Healing tends to occur in its own time.

Whatever is entailed, whether it be verbal, like an apology, an appeaseatory gesture of a bunch of flowers, or a medicinal treatment, perhaps a cream or an ointment or a more serious intervention, healing can take a little time.

And sometimes even the slightest trigger, like a comment, gesture or physical movement can set the entire healing process back weeks, if not months.

When we reflect that there are over 360 physical manifestations of stress, that fact helps us to appreciate how important the mind/body connection is and how healing is about supporting all aspects of ourselves.

Becoming more insightful can help us to recognise that if, for example, our headaches inexplicably restart, our sleeping patterns become erratic, our mood or concentration is affected, these symptoms may be indicators that our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing needs some attention.

Healing can happen when we learn to say ‘stop’ or ‘no’ when we’re feeling tired or overwhelmed. By being clear about what’s okay for us, protecting ourselves from over-committing, we get to understand ourselves better and become alert to any warning signs of stress and burnout.

Doing things that we do well can be a great way to heal, especially if we’ve been through a tough or stressful time and experienced a significant blow to our confidence. Doing things where we feel competent and capable, where maybe others recognise and appreciate our skills, can provide an important boost and heal any negativity and self-doubt.

We may need to heal if an important relationship is going through a tough, fractious time. Being keen to remedy an ongoing rift may mean that one of the parties tries to extend a hand of friendship. But, if such a gesture is not seen as real and sincere it may exacerbate the situation and set any attempt at reconciliation back weeks, if not months.

Making or receiving an apology can sometimes facilitate the healing process, but it has to feel genuine and heartfelt. To make a good apology there has to be clarity about what the person is sorry for. For example, they may feel strongly that some things needed to be said or done but are sorry for the way things turned out. Being specific makes for a more honest interaction.

But beware of falling into an apology cycle, where bad behaviour, rapidly followed by acts of penance or contrition becomes a regular pattern. There’s no healing, learning or progression made from being in a situation like that.

Talking things through can be a good way to understand each other’s position and start the healing process. But both need to be in the same place in order to even begin gaining mutual respect. If one person is angry, upset and needs a few hours to calm down in order to think clearly, but the other wants to immediately talk everything through it can mean that there’s already a stumbling block that needs attention before things can begin to improve.

There may be occasions when other people suggest firmly that we need to take steps to heal! If we’re regularly tired, irritable, unavailable physically or emotionally, they may be supportive and tolerate this for a while until there comes a point where they say, ‘enough, this cannot carry on!’ That reaction may be a significant enough reason for us to reflect on ways to make positive changes to our lives.

Time in nature is often a positive way to support any healing. It’s a good way to relax either alone or with friends and family. Taking some quiet, personal time can help to detach from stressful situations and maybe gain new insights and perspective. But, equally, spending time in nature with friends and family can be a good investment in the relationships, allowing time to talk, play, maybe exercise together and strengthen the bonds.

Nature also offers a good perspective on life. The changing seasons, occasional severity of the weather, witnessing how harsh or cruel life in the wild can be. Then seeing how well nature heals; a tree ravaged by a storm, birds losing their young to predators. But every day a new sunshine dawns, a new season gradually emerges and the cycle is repeated again.

When you’re not feeling yourself, are unwell all that may be needed is a day or two’s rest for you to recover and feel good again. Knowing that you’re giving yourself permission to stay in bed, relax on the couch, maybe do nothing or have a little pampering me-time can be a great way to temporarily relish some time out and switch off.

Nurturing yourself, just like you would a much-loved friend or family member, can be a great way to instil a positive routine of self-care, personal support and healing. But, if the feelings become more serious or persist, be sure to check in with your family doctor or have a chat with a counsellor or hypnotherapist to see if they can help treat the underlying causes.

Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.

She’s the author of 3 books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’ and ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’, all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit www.lifestyletherapy.net