Emotional Support For Communities In Time Of Change

By Dr. Ted Wiard

Editors Note: This is part of an ongoing series by grief specialist Dr. Ted Wiard, dedicated to helping educate the community about emotional healing.

Lately, I have had many people come up to me with apologetic responses for being more aware of a higher focus towards one’s self-care.

In my therapeutic practice, as well as out in public, I will hear statements such as, “It may be selfish but as the pandemic continues, I am becoming more conscious of what I need in my life.”

When there is a loss in someone’s life, there is a tendency for the person to have a higher focus on their own needs, care and safety. This is common and necessary for self- preservation and survival of the human species.

When there is loss/change, the brain moves out of a place of macro thinking to micro. In other words, the circle of concern for safety shrinks to self and family. A great example of this is what the human body naturally does when getting too cold and starts to move to hypothermia. As the body temperature starts to drop too low, the nervous system starts to focus on the vital organs and starts to shut down on the care of outer limbs and non-essential parts the body. As the body regains warmth, the circulatory system reopens to the these less vital organs and limbs. When the status-quo of someone’s reality and the foundation of how they define the world around them changes, there is a need for reforming that foundation, and there is a higher level of focus on someone’s own needs for safety rather than the external stimuli and concerns. As a new foundation of normalcy starts to be formulated, the internal focus can, once again, multi-task self-care and universal thinking. This is similar to the body temperature dropping, micro-concern is initiated, and then with body warmth rising, macro-attention can return and the entire biological system can be attended to and given energy.

Selfish thinking may be a way of self-awareness and self-care to reestablish a sense of safety and normalcy, rather than the self-indulgence actions of taking care of yourself at the expense of others, as the world witnessed with the toilet paper hoarding that happened out of fear and a grasping need for normalcy and safety. Finding that fine line between self-care and indulgent behavior is the key to reestablish a healthy foundation in which universal thinking can return, due to a healthy sense of safety to calm the mind. Through consciously monitoring your own emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual needs, you can then, step out and be a healthy participant in society on the macro level.

Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Dr. Ted Wiard, EdD, LPCC, CGC, Founder of Golden Willow Retreat GWR@newmex.com or call at 575.776.2024.

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