Here are 4 real-life practical tools to help you get immediate relief so you can calm your heart, erase anger, and even hold a job…
Yes... I’ve had clients who used these tools to gain control enough to hold a job.
At the end of the episode I "hand out" an in-depth PDF guide on these 4 tools so you can apply them to your life today :)
Here is the link to download it: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rcOy...
In this episode I teach 4 powerful tools to help overcome the 4 biggest blockers to PTSD recovery.
1 - The fear of facing your past
2 - No hope and no motivation to do anything
3 - Crippling anxiety
4 - Relationship turmoil and destruction
Any ONE of these blockers could be stopping you from healing, and today I'm giving you 4 powerful tools to help you overcome these so you can start making consistent progress forward in your healing journey.
Check it out and let me know what you think inthe comments?
To your recovery!
Kayleen & the team at OvercomingPTSD.com
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Hey, everyone! Kayleen here, and welcome to our miniseries, How to Heal PTSD from Home. This is episode two in our miniseries, and this episode is called Tools for Healing. So in this episode, I'm going to be talking about the four biggest blockers from recovery, and I'm actually going to be giving you a tool to overcome each one. And at the end of the episode in the link below, you'll be able to download a PDF that I put together for you, an in-depth guide with everything that we covered in this video, so you can take action and put them into your own life.
So I'm really excited to be here with you for this episode, because these are all things that I personally experienced over the years and had to figure out how to overcome. And of the hundreds of people that I've coached, I would say about 95% of them experience one or all of these blockers. And if you don't overcome these blockers, you're not going to be able to take the steps you need to take, to actually heal your PTSD from home. So today, and throughout this series, I'm actually coming to you from my living room. This is all about how to heal from home. So we thought we'd do the series from home. So welcome to my living room.
Today, we live in the technology and information age. And it is one of the coolest time periods in history because people all over the world have access to knowledge and information and tools and resources. And people all over the world are recovering from PTSD and C-PTSD from home. And I'm here throughout this series to show you how to do that. And what we're covering in this episode here are the four biggest blockers to recovery. And that's the fear of facing your past; no hope or motivation; crippling anxiety; and relationship turmoil. And like I said, these are actually all things that I personally struggled with and had to figure out how to overcome, in order to even take that next step in recovery.
So that's what we're going to be jumping into. And we'll jump into the first one right now: fear of facing the past. Fear of facing the past is something really common that I see with people when it comes to... you know, once they believe that it's possible to fully recover; they see me explain how the brain actually processes events, and they get a little bit nervous about well, does that mean I have to relive my trauma or traumas? And this is something that I thought as well. I thought that... you know, when I was at rock bottom, I was like, "Oh my gosh, this is so painful. But I am terrified that if there's a way to heal, it means that I'll have to face my past, it means that I'll have to relive what I went through." And that's a really common fear.
And I'll tell you right now, to heal, you don't have to relive your trauma. So we'll just kind of debunk that right now. But when I was struggling, there was a moment in my recovery, that this--what I'm about to teach you--this tool really shifted my perspective on everything I ever thought about PTSD, and about the recovery journey. So when I was struggling; when I was at rock bottom, I was looking into something called a time study. And I don't remember why I was looking into it. But I was looking into a time study for some for some reason.
And I ended up doing this time study. And what it was, is throughout the day, you're supposed to set a timer for every 30 minutes. And so every 30 minutes when the timer goes off, you're supposed to write what you did the last 30 minutes. And so I ended up doing this time study for almost a week. And when I reviewed the time study, I noticed that a huge percentage of my time was taken up by PTSD. And I didn't, I didn't quite have the awareness at that point to be like, "PTSD is taking up 95% of my time."
But when I actually did the math on it--I sat down and I did the math--I think it was something like 94% of my time was taken up by PTSD. And that included you not being able to perform at my job; in my relationship anxiety; flashbacks, nightmares, not being able to go out into social situations. So I included all of those things. And I got that staggering number of 90, I think was 92 or 94%. And it just kind of dawned on me that like, that was a lot of pain. That was a ton of pain.
And so what I want you to do in your own life, you can do that time study. But what I want you to do is think about how much time, PTSD actually takes out of your life. And for example purposes, what I did is I set up a prompt that... let's say PTSD takes 40% of your time. And I know for a lot of people, it's a lot more than that, but between the anxiety, not being able to perform at work, how it affects your financial situation, how it affects your relationship, your sleep, everything else, let's say it affects you 40% of the time.
And so this is something that I actually did on my own recovery, and I encourage you to do your own. But for our purposes, let's say 40%. So 40% of 24 hours is 9.6 hours a day. So for 9.6 hours a day, that's a lot of pain, right? 40% of seven days is 2.8 days a week, okay? So 2.8 full days where you're in pain because 40% of your life is being taken up by the pain of PTSD. 40% of four weeks is 1.6 weeks; 40% of 12 months is 4.8 months; 40% of 10 years of course is four years.
So if you--excuse me--go on doing what you're doing for the next ten years, and PTSD is affecting you 40%, four of those years are going to be completely taken up by pain, by the anxiety, by the nightmares, by the flashbacks, by the disassociation, by the relationship problems, by the work problems, by the social problems! Okay, 40% of 20 years is eight years and 40% of 30 years is 12 years. So I did the math for you on that one. But I want you to think about what percentage it's taking from your life. And what I want you to start to do is think long-term. What does this mean, long-term? Okay, and so you can see 40% of 30 years is 12 years. And so what happened for me on my recovery journey is as I did this math, I said, like, "Okay, holy cow, like, this is taking up so much of my life, I'm in pain so often. What if I did have to face my past? What if I did have to relive it?: And again, you don't.
But I didn't know that at the time when I was at rock bottom, I had no idea that you didn't have to relive it. And I said, "Okay, well, what if I had to relive it for a month, but I never had to experience any of this pain again." And so I said, "Okay, what if I had to relive it for one full month, but I never had to think about it again/" And so I started, it started to dawn on me that if I had to relive it, it was worth trying to do that and going through that pain, because long-term, that pain would decrease significantly.
So you can see here in the course of 12 months, in the course of one year, if you're at 40%--if PTSD is hurting you for only 40% of the time, you're at 4.8 months, so think about the pain over the course of a year, versus if you took one month, and then you never had to deal with again. So you're in pain anyway, right? So if you had to do that (and again, I'm not saying you have to relive your past), but if you had to do that, it would be one month and you'd get 3.8 back in return, right?
And then over the years that would compound and compound, and you would get your life back. And so the prompt I have for you is called a mental model. And basically what a mental model is, is just a different way of thinking. So it's kind of a filter that you have in your brain, and you start to think about the actions that you take and what the implications are. And so the mental model tool is to ask yourself (and this is the guide that you'll get at the end), "Will the next action I take alleviate my long-term suffering, or add to it? And see if you can make it a binary thing.
So you're here right now; that's a great thing! You're watching a training on how to heal PTSD; that's a great start. So that action--the action that you're taking right now--is going to alleviate your long-term suffering, not add to it.
Now if right now you stop watching the training and instead you go and binge beer or you binge on alcohol or or Netflix or food that's going to add to your long-term suffering, right? So you really want to think about the long-term implications of everything. What are the long term effects of your action? And it doesn't necessarily mean pain; but we have this saying around here, and it's "short-term pain, long-term pleasure. So the short-term pain of watching a training, right, you might want to watch Netflix instead. You might want to watch a movie, you might want to whatever it is you want to do, and so you have that short-term pain of, you know, doing a little work. Showing up for a training, maybe taking notes, whatever it is; but the long-term pleasure is you're going to start to take steps forward and heal that PTSD.
You're going to start to improve your life which--will improve your relationships, which will improve your your physical health, your mental health of course, your financial situation, your job situation, your social life. And so you really want to think about each action and say, in a binary way, "Will this will the next action I take alleviate my long-term suffering, or add to it? And you really want to think about, again, just the long-term: how much of your life is PTSD taking right now? If things don't change right now what will it look like in 10, 15, 20, 30 years? Is the discomfort of temporarily facing your past worse than the pain of suffering for the next few decades?
So these are questions I asked myself at rock bottom, and I got these like surprising responses when I started asking the right questions, like "Is the pain of me facing... I'm facing it anyway; I'm having nightmares, I'm having flashbacks. I'm anxious, my relationship is going to be ruined. Is that pain worth just trying to ignore it? And so short-term pain, long-term pleasure.
If your relationship, if your job performance, if your anxiety if your sleep problems, if your drinking habit continues the way it's been going, what will that look like in 5, 10, 15 years? What will that look like in a year? I know for a lot of people in PTSD relationships, they come to me and they say, 'My relationship is ending; like, maybe we have a month left, but it has just been downhill."
So think about the long-term implications of your actions. So really, really important. And I have a quote that I want to share with you. It's from Albert Einstein. And it says, "The definition of insanity"--and I'm not saying you're insane--"the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."
So you know, are you someone who maybe has been seeing the same therapist for 10 years and not really getting anywhere? But you're still taking those actions, because you're you're kind of expecting, eventually things will get better? Are you taking the same actions throughout the day? Maybe the drinking, the TV, the bingeing, the isolation; are you taking those actions over and over again, kind of hoping that long-term, things will almost magically get better?
Okay, so it's time for new actions, if you're taking the same actions over and over again, and just expecting them to get better, because they're not going to do that. Okay, so that is all about long term thinking, you want to think about the consequences of your actions, moment by moment. "Will this next thing that I do alleviate my long-term suffering, or add to it? And so you're here, and I'm super proud of you for that. And that is a great first step. And everything that we just covered here will be in this in-depth guide that I will hand out at the end, like I said, and that is the mental model prompt. So it's a great way to think about it.
Like I said, fear of facing your past is super, super common. You don't have to relive what you've been through in order to heal. And really, think about the implication of how much pain you're in now, and how that will add up over the next year, versus facing your past once, and then never having to face it again. And I promise you, it's amazing. So that's what we have here.
Let's jump into the second tool. No hope or motivation is a really challenging thing to feel on the recovery journey, when you want to take steps forward. But you feel like you can't you feel stuck in place. And so the tool we're going to teach you--I'm going to teach you in just a minute--for this is called the Unbreakable Planner. And it is the most powerful tool out there for it. And I just want to tell you a little secret about motivation. And I wish someone told me this a long, long time ago. But the secret is, is you don't need to feel motivated to take action. So I'm gonna say that again, you don't need to feel motivated to take action; action actually breeds motivation.
So taking action creates motivation in your life. And now, the other kind of secret I want to share with you is you don't always necessarily wake up and feel motivated and kind of want to jump out of bed. Sometimes you feel motivated, but you're not going to just magically get motivated one day. If you're not feeling motivated now, that is likely going to continue until you create the motivation yourself. And so motivation and energy, the best way I can describe it is like pushing a boulder.
Okay, so when you see a boulder in front of you, it's gonna take a lot of effort to get that going, we'll assume it's a circle, it's a ball, right. And so once you can get that going, though, the momentum of the energy that you put in, will allow it to go and then you'll be able to push it further and further with less and less effort; and faster and faster, with less and less effort. So at the beginning of getting motivated, of feeling hopeful: what it's like is pushing that boulder, okay? And so you need to push that Boulder, you need to take the action to create the motivation. And then as you take action, you're going to see that that boulder starts to work itself, and it's going to get easier and easier as time goes on. And again, you want to think long-term. A lot of times in the healing journey, you want to think long-term.
You can see amazing results in just a matter of days or even just after doing one exercise. But you want to think okay, you have to kind of force this boulder to get going but then once it's going, eventually it's impossible to stop. So you just keep it going. And it takes very little effort to keep that going. And so I want to tell you a story about a woman that I worked with. She lives in Australia and she came to me--like a lot of people do--feeling not motivated at all and not hopeful at all. And I actually have a little clip that she... like a comment that she posted on Facebook about working together - and specifically this tool, that helped her get that motivation! So she said, "I've been doing the program for a month and I have gone from being in bed all day and all night, seven days a week so I did not have to deal with my emotional pain. Now maximum I spend two days all day in bed and I'm back to doing some housework. I've literally tried every medication and therapy which none has worked. In one month working with Kayleen, I am improving!"
So that is what the power of this is; and so I'll just kind of sum that up again. She went from 100% of her time in bed--feeling stuck, unmotivated and hopeless--to using this tool for a month, think about that: only a month. And now she was saying at that point when she commented that, that she was only a month into doing this, she was saying she was spending two days in bed, maximum, okay, and now she's far beyond that. She's back to work doing, the things that she enjoys. She was way, way, way beyond that. But that was just a month of doing that.
So think about that when you're thinking about taking action. And when we're talking about pain versus pleasure, right, and we were talking about short-term pain, long-term pleasure. So it's going to take you a little bit of effort every day to do this; it can take a little bit of effort to try to get that ball rollin,g to get that boulder pushed, and start to have it working for you. But the short-term pain of pushing that boulder; the short-term pain of you know, taking the five minutes to fill this out; the long-term pleasure of the days that you can get out of berd, and you can go back to work and you can do the things you enjoy. Okay, so super, super, super important. And when it comes to action, I'm going to show you in just a second. But remember that action breeds motivation! Getting things done, crossing them off a list, no matter how small no matter what it is, is so powerful. Humans need it, they crave it, but it can take a little bit of force--a little bit of effort--to allow yourself to actually take action and do the things that you need to do, but it breeds the motivation.
So I'm going to show you a worksheet. It's called the Unbreakable Planner worksheet, and it's going to be in your in-depth guide. At the end, I have the instructions for it. And this is what it looks like. And I'm going to pull it up on the board right now. And I'm going to go through each and every step to explain it to you.
So this is the Unbreakable Planner worksheet. And this is... like I said, it's going to be in your download of that in-depth guide below this video in the link. You can download this and you can print a bunch of them off. Of course, this is the actual size of the worksheet. So if you don't have a giant printer, good luck. No, I'm only kidding. But this is what the worksheet looks like. And this worksheet is so unbelievably powerful. This is the exact worksheet that Tanya used--that story I just shared with you--that she used for that month to go from a place of feeling hopeless and unmotivated to go to a place where she was getting out of bed, she was doing the things that she enjoyed. Okay, so it's an amazing, amazing worksheet.
So the first thing here, of course, is the date. And now this is something I want you to do every single night before you go to bed, it takes... sometimes it can take a little bit longer, but it takes anywhere between five and ten minutes, but I promise it will serve you incredibly well long-term. Again, short-term pain. You have to take the 5, 10 minutes to fill it out. Long-term pleasure, you are going to feel hopeful, you're going to feel motivated, you're going to feel amazing. So the big thing with this worksheet is visualization. The worksheet alone is great, it'll help you feel motivated, it'll help you feel hopeful, help you feel grateful, it'll lift you out of depression even; however, to make it even more powerful, even more impactful, even more deliberate, is to use visualization with it. I'll explain that as we go along.
So the first part here is the "I am grateful for..." so write the date, whatever it is, and before you go to bed, I want you to write five gratitudes. And this is an important part, and a lot of people... throughout this worksheet you're going to hear me say "You have to make yourself find those things, you have to search for those things." So some people will you know, I'll explain this worksheet and they'll say well, I don't have anything to be grateful for. I promise you, you have a bajillion things to be grateful for: your heart is beating, your lungs are working, okay? So you have to make yourself write gratitudes; you have to fill this out. Remember, it can take a little bit of effort to get that ball rolling, to get that boulder moving, but then it will continue to serve you. So short-term pain: making yourself find those gratitudes; long-term pleasure: you're going to feel more positive, you're going to feel less depressed (if depressed at all); you're going to feel motivated. and you're going to feel hopeful.
So five things that you're grateful for. I'm grateful for technology because it gives me the ability to learn from people who are on other sides of the world. And because it can be really important here too. I'm grateful for almond milk because it sweetens my coffee in the perfect way. And the because, like I said, is an important part; because you can just say I'm grateful for lights and I'm grateful for walls and roofs and stuff like that and that's a good start; and if that's where you have to start, that's okay. See if you can push yourself for the "because"... I'm grateful for electricity because it provides me heat and comfort in my house. I'm grateful for my couch because I get to lounge at the end of the night after a long day, and it is comfortable. I'm grateful for my dog Shiloh, because he provides me with unconditional love, support, kindness and of course, slobbery kisses. Okay, so really important part, that's the first part: I am grateful for.
And then after you write those gratitudes or as you write those gratitudes here's where the kind of the next level comes in is you want to visualize this, the deliberate action. You want to visualize those gratitudes. So you want to actually feel that gratitude. You can't feel gratitude and anything else at the same time. So when I'm thinking, I'm grateful for Shiloh, I'm visualizing the things that I'm grateful for. So I'm visualizing what it feels like to feel his love and his slobbery kisses, and his his energy in the room, right? So visualize each of these gratitudes.
Next is your 'daily to-do'; and this is a very, very important part. So don't overlook this part here. This is where the 'action breeds motivation' really comes into play. So you want to write your daily to-do; and now, this is going to look a little bit different for everyone. It can be as small as, get up, make my bed, shut my alarm off, brush my teeth, take a shower, make breakfast, cook breakfast, set up for breakfast, put breakfast away, clean the dishes; you can make these really tiny little things. And for a lot of people, when they're feeling in that hopeless, stuck place where they're not even getting out of bed, it's really important to make these small; but you can also be other, bigger tasks.
Now the trick here is whatever you write down, you want to complete. So try not to write a task and then the next day go to do it and not finish it in full. So at first, I want you to write little tasks, like brush teeth, like take the dog for a walk, and complete those tasks, because that's what's going to breed the motivation. And so as you're writing this to-do list, what I want you to do is visualize yourself actually doing those tasks, completing those tasks. So visualize yourself as if it were tomorrow, and you are just finishing brushing your teeth, visualize as if the tasks are being completed. And so what that does--visualization is very powerful and your brain actually can't tell the difference between something you vividly imagined, and something you actually experience--but what it does is, it familiarizes your brain with that process. So when you wake up tomorrow, and you go to brush your teeth, your brain's like, "Oh, we already did this last night." So it's very familiar with the process. Or you visualize yourself, walking your dog, or watching the training... your brain is already familiar with that process. So really, really important there.
And as you go to do them, I would recommend that you write them on the sheet (and you can just write this whole thing--kind of like I did here--on a piece of paper, if you don't have a printer). Cross them off as you go. And each time you cross off a task, no matter how small, no matter what it is, celebrate yourself for doing it, okay? Because the action breeds the motivation. And the affirmation that "Hey, I wrote this, I visualized it and then I executed on it the next day; I did it" is so important! Especially on the recovery journey, you always want to be celebrating wins, no matter how big; no matter how small. So that is what you want to do there.
Then the 'what would make tomorrow great'. If there were three things that would make tomorrow like a "Heck yeah, that was a great day," what would they be? Would it be, just getting out of bed for an hour, would it be getting out of bed, taking a shower, and watching a training, right? If that's the three things, that's great! If it's just getting out of bed, making my bed, and you know, going outside for 10 minutes, it doesn't matter how small or how big those things are.
And then again, you want to visualize as if you've completed those things. So visualize yourself being out of bed for an hour and what you're going to do. Visualize yourself getting outside or exercising; visualize yourself watching the training. Think about what that entails, where you'll be, who you'll be around, what you'll be wearing, everything; and the more detail that goes into visualization, the better. Okay, so those are the three things that would make tomorrow great. And again, visualize yourself doing them as if you've already completed them: super powerful.
And then the end-of-day review. So there's two things here, today's wins and how I'll improve. So today's wins is another part of the process where again, at first you're going to be really pushing that boulder; so it's going to take sometimes a good amount of effort to get that boulder rolling and to get the energy and the momentum moving forward. And I challenge you to find three wins. Again, it doesn't matter how big or how small; if it's three wins... if it's you know, I did three things on my to-do list, that's a great win. So again, no matter how big no matter how small. Today's wins, I completed the training that that Kayleen was putting up on on the internet. Okay, so I completed the PTSD training. Today's win: I took my dog for a walk and I played fetch with him. Today's win: I got out of bed and I made my bed, and I stayed out of bed for 45 minutes; whatever it is, again, big and small, you have to, have to, have to celebrate your wins. So that's a really important part that can take a little while at first, again because you're getting that momentum; you're pushing that boulder forward.
And then the 'how I'll improve', okay, and here's sometimes the tricky part for people. The how I'll improve is not beating yourself up. It's not saying Oh, I didn't accomplish any of those things. I didn't get to my to do list. I didn't do any of that. That's not what it is at all. Okay, so you're taking what can you tweak? What can you make a little bit better for the next day, and this is really important. When we're talking about recovery, you want to think long-term. You want to always think about the long-term implications of your actions.
And so the 'how I'll improve' is how can I get 1% better? A half a percent better? Not beating yourself up. How can I just tweak something a little bit? Okay, so how can I improve? I can improve by instead of doing one thing on my daily to do, I'm going to try to do two tomorrow, okay, and instead of not doing any of my 'what would make tomorrow great', I'm going to try to at least get one of those done, or I'm going to tweak... I'm going to try to be a little bit more focused, when I'm watching the training, I'm going to try to take notes when I'm watching the training.
Okay, so little... tiny little things. Because if you think about it, if you make half a percent improvement every day, and this is where the consistency comes in, we're talking about consistency, and that magic three from the last episode: the right tools, deliberate and consistent action. The visualization here is the deliberate, and the consistent action is doing this every day. And this is the tool for no hope or motivation. Okay, so you're gonna have these three things.
And 'Today's wins'... I want you to visualize those like, you know, I don't remember I said those visualize your wins, as if they're happening again, as if you're reliving those wins, again, no matter how big, no matter how small. And if you think about the consistency here, if you get half a percent better every single day, or you get 1%, better, every single day, in a year, you're over 300% better, you're over 100% better. So this is what we're doing. This is why the consistency matters. And this is why the deliberate action with the right tool really, really matters. So all you're looking to do there is make a little tweak, okay, so don't beat yourself up, just a little tweak.
And at the bottom here, we have the daily tracking. So these are metrics that we use, as I work with people, I prompt them to do different things. So this isn't super, super, super important, or won't make a super a lot of sense. Just doing this sheet. But this sheet is really important for the motivation and the hope. But something you can start doing to get the ball rolling on some things, is just track your wake time. So you want to what time did you wake up? Did you do your morning routine and mindset? Again, that's something I prompt people to do. Did you exercise? Did you do your personal growth for the day? So did you watch a training on YouTube? Did you listen to a personal growth podcast? Did you do reading? And you just want to keep track of those things, because tracking is what allows you to kind of reflect and grow and say, "You know what? I need to tweak this; yesterday, I didn't do any personal growth. And I'm not feeling this focus."
Okay, and then evening routine and mindset. How did you get ready for bed? Did you do the right things? And then bedtime, what time did you go to bed? And so it allows you to keep track of just the important metrics in recovery and in your life in general, but specific to recovery. So that is the sheet. That's the Unbreakable Planner sheet. Like I said, this will be in your guide at the end. And you'll have a link to this at the end as well as the instructions and the visualization, remember visualization and completing tasks.
So don't start a task you don't intend to complete. Make sure you're completing tasks, because visualizing the task is going to help you tremendously. If you visualize this whole sheet, you're going to be off to the races. But completing the tasks, not leaving a task half finished, is what's really going to push that boulder further faster, and build that motivation. So remember, action breeds motivation. So that's what I have for you here. And we will jump into the next blocker.
Crippling anxiety is something I see in people with PTSD and C-PTSD, of course, but just in society in general. And so I want to just briefly explain what actually happens in your brain to make you feel this way. And then, what the tool that I'm going to teach you will actually do for you. So, what happens... the very first thing that happens is you experienced some sort of danger, or--I put a little question mark here--or perceived danger.
So now when you have PTSD, this perceived danger could be someone slamming a door, or dropping a book, or dropping a pen; or you know, breaking a glass or something like that. But your your brain reacts the same as if it were a dinosaur standing right in front of you, or something actually dangerous. Okay, so your brain is primitive in this regard. And it can't tell the difference between something that is actually dangerous, right? Like a dinosaur or something that you think is dangerous, like your boss yelling at you, or like someone breaking a glass or slamming a door, or dropping something, or yelling at a sports game, or something like that. Okay, so that's the first thing that happens is there's danger or, for people with PTSD, perceived danger.
And then what happens is your brain sends out an alert to the other parts of your body that says, 'okay, whoa, danger.' And this is kind of like the fight-or-flight thing. And your your brain is like, 'Whoa, danger, everybody, let's like it's time to turn on the shortness of breath and to spike the adrenaline; and it's time to feel upset, and angry, and fearful!' Okay, and so what it does is basically it sends out an alert, and it turns on all of... it sends all its resources to turn on all of the things that make you feel that way. So it turns on your anxiety. And it turns on your racing heart, and it turns on your shortness of breath, and it turns on your anger, okay, so your brain sees the danger and says, "Well, time to feel afraid! Time to get the heart racing, time to get going, right, we got to decide what we're going to do here".
But again, it could just be perceived danger. And now it's not your brain's fault, your brain is always trying to protect you. And now this image here is actually a very simple representation of what's called the HPA axis. So it's the Hypothalamic Pituitary Axis. And it's just a fancy name for your brain communicating with other parts of your body. Okay, so again, your brain is saying, "Okay, time to feel anxious; time to feel scared; time to disassociate, because we're feeling some sort of danger." Someone said something that triggered us something, something scary happened, or there's actual danger. And so it's turning those things on so you can protect yourself. So it's sending all your resources to turn those things o:n to turn on your heart rate, to turn on your respiration rate and to get all that up and going.
And now what a tool does--what an effective recovery tool, relief tool, coping skill does, whether it's the butterfly hug, which we'll learn very shortly, or whether it's meditation, or grounding or anything--what it does is it will turn off--manually turn off--one of those switches. So that's what an effective recovery tool or relief tool or coping skill will do.
Now, the butterfly hug is especially powerful, and especially cool because it doesn't just turn off one, but it can turn off multiple switches. So this tool actually has multi-use, which is why I love it, and I love to teach it. It's short, it's simple, and it's extremely powerful. Okay, so that's what happens, and that's what the butterfly hug will do. So that can actually turn off the anxiety, it can turn off any sort of extreme emotion. So that's how we define it, if you're having anxiety, or any extreme emotion--which means fear, anger, frustration, sadness, anything super extreme--the butterfly hug should be your go to; but specially anxiety, it works extremely, extremely well.
So I just wanted to give you kind of a quick thing at how that is actually going to work and what is actually happening in your brain, just so you can understand, again, that your brain is always trying to protect you. It's doing its best at all times to try to keep you safe, to try to keep you prepared. And it just doesn't know the difference. Again, because that's that primitive brain.
So the butterfly hug is a really cool tool because it actually hacks into your brain's existing information processing system. And the information processing system, which we talked about in the last episode, is just basically where your brain makes connections. It's where your brain learns from your day and says, "Okay, this makes sense now, because oh, yeah, that's, that's why this makes sense." It takes your background knowledge and things you experience and it says, "Oh, okay, that's, that's why everything makes sense." So it just basically makes connections.
And the butterfly hug, taps into an existing, very powerful way that your brain is using its information processing system, okay, and that is REM sleep. Now, the butterfly hug, simulates REM sleep. And REM stands for rapid eye movement sleep. And so what REM sleep does, this is when your brain is most active at night, this is when you're dreaming, okay? If you've ever woken up from a dream, good or bad, and you're like, what the heck is going on, it's your brain using its information processing system to try to make connections. So it doesn't make sense to you when you wake up; but it makes total sense when you're in the dream. And that's because it's connecting the dots; it's actually growing new neurons and stuff like that.
But in REM sleep is when your brain is most most active and most using that information processing system. So it's doing all that learning. And what's happening in REM sleep, in this rapid eye movement sleep, is your eyes are moving rapidly underneath your eyelids, okay, and so what they're actually doing underneath your eyelids is they're moving back and forth, like my fingers here. And they're going from left to right to left to right to left to right. And what that eye movement does is it stimulates the hemispheres of your brain. So it stimulates the left and right hemispheres. And so basically, it's like this, this part of the brain is active.
And then when your eyes move this way, this part of the brain is active, and it's just activating. And basically, it's just like firing on all cylinders, right? And so it's just really, really active and it's making connections, and it's basically... it's working really hard, and it's doing everything it needs to do to learn, and figure out what's going on, and process information, and understand things. And so you might have experienced something like that, if you ever had like maybe an argument with a coworker one day, you were just like upset all day and then you went to bed, you had a good night's sleep and then the next day you like almost forgot about it; like, you didn't feel the same about it. And that's because that processing happened.
And so what the butterfly hug does is it simulates REM sleep. And so again, REM, your eyes are moving rapidly underneath your eyelids, and it's stimulating the left and right hemispheres of your brain. So other ways to stimulate the left and right hemispheres of your brain is to stimulate the left and right sides of your body. And so the butterfly hug looks like that.
So what you're going to want to do, and I'll write down the steps here, step one, is set up. And again, this will be in your guide at the end here. And I'll talk about some variations as well. But you'll have all of the tools in there, and how to do this. Step one is to set up and so what you're going to do is you're going to take your right hand and place it over your left collarbone, and I'm not going to do it exactly, just because I don't want to hit my mic, and then you're gonna take your left hand and put it over your right collarbone, so you're just going to cross your arms, and you're gonna put them right on your collarbones there. And then what you're going to do is you're gonna take a deep breath. And step two is to start tapping. You can close your eyes--you're going to want to be in a comfortable position, of course--you're going to want close your eyes and just take deep breaths, and then just tap left and right.
And so what you're doing is you're stimulating the left and right hemispheres of your brain by stimulating the left and right sides of your body. And so you can do this fast or slow, hard or soft, it's totally up to you; whatever feels comfortable, and best for you is what you want to do. But you're going to do that while you take deep breaths. And you're gonna want to do that for anywhere between 60 seconds and two minutes. So a minute to two minutes. And again, that's the second step is to tap.
And then the third step is to check in. Okay, and you're going to feel decreased anxiety; if not totally melted away, it's going to go way, way down. And like I said, any extreme emotion, if you're feeling angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, whatever it is, do the butterfly hug; you're going to feel amazing in less than two minutes. Okay, so you want to set up just by getting your hands in the right position, tap back and forth while you breathe, and then check in to say, okay, you know, how do I feel now? And if you feel any existing anxiety, or anything else, keep going.
Okay, and so you're not thinking about anything during this process, it's tapping into this process in your brain that already exists and already serves you. So all you're doing is you're stimulating that brain and you're breathing, and you're stimulating the sides of your brain, so it can do the work that it needs to do. So it's basically like subconsciously learning things. So you can kind of chill out and relax a little bit. And this tool is amazingly powerful.
Every time I teach this tool, I have someone reach out via email. And always it's a very similar response. And it's always, Wow! I really did not have the faith that that would work. But Wow, that is really powerful, and really amazing. And I feel I feel great. And so I had a woman that I worked with, Jen. She she was one of those people that sent me one of those emails after she learned the tool from me. And she said, Wow, I went to the movies and started to feel anxious and did this tool because it's a very discreet tool, and I'll teach you some alternatives. And she said, "I did the butterfly hug and I felt amazing. And I've been able to go out more and drive more and be out in society and, and go to my kids' events and, and go to school, and go back to work, and all these different things." Okay, so this tool is incredibly powerful, incredibly simple and it's easy to remember. It's three steps, I mean, it's pretty much one step. And there are some discreet variations. So that is number one: tapping your collarbones with opposite sides of the opposite hands.
Number two, a variation of that would be to use one hand and again on your collarbones just with your thumb and either your middle finger or your ring finger, just tap back and forth. Again, I don't want to have my mic, because that would be annoying. But you can do that with one hand, maybe if you're driving or if you're using that other hand for something else, you're able to do it with one hand. Another thing you can do is if you're seated... and I've actually had people reach out and say, I did this under the table at a dinner party, and I went from not being able to engage socially to actually having a good time, again, because you take that anxiety sometimes down to zero. Okay, so what you can do is if you're seated, you can just tap on the top of your legs, so right on the top of your thighs, and you can do it under a desk at school, you can do it anywhere discreetly, basically.
Another one is doing it with your eyes. So you can actually follow any of those with your eyes to make it a little bit more powerful, a little bit stronger. And you can just follow the taps with your eyes underneath your eyelids, whether you're doing it on the thighs, one-handed or two-handed, okay?
And another variation is to do a visualization of energy flowing. So, the best way I can describe this is you want to visualize light; visualize energy flowing from the tip of your finger on your left hand through your arm, through your chest and then out through your right hand all the way to the tip of your finger, and then back. Okay, so you're just kind of gonna visualize it like kind of going up here and then going through your chest and then back; and so you can visualize it. So even if you're you know, in a place where people are seeing you, you can just kind of sit and think or you can tap your thighs and so there's a lot of variations to this. Like I said, it shuts a lot of those switches off, hits anxiety and extreme emotion.
So, a really, really powerful tool. And like I said, in the in-depth guide, I'm going to be giving you the three steps there; a little image, so you remember what to do. And those variations so you know how you can use it, and how you can use it more powerfully. So there's a super powerful tool, and we will jump into our fourth and final blocker here, which is relationships.
Turmoil in any kind of relationship is utterly consuming. Now, this applies to all relationships, but specifically romantic relationships. So if you're in a PTSD relationship, you already know how consuming and how insecure you feel kind of moment by moment, and you feel like you're walking on eggshells, and you're not sure what to do, what not to do. It's such a fragile place to be. And if you're consumed by relationship turmoil, it's going to be a big blocker. You're not going to be able to move forward because you don't have the security, you don't have the confidence to actually move forward. So you're going to be stuck in this kind of place of fear.
And now I just wanted to share a story really quick. And I put these photos up, because I think they're cute. But also because this photo right here of... this is my partner, Brad and I. There's my dog Shiloh. But this photo right here was taken two years after I threw an ice cream sandwich at Brad. And so two years before this photo was taken, we were in absolute chaos! I was approaching rock bottom, he was approaching rock bottom and our relationship was completely bursting at the seams, okay? And so that was not a very nice thing for me to do - for a multitude of reasons. Of course, I regret it. But it was a pivotal point in our relationship. Because it was, it was really the first time that we had done something kind of that extreme. And it doesn't sound quite that extreme.
Now it's funny to think back and be like, well, it's just an ice cream sandwich. And no, I didn't hit him, although I'm disappointed because I have better aim. But I wanted to share that because in two years, I went from throwing an ice cream sandwich at him--and we went from breaking glasses right in this living room here and putting holes just in the wall behind where the camera is--we went from that to healthy, loving, committed, secure relationship where both individuals were whole, and healed.
And we went from having a rock-bottom relationship that was screaming and yelling and fighting, and just ultimate pain, to a relationship of love and security and confidence and fun. And we didn't take any pictures back in those days, two years before this photo was taken, because we didn't have fun. And we were very uptight. And we were very frustrated with ourselves, and each other, and our situation. And the reason that I wanted to share that is because this tool right here that I'm about to teach you changed everything for us, okay?
It's called the partner commitment letter. And it looked a little bit different when we did it. But it truly changed the course of our entire relationship. So like I said, this applies to all relationships. But specifically if you're in a romantic relationship, where you're having that turmoil and you feel like you're walking on eggshells. And so the very first thing I want to share is something about relationships, but specifically about PTSD relationships. 80% of the healing happens by the individual, so 80% of the healing in your relationship... if you want to heal your relationship, 80% of the healing comes from healing the individuals.
And so what this partner commitment letter is, is it's going to give you security, and it's going to give you confidence to actually do this, and actually move forward on healing the individuals. So you're not so insecure with your relationship. So you're not walking on eggshells and scared, and not sure if you should do things for yourself or do things for your relationship. And it's counterintuitive, right? Because if you're fighting in a relationship, and you're having relationship problems, you know, the kind of obvious thing to do would be to say, "Okay, let's sit down and talk about our relationship problems. And let's solve it."
But that's the total opposite of what should be done, especially in a PTSD relationship. And so what this partner commitment letter was, and what when we did it, again, two years before this photo was taken was about when we did that, together. When we did it, what it was for us was was a big moment of pause. And it doesn't have to be that extreme. But what you're doing in the letter is you're expressing, you know, I'm committed to our relationship. I love you. I'm committed to making this work. I'm committed to doing it as a team. But the first thing we need to do: we need to pause the relationship. We need to shift the focus to the individuals. And it's it's both individuals coming together and committing to something, a pen-to-paper committing to something that will move you forward as a team, but you're committing as a team to work on the individuals. So what Brad and I did was we actually spent time apart; and you don't have to be this extreme. We were at rock bottom and we didn't really have all these tools and resources, so we didn't know what we were doing. But you're shifting the focus to yourself.
So if you're in a PTSD relationship, you have to focus on yourself, you have to serve yourself first. And this partner commitment letter will give you the security and the confidence to move forward and actually do that. So 80% comes from the individual; 20% is actually healing the relationship. But once you get this 80%, once you heal your own PTSD, if your partner has PTSD, once they heal their own 80% of your problems, like literally 80% of your problems will go away, okay, and the other 20%? The tools that you learn on your own healing journey serve you far beyond that, and will help you get that last 20% very easily.
Okay, it's not an easy journey to heal your PTSD and to get to this point, but this is going to help you have the security to move forward so it's not so consuming. And so this will be in your guide at the end here. But what it is, it's just basically a letter that you're writing to your partner, and I want both partners to do it. And again, this can be something you do with, with your siblings, with your kids, with your parents, with your neighbors, your coworkers, your best friends, whoever it is you're close to; but it's more designed for a PTSD relationship.
So in your letter, you want to write what you're willing to do to save your relationship, so that's the first thing you want to write. So you want to say, you know, "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to save a relationship. I'm willing to put in the work. I'm willing to do the short-term pain of facing my past for the long-term pleasure of having a relationship and creating our family down the line.
And then you want to write your motivation - so, why you're going to put in the work; what's your motivation for doing this? You know, do you really want a family with this person? Do you really just... you really do love being around them, and it just gets so clouded. You know, what's your motivation for putting the work in?
And then you want to write, of course, why you love them. So why do you love your partner? Sometimes when you're, when you're in a PTSD relationship, it's really, really easy to get caught in the frustration and the fear and the anger and in the turmoil, and you can almost forget--and it's so silly, but humans are so quick to forget--you can forget why you fell in love with that person, and why you truly love them down to your core. So you just want to write why you love them. And then why (and this is important) your relationship is worth the work. So, why is your relationship worth putting in the effort?
This healing PTSD is not an easy journey, I'll be straight-straightforward with you. Okay, it is one of the most challenging things you will ever do in your entire life. Now it is possible for you, it's possible for anyone and of course, you can do it from home. But it doesn't make it an easy journey. It's a challenging journey. So, why is your relationship worth the work? Why is your relationship worth the work of healing PTSD? And so you want to write that. But the most important thing is to speak from your heart. And I have this, like I said, all in this in-depth guide.
And then what you're going to do, and this is important, and this is another reason I love this photo; what you're going to do is you're going to write this letter, and you're going to write it to them. So I would write dear Brad, bla-bla-bla-bla-bla, this is what I'm willing to do for our relationship. This is my motivation, this is why it's worth the work. And this is why I love you so much, you're going to date it and you're going to sign it; and a very powerful thing happens when you put pen to paper and sign it.
Okay, and so then what you're going to do, and like I said, both partners should do this, then what you're going to do is you're going to create a time and a place and it can be just just having dinner one night, it can be in your home; or what Brad and I did is we went to this tree. It is a very special tree to us. And this lock right here, I don't know if you can see it, you see in a lot of our photos here. This is my my coffee cup here. And you can see it's even in the photo there. What we did is we went to the dollar store and we got a lock. And we... this was our time in our place. And we came with our commitment letters. And we symbolically put this lock on this tree.
And what you're going to do is you're going to read your commitment letter to your person. So you're going to say you know, you're going to read it. "Dear Brad, I'm committed blah, blah, blah, I love you for these reasons. And you have it signed and dated. And I really want you to handwrite it, it's important that you handwrite it, and you sign it in pen, and you sign it with intention; and they're going to do the same.
So you're going to set this time and place to read it to each other. And then what you're going to do is you're going to swap letters. Okay. And so what this does, is for one, it gives you a firm commitment that you're both committed to this journey, no matter what it takes. For two, it gives you the security and the confidence to move forward. And for three, it gives you a net to lean back on; and that net is, "Holy cow it has been so hard. Holy cow we just had a fight. Let's go." And you read their handwriting. You read the letter that they wrote you: why they love you, why they're committed.
You read all of those things, imagine them writing every single word, okay? And it's a little pick-me-up. And it's just a reminder that, you know, you're committed to this journey. And yes, you're having a hard moment, but it's still worth moving forward. Okay, and so that kind of takes the block off, so you can move forward with that security and that confidence. And that's exactly what we did.
And like I said, once you overcome PTSD, once you work through a PTSD relationship, once you heal, you're going to gain tools and knowledge and skills on your recovery journey that you wouldn't otherwise have. And the relationship that Brad and I have now is the strongest I've ever seen of all the people that we know, of all the people we've ever run into--including people who call themselves relationship experts--ours is absolutely far and wide, the strongest relationship, okay, because we've been to hell and back together. And it's a really powerful journey to go on together.
But again, remember, you're working as individuals. So it's more, it's even more important, if you're in a PTSD relationship, to work as individuals because it's not just your, you know, your life and your pain, it's your relationship, it's your partner's life, it's maybe your future together, and your kids, and whatever it is that you want in that future relationship. It's a lot more than just your pain. So it expands out again, not even to just romantic relationships, but to your kids, to your spouse, to your family, to your cousins, to your neighbors, to your coworkers. So it's really, really important that you're committed and you do the things that you need to do to heal. So that's the partner commitment letter. Like I said, you'll be getting all those tools in this guide that I will hand out at the end, and there'll be a link below to download it.
And there's one more thing I want to talk about. And I'm going to reset the board and we're going to talk about it, because healing is different than coping. So there's a distinct difference between healing and coping. And what I taught you today was all coping skills. So I'm going to reset the board, I want to show you a quick little diagram and show you a few more things.
When it comes to the PTSD community and the PTSD recovery community, these terms are used interchangeably, but they couldn't be further from one another. They're actually complete opposites. So coping is not healing. Now there is a place for coping on the healing journey. But coping is not healing. So I don't want to get these confused. So I just want to straighten these out quick. So coping deals with the effect, while healing deals with the cause. Okay, coping is short-term. Healing is long-term.
So everything that we talked about in this episode here, we talked about relationships, we talked about anxiety, right? We talked about motivation. We talked about jobs a little bit, you know, whatever it is: finances, if it's anger, sleep problems. All of these things here are coping. So dealing with any of these here is coping and not healing. So you know, we worked with the relationship stuff, which is great. So you can move forward in your healing journey, we work with the anxiety, which is great. So you can move forward in your healing journey, we work with the motivation, which is awesome, so you can move forward in your journey and we worked with fear, again, which is great, so you can move forward in your healing journey.
But these are all coping skills. Okay, so you're coping with each of these areas. And now what you need to do now that those blockers are unblocked once you take action on those tools that I taught you today. Once those blockers are unblocked, you need to continue to take steps forward. And you need to start working here on the root, because that's where the healing is going to happen. Because guess what, if you heal this, all of those problems also go away. So now that we've unblocked the four biggest blockers, it's time to continue to take steps forward. And now a lot of people at this point ask me "Okay, Kay, that's great. Now I'm ready to take steps forward. But like, what the heck do I focus on? There's so much advice, there's so much knowledge."
And in the next episode of this mini series, here, I'm going to teach you the only three things that you need to focus on for the entire journey. So I'm going to give you the blueprint to healing your PTSD--to fully recovering from PTSD or C-PTSD-- at home,I'm going to give you the blueprint. And again, the only three things... three things! I call them the three pillars of recovery, the only three things that you need to focus on. So again, you can take deliberate, consistent action with the right tools, so you have those magic three.
So I'm looking forward to having you in the next training. Make sure that you show up for the next training; because the coping is great, but it won't heal the root of PTSD. So I'm looking forward to seeing you there. I hope to see each and every one of you there. And feel free to do some comments below. You can comment, make sure you download that PDF so you can take action on those things. Feel free to share this video with anyone who you feel like it would benefit, share it on Facebook, share it on Twitter, wherever you share things, send an email to someone.
A lot of people struggle with PTSD, a lot of people's pasts negatively affects their present; so I appreciate when you all share it and help me help other people. It's a great thing to do for the world and for the community. And I just want each and every one of you to know, from the very bottom of my heart (and I don't just say this, it's not just something that I say), I care about you. I know that you can do this, and I tru,ly truly believe in you. So keep taking action keep, showing up, and I will see you in the next episode.