Here are the tools that supplement the book
If my book details the territory to support you to navigate forward, then these tools form the action component that follows the book. We can think about the journey, learn and talk about it and practice but eventually we need to commit to DOING the journey. We need to put our feet in the territory. We will all eventually reach the point where we are called to move from learning and preparation to commitment and action. Part of this commitment may involve managing fear of failure, challenges, frustrations and setbacks. At the end of the day we either get up, dust off and keep going or we remain where we are and generally where we do not want to be.
In this Blog I will detail a number of tools I have used with Veterans and myself over the years. These tools are all gathered from different approaches whether they be phone apps or very exciting brain-based activities. You may prefer some to others and if none catch your attention then it will be up to you to find and use other tools. I cannot strongly reinforce your commitment to action, no matter how small the steps may be.
I generally keep these tools simple and limited in number as too much choice can be overwhelming. The goal is for you, through trying these out, to experience change and relief which is not always only governed by professions you may be seeing. Again, just to stress that these tools not a stand-alone. It is meant to accompany you and support you while you continue to address your issues with relevant professionals. I also encourage you to discuss these tools with them and ensure they are OK with you using them. They may also learn a thing or two as well.
The tools below are all body based. Whatever you have been through is in your body-the emotions and feelings, as well as the memories. Whatever is in the body is in the brain and vice versa. We cannot separate them out or lock them off from each other. Think about being on operations-you did not just rely on a map and compass to guide you through the territory. You also relied on your body-intuition, feeling something was not right. Combining both could make you more effective and more able to survive. To ignore one or the other could potentially negatively impact on achieving your objective.
1. First come the basic lifestyle changes – nutrition, diet and exercise. You may have complex trauma or struggles with stress, depression and anxiety. I strongly encourage you to contact Veteran services, your Doctor, a Psychologist or any other appropriate professional. While doing this, the tools following may also be of use.
2. EFT/ Tapping – Soon after I was trained in this modality I had a veteran attend his meeting with me. He was very freaked, anxious, uptight and stressed. I asked him if he was willing to try out some fairly weird stuff with me. I talked him through what we would be doing. He checked in to see there were no cameras in the room and that I was not trying to pull a fast one on him!
We worked on the tapping sequence for 15 minutes after which I asked him how his SUDS were (he initially noted them as being 100/10). I remember him looking at me with an expression of sheer disbelief. He noted that he could not believe how calm and back in his body he was feeling. On another occasion I was working with a fellow Rhodesian Veteran overseas. He took to the tapping and made it a part of his daily discipline. Within a few months he was describing significant reduction of symptoms. Tapping has been described as acupuncture without needles. It involves identifying and verbalising whatever is currently impacting on you while tapping on specific points on the body. What appears to be happening is that by identifying and verbalising the situation, for example, “feeling really stressed and overwhelmed at work” you open up the memory banks in the brain. As soon as you pull the file, it accesses any feelings or emotions attached to that memory.
Tapping appears to work on resolving the connection between the difficult emotion and the memory. This can then get you to a point of remembering the situation but no longer experience the strength of the emotion. Remember that when you are overwhelmed and stressed, blood flow to the front of the brain is reduced. It is therefore often almost impossible to think clearly and make effective decisions and judgement. Just to stress that Tapping is not a cure for everything and it is not something I would recommend you using on your own when it comes to complex and traumatic memories. However, it can impact on stress, frustrations, anger, anxiety, sleep to name but a few. What I like about Tapping is that when the folk I see leave my room, they have a tool they can use. Tapping is used with Veterans all over the world. Have a look at the following links, then discuss this with the professionals supporting you then decide whether you want to give it a go.
These links are from Brad Yeats. He explains Tapping well and has numbers of clips you can tap along with him. Well worth the look.
Once you are familiar with Tapping, there is a great site (more military driven) that allows you to be more creative. The website describes what they do as follows – “BATTLE TAP” is an easy-to-learn self-help tool that is designed for armed public service professionals who are experiencing emotional or psychological distress. It’s based on Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), an emerging intervention that uses acupressure-point tapping, re-exposure, and cognitive scripts to rapidly resolve undesired emotions and memories”.
I often describe Tapping as a great daily pull through.
3. Breathing – here are a few excellent breathing resources:
These phone apps have generally been received well. There are other resources on this site that you can also look at.
Dr Weil 4-7-8 breathing:
HeartMath quick coherence breathing:
I like the HeartMath quick coherence breathing technique because it is discreet. Tapping on a bus, train or in a shopping centre could have some interesting results. This technique is great if you find yourself stressing out in a situation with another.
A useful tip before or while breathing-drink or sip cold water as this can also change the blood flow in the brain.
3. Minute Energy Routine – I came across this a while ago and suspended my “this is weird thought” and gave it a go. I personally really like them and they make me feel great and back in my body. See how you go:
4. Yin Yoga App – I have never been enthusiastic about Yoga. I just don’t bend. I have run marathons and ultra marathons and was a gymnast at school. But never stretched. A short while ago a Veteran I was working with (also a long-distance runner) suggested that I may want to give Yin Yoga a try out. I down loaded the app and began to creak and groan into the positions. I have persevered over the months. My most profound and unexpected experience was how relaxed, and, in my body, I feel after the sequence.
It now forms part of my regular “pull through” routine.
Again, please consult with an appropriate professional before giving this a go. You may have health issues and you may also need a more controlled class.