4 Emotional Healing Techniques That Will Change The Way You Think About Weight Loss
Several years ago, I attended a session with an energy healer who suggested that I get certified in a healing modality. She said, "You just need to create a safe space for yourself, and the weight will fall off, honey." At the time I was in the beginning stages of what became a 100-pound weight loss and spiritual healing journey. I didn’t understand at the time, but I listened. A part of me was offended that she made it sound so simple, but as time passed and my mental landscape transformed, my body followed suit.
She knew I was in need of soul food: an opportunity to feel positive, healing energy. How we feel and think on a regular basis manifests in our bodies. If we don't give ourselves the opportunity to feel and think progressively, we may remain stuck in old patterns by default. Our thoughts are the architects of our reality; they are the framework of our actions. Thus, to build a healthy, sustainable life, we should begin with healthy, sustainable thoughts.
Often we think that we’ll feel better if we just lose the weight, but true transformation comes from the reverse.
Seriously, think about it.
Feel better first. Begin to transform your mental landscape, and then, with time, your body will adjust to match your mind’s frequency.
"Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul." —Dorothy Day
There are so many healing practices, and these soul food practices are just as important in your journey to fitness as your eating and exercise habits. Your spiritual fitness is closely tied to the way you live, move, and eat. Again, shifting your focus to releasing emotional toxicity often leads to physical weight loss. By moving into a better emotional space, we're preparing ourselves to make healthy choices on a consistent basis. Emotional healing also improves our internal dialogue and re-establishes hope. If you do the spiritual work, a shift will occur; there’s no question of if—just when and how.
There are many emotional healing techniques, but my favorites for getting started are these: Write and burn, visual negative energy release, deflection, and affirmations. Here's a beginner's guide to each one:
1. Write and burn:
This technique is simple and highly effective way to release negative thoughts toward people or life events that are still causing you daily shame, frustration, anger, or pain. In Writing to Heal, James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D., shares benefits of expressive writing, "The evidence is mounting that the act of writing about traumatic experience for as little as fifteen or twenty minutes a day for three or four days can produce measurable changes in physical and mental health. Emotional writing can also affect people’s sleep habits, work efficiency, and how they connect with others."
To complete a write-and-burn session, write out everything you’d want to say about a particular individual or event. Pour your heart onto the paper, get emotional, cry, and let it out. Read your letter aloud a few times to trigger the emotional response you would have if you were actually expressing your written thoughts in person, and then safely burn the paper. What you’re doing is a role play to put your brain through the process of voicing and letting go. Repeat as necessary.
2. Visual negative energy release:
This is a powerful method of releasing stagnant negative energies stored deep within. You can do this lying down or in a chair. It’s best if you work outside or on the floor so that you feel grounded and connected to a natural substance.
With your eyes closed, visualize negative energy as a substance. For me, it’s thick, gray, goopy oil. You don’t have to think about a specific person, feeling, or event; simply visualize negative energy leaving your body. Picture it pouring out from your chest or heart center and dripping down to the ground you are connected with. Thank the earth for absorbing the energy and repurposing it for good use.
The first time I practiced draining, I could only visualize a small stream of negative energy leaving my body, but as I continued to practice, the visualization became much easier, and the release I felt grew.
Deflection is the act of causing something to change direction. Dance and musical expression are potent vehicles of deflection. You don’t have to be great at singing or dancing to reap the energetic benefits they both have to offer. Getting stagnant energy moving and flowing is a great first step in the path to mind, body, and soul fitness.
Something as simple as dancing and singing to your favorite song can provide physical, mental, and spiritual benefits while strengthening your likelihood to continue on a path of change and transformation. If you’d like to combine deflection with a serious sweat session, consider trying drum circles, Buti Yoga, free movement groups, or other dance fitness formats.
Many of us are familiar with the concept of daily affirmations or positive declarations, but how many actually say them with intention on a consistent basis? Affirmations can help facilitate great change in our lives when the principle is applied with persistence. They can also be used to break the habit of negative mental conversation and self-doubt.
Speaking and repeating your desired truths as if they are your reality will create the environment and frequency for them to manifest. You’ve heard the saying that thoughts become things. Take a moment to "think" about your daily recurring thoughts. Are they positive or negative? Do they contribute to your life goals or take away from them? What positive affirmations can you use to replace reccurring negative thoughts?
For example, replace, "I don’t like my body" with "my body is healthy and beautiful." Replace "I’m too tired" with "I have an abundance of energy to take care of myself and my family."
I'm not going to give you a long list of suggested affirmations. Instead, I'll encourage you to become aware of your internal conversation over the next few days and to create positive affirmations for the negative thoughts that visit you most. It’s important that you visualize what you’re saying as you read these affirmations to create a strong vibration. Repeat them throughout your day if you notice that you’re entering a negative thought process.
One of my current favorites, inspired by Gabrielle Bernstein, is "I am ready to live and learn through love."
Pick at least one of these soul food practices and commit to integrating it consistently into your daily life. Then watch for the changes. They are sure to come. Remember that this is about building your sustainable wellness routine. If any of these healing methods don’t resonate with you or conflict with your beliefs, then I’d encourage you to seek what works as soul food for you.
Want more insights on how to level up your life? Check out your July horoscope, then find out why holding on to past relationships is the worst thing you can do for yourself.
Bri Jackson is a New York–based personal trainer, registered yoga instructor (E-RYT), and mama of three who has maintained a 100-pound weight loss for over five years. She has a bachelor’s in communication from Arizona State University, and is passionate about sharing fitness, wellness, and silver linings with men and women who are ready to take back their health one meal, one movement, and one meditation at a time. She lives to bring simple clean-eating ideas, fitness tips, and inspiration to others.