Tag: wellness

5 Things to Kindly Keep in Mind with People Processing Violence

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Children learn what they see, so please, lead by positive example. Psychologically healthy parents protect their children, they don’t hit them. Fear and respect are not the same thing, and children deserve to feel safe.

 

People who’ve survived any form of physical abuse or threat are often left with hard-to-heal emotional scars. The damage can take many forms, such as: sexual molestation, rape, being physically struck or beaten, experiencing danger, and military service. But no matter how personal safety violations are inflicted, any may lead to psychological dysfunction.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, dissociation, denial, depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are some issues experienced by humans whose nervous systems have been pushed beyond their limits. People who experience assault-based trauma are more likely to develop PTSD, but everyone has a different level of stress they can handle before becoming permanently overwhelmed. Because all humans are different, there’s no way to predict psychological disorders, and no guaranteed cures.

Some common symptoms felt by those who’ve been in threatening situations may include hypervigilance, being easily startled, insomnia, never feeling safe, brain fog, irritability, an exaggerated fight-or-flight response, mood swings, and panic attacks involving dizziness, nausea, sweating, rapid heartbeat, tunneling vision, or a sense of impending doom.

Below are 5 things to kindly keep in mind while talking to people processing violence:

  1. The Compassion Competition—

One of the worst assumptions to make about a person affected by violence is that they lack perspective or don’t understand that somebody always has it worse. Abused people know they’re not the only person to which injustice has happened, and unless they’ve never been on the Internet, they’re obviously aware of life’s many atrocities.

Examples of this might be saying, “Well, at least THIS WORSE THING didn’t happen to you…” and giving an example of something you consider a greater wrongdoing.

This reaction completely invalidates the feelings of the person who trusted you enough to confide, and insults their intelligence. The fact that bad things also happen to others doesn’t magically erase the bad things that have happened to them, no matter where you’d place the abuse on your spectrum.

In short: Pain is not a contest. You can show empathy to more than one person at a time without dismissing the feelings of anyone. Because regardless of how someone was hurt, it always matters.

  1. The Dance of Denial—

Many victims of physical or sexual abuse find themselves alone with their pain because the topic makes others feel uncomfortable. This can be especially true if the person was violated by a family member.

Families sometimes brush unflattering stories about sexual or physical abusers under the rug because it’s hard to believe a relative is capable of such brutality. But this reaction can re-victimize people by invalidating their pain.

Often, rather than helping those harmed by a family member or stranger, friends and relatives defensively ignore the issue, allowing the perpetrator to get away with something evil. This lack of justice or support can severely hamper the healing process, because a person can’t heal from a wound nobody will acknowledge.

In short: Abuse at the hands of a stranger -or- a family member hurts, and all forms of abuse are abuse. Ignoring the “icky” can make those harmed feel like they’ve done something wrong, rather than the person who caused the damage. Listen, believe, and strengthen instead of shaming.

  1. The Blame Game—

If you ever feel like saying, “Well that person is a ____, so what did you expect?” or, “I just accept that they’re messed up, and ignore it. That’s just who they are!” about the person who harmed someone, go ahead and keep that thought to yourself, because it reeks of victim blaming.

You may have the best intentions, such as trying to commiserate with the person who’s sharing their painful experience with you. However, what they often hear instead is: “Shame on you for being stupid. You should have known what you were dealing with, and anticipated your own violation.”

In short: Nobody in a civilized society should ever have to expect violence. Don’t imply that people could have predicted their own abuse and avoided it, because this only makes you look uncompassionate.

  1. Downplaying the Damage—

There is nothing more unhelpful than someone telling you to “get over it” in reference to anything, including the violation of your personal safety. Unless you have the ability to crawl into another person’s psyche and assess how something has affected them, dismissing their damage can be downright dangerous.

Everyone has a right to feel safe, and whether you’ve experienced similar things or not, your decision that everyone else has to deal with emotions exactly the way you do is thoughtless and condescending, at best.

Being told you’re “histrionic” or to “put on your big boy/big girl pants” are examples of thoughtless advice, and often given by those who choose to live in denial, rather than being brave enough to deal with their problems. This form of blatant invalidation is heartless and harmful. If someone has the courage to face their personal demons, rather than attempting to humiliate them into silence because of your own cowardice, you might instead watch and learn.

In short: Gaslighting is gross. Stop trying to make people feel like they’re overreacting or incorrectly imagining their own abuse. Everybody’s emotions are valid, and your motives are questionable if you’d prefer people in pain “suck it up and move on.” If you feel this way, why don’t YOU move on… somewhere out of hearing range.

  1. No Pity Parties, Please—

Most people who’ve been hurt by someone else are furious that they were forced into the role of victim, and don’t enjoy it. Treating them with compassion is lovely, but viewing them with pity can be upsetting. Being helpless is the worst feeling in the world, and nobody who’s experienced it ever wants to feel it again.

The word “survivor” is preferred over the word “victim” by many because it implies strength, rather than weakness. Surviving doesn’t have to mean someone has survived a life-or-death situation, either—it simply means someone is trying to accept and cope with what’s happened to them.

In short: Nobody chooses to be abused, and treating people like they’re fragile or broken because of the violating actions of another can frustrate them. Let them know you think they’re strong for moving forward, despite those who’ve tried to hold them back. Survivors of abuse would much rather you celebrate their courage than pity them.

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People on the path to wellness don’t appreciate roadblocks created by other humans, well-intentioned or not. If you truly want to help someone move past bad things that have happened to them, listen to and believe them, don’t invalidate their feelings, and try to empathize.

Kindness and understanding go a long way in this world, and by avoiding the potentially harmful reactions listed above, you might give someone the compassion and support they need to heal themselves.

Rock the Walk! 7 Ways Walking Works for Weight Loss and Wellness

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Embarking on a fitness and weight loss program can be an intimidating new goal, especially for workout beginners and those who’ve been out of the exercise habit for a while. This is why walking is a wonderful way to gently ease anyone into a new, healthier lifestyle without a lot of stress or training. Because everybody knows how to walk, and even those with joint issues can build up muscles to eventually ease aches and pains if they take it very slowly.

Besides the health benefits that accompany the loss of excess weight, brisk walking and other types of cardiovascular exercise can prevent many other ailments and illnesses, making it important to do on a regular basis.

Most fitness experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio 4-5 days a week, but there’s nothing wrong with fitting some walking time into every day, as no healing period is required if muscles aren’t pushed too hard.

Check out 7 ways walking can make you healthier and more physically fit below:

 

1. Walking Prevents Type 2 Diabetes—

Especially if type 2 diabetes runs in your family, a walking program can be an invaluable and simple step on the path to avoiding this disease.

The Diabetes Prevention Program has even determined that walking 150 minutes per week, and losing only 12-15 pounds can reduce a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 58%. (Source: MedicineNet.com.)

GlobalFit.com also found that type 2 diabetics who walk at least 3-4 hours a week have a 54% lower death rate, proving that it’s never too late to change your future.

 

2. Walking Improves Mood—

When we walk, the body releases feel-good endorphins and brain chemicals that make us feel euphoric and happier inside. Multiple studies have shown that people who walk have lower stress levels than those who are sedentary. According to EverybodyWalk.org, the endorphins produced when walking can relieve stress and lower anger and fatigue levels within only 10 minutes.

Walking is also a great way to work off nervous energy and anxiety without straining the body, and has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression by as much as 47% when done regularly.

 

3. Walking Reduces Cancer—

Study after study has shown that walking can drastically reduce chances of colon and breast cancer when done consistently.

FitWalk.org has stated that walking reduces colon cancer for women by 31%, and can also alter the ratio of estrogen metabolites to lower the chances of developing breast cancer.

And even though many would assume that women with breast cancer should only rest while fighting the disease, walking 45 minutes a day can actually be beneficial for breast cancer patients.

 

4. Walking Improves Cardiovascular Health—

By increasing the blood flow throughout the body and raising the heart rate, walking makes the heart stronger and lowers cholesterol, too.

People who walk 3 hours a week can also reduce chances of heart disease and upper respiratory infections, making a daily walk a great way to stay healthy during flu season—or any season, for that matter.

 

5. Walking Lengthens Lifespan—

It has been estimated that walking can increase a person’s longevity by reducing inflammation in the body, which lessens arthritis, macular degeneration, and other immune response-related aging issues to allow for better health and quality of life.

Scientists have proven with studies that walking also keeps the brain young, reducing dementia by up to 54% and improving memory.

 

6. Walking Burns Calories—

Even if you change nothing else about your diet or lifestyle, it has been proven that 45 minutes of walking a day will initiate weight loss for most people.

If you’re serious about getting in shape, of course, you’ll try to consume healthier foods and less calories. But if you’re in a weight loss slump or plateau phase, it’s good to know you can use walking to move forward and achieve your goals.

 

7. Walking Gives Energy—

Especially if you walk in the morning, the improved blood circulation can really give the body and mind a boost in energy that will last throughout the day, and get your metabolism revved up as well.

Another way walking gives us energy is by allowing the body to receive enough daily exercise to sleep well at night, helping us feel more alert the next day after a good night’s sleep.

 

If you’d like to change (or possibly even save) your life by starting a walking regimen, go slowly at first, walking 10-15 minutes daily the first week and gradually building your time up to 30-60 minutes a session.

Walking is a wonderful way for anyone at any fitness level to enter the world of exercise to eventually work up to more intense workouts without injury, if desired. Or you can simply keep walking, as it’s already an excellent way to stay in shape. Hopefully the many benefits of walking listed above have motivated you to get moving and start walking today.