One day, I received shocking news that I had a brain tumor. The diagnosis rocked my world, but I had no choice but to press on and fight for my life. So how did I do it? My breath, a sense of safety, and the decision to make a plan helped me cope and heal. No matter what life throws your way, here are 3 tools to help navigate through any trauma.
Remember to Breathe
Have you ever received news that has taken your breath away? I remember being in the ER, doctors and nurses were moving quickly back and forth to patients as I sat and waited for my diagnosis. The doctor hurried over, looked me in the eye and said you have a brain tumor. I recommend you call your family as soon as possible. The moment lasted for what felt like forever as he was standing over me staring. I realized he was waiting for a reply which I could not deliver because I wasn’t even breathing.
Confusion and disbelief had set in, fear overrode any logical thought, and fight and flight were in full effect. As I looked at him I realized I wasn’t breathing. I paused, took a deep breath and replied. As he walked away I continued to cultivate a slow, deep, rhythmic breath allowing me to calm down and settled in and receive the information I was just given.
No matter what you are presented with in your life your breath is a great tool to pause, create calmness, and possibly receive clarity needed to move forward in the moment.
Doctor after doctor came into my room explaining who they were, what they were going to do for me, and of course the possible side effects that could occur. By the time the doctors left, my anxiety level had risen so much that I felt as if I left my body. The information was all too much to take in and sort out, I started to space out. The more I spaced out, the worse things got and the harder it was to make a logical decision.
I went to back to my breath, started taking deep rhythmic breaths, and started to cultivate some peacefulness but I needed more. I needed to create safety. So I started to talk to myself and find all the ways in which I felt safe in that moment.
I am breathing. I am well enough to be talking to myself. I feel my back against the chair. My feet are on the floor.
I started to find things that brought me back to real time and present moment so I could be clear, conscious, and in my body to receive the information I needed to progress. If you ever find yourself spacing out or being taken over with anxiety, find ways in which you feel safe in the moment and breathe.
Have a plan
Yes I started planning while still in the ER. I had a goal for healing, and a plan for every possible outcome that I could experience. I held my vision for healing in my mind through the whole process pre-surgery, during, and post-surgery, and I never waivered. On days when I wanted to give up on recovery, having a plan kept me going because working toward a goal releases dopamine. Dopamine is a feel-good neurotransmitter that helps to keep us going. Even if what is happening in our life is not ideal: STOP. Pause. PLAN — and the brain will listen.
Jody Domerstad is honored to be a Certified Neurosculpting® Facilitator. She is excited to share this work because of how immensely the tools of Neurosculpting have augmented her healing process from the removal of a meningioma from her frontal lobe and the consequent head trauma. Additionally using Neurosculpting® techniques, Jody has begun to re-establish safety in her life, subdue lingering anxiety and fear attributed to PTSD, re-connect communication between spheres of the brain, and has been weaned off anti-seizure medication that was initially prescribed for the rest of her life post brain-surgery. Jody is a popular yoga teacher just outside of NYC offering 200, 300, and 500-hour teacher trainings, in an alignment driven hatha yoga. Other certifications include Inner Light Method and SourcePoint Therapy. Jody is available for private sessions and classes. http://www.Jodydomerstad.com