Haunted by Old Hurts? 3 Ways to Take Charge and Heal
Healing old emotional wounds is a powerful way to rewrite your story’s ending. We cannot change the events that left us hurting, but we can take charge and heal!
Thanks to both scientific research and basic awareness, we know our nervous system allows emotions and major life events to impact us physically. We’re reminded of this with tears of joy, butterflies in the stomach and a rapid heart rate. We can be affected positively or negatively by our emotions. But since the difficult emotions are true to their name, difficult, we often mismanage them and the healing process.
This post addresses old wounds, not clinical diagnoses, addictions or abusive relationships. And while talk therapy and a host of other group and one-on-one methods are invaluable for many in their emotional healing journey, we’re focusing on powerful self-led methods to take charge and begin healing today. The 3 tools listed in this post can still compliment other treatment methods for these issues.
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But if I’m Coping, Can’t I Just Stick with What I’m Doing?
Staring down our old hurts can be scary! So why rip the Band-Aid and reopen a wound? And if ignoring old pain has been working, is it really necessary to go through an emotional detox?
Coping mechanisms help in the short term, but holding onto hurt will inevitably haunt your emotional and physical health. The way unhealed emotional pain negatively impacts our mind, body and spirit is referred to as the emotional roots of disease.
mind-body connection research
Psychoneuroimmunology studies the interactions between our central nervous system and our immune system. I know. That’s likely a new term for you. It was for me! But the mind-body connection research which it describes, is likely more familiar.
NCBI reports stressful emotions negatively impact our physical health in the following ways (1).
- Diminished white blood cell response to viral infections and cancerous cells
- Diminished efficacy of vaccination
- Slowed healing of wounds
- Exacerbated autoimmune diseases that involve white blood cells (Evans Syndrome, Lupus, Rhuematoid Arthritus)
This concept is growing in reach and popularity, so those findings may not be surprising. Even so, they can be startling when we start looking at our own life experiences.
This author’s blog and print version on the emotional roots of disease has incredible depth and is presented in an easy to understand format.
3 approaches for Healing Old Emotional Wounds
It is important to remember we are fearfully and wonderful made. So much so that we can reverse negative emotional impact!
These 3 approaches for healing old emotional wounds are powerful self-led methods that allow you to get started on your recovery right away.
1. Mind-Body Exercises
Mind-body exercise is a broad term encompassing activities which combine mental focus and a physical activity such as controlled breathing, stretching, balance work, and muscle relaxation techniques.
Research shows that mindfulness activities create positive change to the structure and anatomy, as well as the function of the nervous system. The American Journal of Psychiatry even uses this to encourage physicians to recommend mind-body exercises to improve pain management in their patients!
According to researchers, the vast majority–a whopping 75-98 percent–of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about truly affects us both physically and emotionally. In fact, fear alone triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses in our bodies, activating more than thirty different hormones! Today our culture is undergoing an epidemic of toxic thoughts that, left unchecked, create ideal conditions for illnesses.” ~ from back cover of Switch on Your Brain, book by Dr. Caroline Leaf, Neuropsychologist and Christian Author.
Pretty incredible consideration, that our thoughts change our life!
Did you know I send out a Monday Meditation by email each week? Meditation is my favorite mind-body exercise because of the way it’s helped me in healing old emotional wounds. It didn’t happen overnight, but the healing and emotional control was paramount. Meditation allowed me to become acutely aware of my thought patterns and emotions. By following mediation with gratitude and prayer, I could easily invite the Holy Spirit to make continual heart changes in me.
I’d love to have you join me for Monday Meditation each week! Recent topics have included Choosing Kind Loving Thoughts, Breath of God Body Scan, and Hearing the Still Small Voice of God. You can subscribe below for weekly meditations plus receive access to my Subscriber Only Resources with guides, printables and ebooks for seeking sacred in your everyday routines.
2. Prayer for Healing Old Emotional Wounds
Is there an old emotional wound that tears at you, limits you, prevents you from accepting the grace of God? Please know that God hears every prayer!
I’m learning to get bolder in my prayers for healing and when I don’t know what to say, I remember there is one prayer for everything. It is also comforting to know that when we can’t muster even a rote prayer, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in wordless groans (Romans 8:26-27). We are never alone in our battle!
On top of all this support, or maybe I should say beneath it all, we are given a call, a reminder, a skeleton key for accessing our Father. It is the forgiveness of others.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:24-25 (NIV)
Forgiveness isn’t done because someone is deserving. It is done from a place of love and mercy, just the way we received it ourselves from Christ Jesus. There are many spiritual, emotional and physical implications of withholding forgiveness of others or fearing our sins are too great to be covered in God’s grace. Our entire faith is built on forgiveness!
As you prepare to hand your heart over for healing of old emotional wounds, ask God to show you if there is a need to forgive someone. I did this recently over a big hurt I thought I’d forgiven a long time ago. God showed me another piece that I was still holding onto. It was a bit startling actually, but there was no denying what the Great Physician saw in this holistic visit! I have to tell you, it’s going to take some work to forgive, but I’m clinging to hope that because he was good enough to answer my prayer and show me where the wound was not healed properly, God will hold my hand until the work is done.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV)
Knowing how important it is to forgive is quite different from possessing an ability to forgive. But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Freedom to forgive. Freedom to heal. And freedom to do it all without fear.
See Also, 5 Scripture Prayers for Emotional Healing
3. flower essences for healing
If healing with flower essences is a new topic for you, please check out my Jesus Follower’s Guide on the subject!
It is important to remember that flower essence healing only addresses the emotional root of an issue. Flower essence descriptions focus primarily on the emotions addressed by each flower. Occasionally, you will see a physical symptom included. This is because, as we discussed previously, our physical and emotional health are deeply connected.
Because we tend to bury and ignore emotional pain, there are layers to our healing process. As with my prayer for God to show me where I may need to forgive others, there was a flashing arrow sign pointing right at my old wound, but I couldn’t see it.
Flower essences will not supersede or compare to your personal relationship with God, but they do open up emotional awareness. Similar to meditation, healing with flower essences gives sight to what needs attention. As a Jesus follower, I use this awareness to prompt surrendered prayer!
Here are some flower essence blends from Freedom Flowers that may aid you or someone you love in healing old emotional wounds. If these don’t quite match your need, check out their full site!
Heart Healer Flower Essence – Eases the pain of heartbreak, abandonment, rejection and co-dependency.
Good Grief Flower Essence – The “Good Grief” essence is a blend of very comforting, shock releasing essences to get the process started or stopped as needed. Helpful in any trauma, whether old or new. Use in the event of a death, breakup or any time you’re dealing with a loss.
Anger Management Flower Essence – helps get rid of rage, resentment and irritation. You can’t control what others say or do, but you can change the way you react.
Yarrow Shield Flower Essence – beneficial for those who are sensitive to environments, and other people’s moods and energies. Aides in setting boundaries and protects from others’ projected negativity.
Joy Flower Essence – For bubbling up joy and laughter despite circumstances, and not taking yourself so seriously. Helps you flow through difficult times with grace, positivity, gratitude and love. True joy is not dependent on life circumstances and sometimes we just need a little help seeing the big picture.
Remember, Freedom Flowers offers free samples of all their Bouquet Blends!
Begin healing old emotional wounds
Healing old emotional wounds is a powerful way to rewrite your story’s ending. We cannot change the events that left us hurting, but we can take charge and heal!Healing old emotional wounds is a powerful way to rewrite your story's ending. We cannot change the events that left us hurting, but we can take charge and heal! Click To Tweet
Hashing and rehashing mistakes and wrongs done to you keeps your brain focused on the hurt. If there is anyway, rewrite the way the story ends. You can do this by looking for the takeaway lesson, or how you rose beyond expectations, refusing to be defeated.
Or maybe you faithfully choose to forgive and live in peaceful freedom.
It’s going to end how you choose! I hope these 3 ways for taking charge equip and empower you to find healing for each and every one of your emotional wounds.
Love this Rachel! When you said God showed you another area of needed forgiveness when you thought you had already forgiven, He does that with me, too. He is so merciful to us. I love your quote ::: “Healing old emotional wounds is a powerful way to rewrite your story’s ending. We cannot change the events that left us hurting, but we can take charge and heal!” Yes! Love it. We can’t control what happened in our past but we can steward our present and future well. Thank you for this beautiful post! ❤
Thanks, Donna! You are so right. It is a great gift of mercy when he presents continual ways for us to heal and forgive!
Wonderful advice! I know first hand that we are affected physically by our thought life.
Thanks, Heather! Hope you feel empowered to make change and/or continue taking thoughts captive and healing.
I had an incredible experience with healing old emotional wounds a couple of years ago. A friend of mine prayed with me using the Transformation Prayer model, and wow. Within a day or two, I experienced several areas of physical healing!
That is incredible! I’ve been interested in learning more on TPM for healing old emotional wounds. Thanks for the encouragement in that direction!
Wonderful post on healing from old wounds. The Word tells us in so many ways that our thoughts influence everything in our lives including our health, Thank you for your ‘whole person’ and holistic approach,
Thank you, Fleda. Yes, it does. God provides us with healing in so many ways. I think it paints such a tangible image of his character and will for us.
I once had a therapist friend tell me that trying to suppress our emotions and trauma is like holding a beach ball underwater. You can hold it there for a while, but it will always pop up to the surface. I use your suggestions for mind-body exercises and find them to be a useful tool almost daily! Prayer too, of course. He is always willing and waiting to hear from us!
Oh, that’s such a good visual! Thank you for sharing! I do mind-body exercises allllmost every day, too. They are so helpful that missing a day or two still seems to help.
Amazing advice – emotional and inspiring. Great work!
I’m so glad this post on healing old emotional wounds inspired you. Thank you for taking time to comment and in turn inspire me!