day to start with. Now if that is too easy, then do 30 minutes or an hour. The idea is starting where you are and growing your practice. It is not about having no thoughts but more about not focusing on your thoughts. The practice is anchored with something that is sensory (sound, touch, smell, sight, sensations).

Take a few deep breaths, then just find an easy rhythm.  Choose an anchor which can be a sound in your surroundings, your breath, or even a body sensation.  Even though thoughts will come up, it will not be the focus. Once you choose your anchor, focus your attention on it. Don’t worry about thoughts coming up. Once you notice you are being pulled into your thoughts, return your attention back to the anchor. When you get better you will notice that thoughts come up and can just acknowledge them and let them float by like clouds. Some exercises and links can be found in a prior blog “Empathy to Compassion”,  https://illuminationcounselingservice.com/2022/04/02/empathy-to-compassion/.

Final Thought

We have to make choices on a daily basis on what we will practice. There may be times we take a break from actively working on healing past wounds, but we still need to make a choice every day on self-care and self-love. It is not selfish to choose yourself. It is about learning to trust yourself and especially your body. We spend a lot of time ignoring and dismissing her. (You will have to decide for yourself but for me my body is a she not an it.)  Our body will never lie to us, and we need to learn to befriend and listen to her. Our body is always being honest with us and telling us when something is wrong and change is needed.  We spend a great deal of our lives ignoring her and numbing her. It might be difficult and new to actually listen to her but just know you can trust her.

Embracing these practices will help to give yourself what you need to be able to participate in the healing process. Sometimes it will be about getting yourself to a place where you are ready to heal and sometimes you will be in the active process of healing.  It is about choosing every day. Choosing self-care. Choosing healing. And choosing yourself.

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplashhttps://unsplash.com/@hannaholinger

Phone number for services

Call 988 for the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Call 1-800-662-HELP for the SAMHSA National Hotline; they can provide referral and information services for mental health and/or substance use disorder treatment

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233, text to 88788

Free and confidential referral service 211 (Assist with housing, access to health care, food, and other services)

Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists

Therapytribe, https://www.therapytribe.com/

iTherapy, https://itherapy.com/about_our_counselors/#find-a-counselor-near-you

Being Seen, https://beingseen.org/

Find A Therapist, https://www.findatherapist.com/

Open Path (uninsured or under insured), https://openpathcollective.org/

IFS, https://ifs-institute.com/practitioners

EMDRIA, https://www.emdria.org/find-an-emdr-therapist/

Original Post October 01, 2022 on Karen Gentilman’s website Illumination Counseling Service.

Karen Gentilman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) practicing in the State of Idaho, working for 30 years with many different medical conditions both acute and chronic conditions, the last 20 years in neurological rehabilitation including brain injury, strokes and spinal cord injuries. She takes a trauma-informed, integrated and holistic approach with utilizing multiple modalities which is individually based while striving to provide compassionate therapeutic environment. Call (208) 266-4642 or email KarenGentilman@IlluminationCounselingService.com  to set up a FREE 15-minute consultation. Visit Karen Gentilman’s profile page.

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