Darkness and Light

author/source: Sheri Damon

Stress-matteo-vistoccoDeveloping Psychological Insulation for Mind-Body-Spirit Mental Wellness

We all experience times of stress, struggle, illness. If by chance we have not yet, we will. At these moments we may feel surrounded by darkness and feel unable to find our way out. There is a silver lining; there is a key to the light! We can protect ourselves from the most severe impacts of stress and struggle. We can help ourselves heal and strengthen. One of the most effective strategies for overall wellness is to develop psychological insulation.

We wrap our most precious packages in bubble wrap to protect them from harm. Psychological insulation, bubble wrap for our mental wellness, requires developing strategies that facilitate health and healing and potentially protect us from deeper harm of life’s stressors. This begins with self-care. There is a quote by L.R. Knost Taking care of yourself doesn't mean me first, it means me too.  In our busy tech-filled, responsibility laden lives we sometimes think we have to do it all well or we haven’t done “it” at all. We may think I’ll take a break this weekend or I’ve got to get this all done and rejuvenate on my vacation. This black and white thinking prevents us from taking a step back and thinking if I take a moment out to take care of myself, I will be able to do a much better job with this responsibility. As a partner, mom, friend, boss, employee… we often worry about taking care of everyone else first and then if, and only if, there is something leftover we take care of ourselves. This can lead to a disordered relationship with food (our brain and our digestive system are intricately connected), fatigue (our body’s ability to settle, sleep, relax are all tied to our physical and mental wellness), as well as lack of enjoyment in our life and thus, distress and illness. However, if we work to insulate ourselves, we learn to navigate the most stressful moments.

darkness-and-light-developing-psychological-insulationHave you ever noticed that clouds and shadows create the most magical sunsets? We may think that in order to see a beautiful sunset we need crystal clear skies, but these veils darkening portions of the sky enhance the sunset’s beauty.

There are varied tools of wellness but one strategy that promotes psychological insulation is mindfulness. Many will say they cannot engage in mindfulness because they cannot settle their minds; they don’t have time. They don’t like meditation. It is possible, to begin with creating small, mindful moments, turning small tasks in our day into meditative moments that enhance our health. To allow the body and brain to move out of a state of stress, you can start small. Notice the feeling of the steering wheel, the sensation of the seat of the car, the sound of the tires on the road as you begin your commute. Stop for a moment and take in a deep breath and notice that sunset. Notice the smell and sensation of soap bubbles in the shower. These mindful moments can begin to reset our bodies and mind out of stressed, reactive, illness producing states and into being well.

Sheri Damon LMHCBIO:  Sheri Damon is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with three decades of experience using contemplative, holistic practices providing individual, group and family therapy, training, speaking engagements, workshops, retreats, consultation and life effectiveness and wellness planning. Sheri founded FLIHH (Foundation for Learning & Inspiring Health & Healing), a unique healing practice located in Marshfield, MA with a satellite office in Mashpee, MA.  The concept for FLIHH reinforces the importance of mind-body-spirit connection in treating eating disorders, as well as technology addiction, anxiety, depression, and life stress. Sheri applies a combination of strength-based strategies like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), animal-assisted techniques, mindfulness and meditation to employ her COPER model (Connection, Optimism, Play, Empowerment, Resilience) leading to effective programs for all ages.  “Butterflihh Farm” allows clients to enjoy the soothing effects of the connection with nature and animals in a serene environment that promotes healing and resiliency.

Sheri is a Board Member of the South Shore Coalition of Independent Therapists as well as one of the founding Board Members of the Cape and Islands Family Support Network and a MA certified School Adjustment Counselor. Sheri is an Adjunct Professor and DESE Coordinator at Cambridge College School of Psychology & Counseling. Sheri has received diverse training from Clark University, Northeastern University and a range of mental health settings and mindfulness teachers as well as training in Comprehensive Alternative Medicine to inform her practice.

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