Emotional First Aid Kit

I carry a well-equipped first aid kit with us whenever we bicycle. It’s come in handy on a number of occasions—not only for us, but for other bikers on the trail as well.

We have a much larger first aid kit at home. It’s in a big fishing tackle box near the front door so that when—not if—the neighborhood kids knock and say, “Mrs. B., so-and-so’s hurt, come right away!” I can grab it on the fly.

The exterior/physical scrapes, cuts, bruises, burns, slivers, or blisters—general road rash— that we all experience from time to time are relatively easy to take care of: a bandaid here, a splint there, a few stitches here, some Calamine lotion, Neosporin, or Bactine there…

It’s the internal wounds—emotional, mental, and spiritual—that are much harder to address. Left unattended, they can fester and spread, wreaking havoc on our inner ecology.

What’s inside your emotional first aid kit; how do you tend to your internal wounds?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

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© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

72 thoughts on “Emotional First Aid Kit

  1. Laurie,

    I love Kims, response.

    Are you the healer lady of the hood? Cute!

    What’s inside your emotional first aid kit; how do you tend to your internal wounds? First I am not sure that there really is internal wounds. Our spirit/soul is always present always the source of Love. Wounds come from ego, out of place ego.
    In my tool box are prayer and mediation. Turning it over to Higher Power. KNowing I am never alone!

  2. I fully express them, feel them, share them (if appropriate) and then (hopefully) allow the would to heal through love, understanding and releasing. Sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t! When it works, it feels empowering. When it doesn’t work, I keep applying the salves of love and understanding.

  3. First, I was impressed by your neighborly first aid kit – wish you were MY neighbor! Second, the first thing that came to mind is how family and friends are the soothers when the emotions – mental AND spiritual – are bruised. Being alone doesn’t help (although a long prayerful walk does make a difference, for sure). Talking with those you love and trust — THAT heals wounds beautifully.

  4. I never thought about this before, but if my internal wounds are so severe I don’t have the internal tools for healing myself (meditation, prayer, etc.) I find great peace and comfort with my grandson. He says the most amazing things randomly and always seems to know what my heart needs to hear.

  5. Hi,
    What a great first aid kit, it seems to have everything in it. First aid kits are really essential and very handy, regardless of where you are or what you are doing.

    No internal wounds for me, or emotional, but you never know what is around the corner. 😀

  6. Learning to acknowledge and to actually feel them was a big first step. We came from a long line of stiff-upper-lip sorts who surely knew how to keep everything tidily swept up, and under, the proverbial rug 🙂

  7. Laurie, I love your Yellow Brain Preparedness and your Blue Brain Compassion about helping others heal. My loving family, my gratefulness for my copious blessings and my happy perspective (mother always said I was born happy), help me heal when I am emotionally injured. 🙂

  8. In my life I’ve been very blessed to have sentive, caring listening ears and guiding hands–both physically present and… By internalizing these lessons, I learn how to take better care of myself.

  9. My emotional first-aid kit consists of my dear partner, a pair of hiking boots, and an endless trail through a forest (or along a creek, up a mountain, etc.) Nature is the biggest healer to me. 🙂

  10. Sounds like the little ones in your neighborhood know who the healer is!

    Listening to music, reading, walking along the seashore or in the woods, and talking with my husband are all part of my emotional first aid kit.

  11. For me, the first step is breaking barriers, removing resistance, and feeling the emotion.
    It is acceptance, and then removal of meaning.
    It is to feel the pain, and be informed by it, without resistance, then to let it go.
    The letting go is the hardest part.
    Usually my younger selves want to make declarations and add meaning (this is right/ that is wrong, sort of stuff), and my higher self needs to both accept that the younger self must do that, and at the same time, not become attached to any of that meaning.

    Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it takes a lot of work.

    Emotional pain is not fun. It hurts, that is what it is there to do – to reinforce situations in the mind that have survival dangers over the sum of our evolutionary history. Unfortunately, this evolutionary averaging means that the pain is not always relevant to the modern contexts we find ourselves in.
    Knowing this reality does little to ease the pain – and it does help in enduring through the pain. It had been my experience that when one ceases to resist, and actually experiences what it there to experience, then it is free to go – having done its job.

    So in this sense, the heart of my “first-aid” kit is acceptance, inside of a higher context of love and contribution, supported by the scientific and systemic contexts that most of what others do is not personal, it is just their genetic and cultural mechanisms “doing their thing”. In their situation, I would most likely do much the same thing.

  12. Another great question Laurie….and the answer at the top of my list of tools would have to be spending time in nature. Hiking, snow shoeing, skiing, riding, taking pictures and just sitting in the shade or staring at the stars–it all works for me. I think our moms were very wise way back in the time they would shoo us out the door and say “Go outside and find something to do!”. To this day, that is some of the best advice I have ever received. :-). Which gives me an idea………

    • Winsomebella – We have similar tools in our kit (except I don’t ski). You’re right about our mother’s wise advice: Go outside and find something to do! (I’m looking forward to seeing/reading your idea)…

  13. Hey Laurie, great post!
    I have a similar first aid kit which lives in my kitchen. Kitchens are dangerous places, sharp knives, hot surfaces, so for an accident prone blogger it makes sense to keep it there!
    My emotional first aid kit consists of
    – listening to my favourite songs
    – meditation, and last resort
    – running (I never “jog”, I am a retired athlete and can’t run slowly)

    • Kevin – The kitchen is a great place for a first aid kit, lots of potential hazards there. I like the tools you’ve got in your emotional first aid kit: music, meditation, and running.

  14. Great reflection! I think that a lot of times people avoid and just smooth over these wounds…they act like they don’t exist. They are treated as “no biggie” then move on until they blow! The fact is, emotional scars are so deep that sometimes it takes a really long time to be OK but you have to face them first. 🙂 I try and address them as they come and pray thru them…that turns my hurt from bitterness to hope. I try to get to these ugly emotions and keep them in check though! 🙂

  15. Lovely piece! Many times we even leave such internal wounds unattended! It’s good that you’ve come up with a piece like this. I wish I could come up with some first aid for such. Keep them coming. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Watermelon, watermelon, hanging on the vine, here comes Sandi, running way behind! Actually I have 2 patches, I hesitate to call them cure-alls for in the end, I must be the one who resolves and dissolves these troublesome issues. One, I go outside and get busy, just being able to work at something, and see the visible results helps remind me that I still have some control and all is not lost. Second, I dump. I know it’s not polite to dump or throw your problems at someone else and maybe turn their Sunny Day into a Gloomy Day. I go to where there is the most sympathetic shoulder I know to cry on, God. He always listens, never tells me I am being foolish, and councils me to wait upon an answer or at least gives me the strength I need to deal with whatever is troubling me.

    • Sandi – I can picture you busy — like a whirling dervish — in your garden or with The Chicken Ladies. That’s a great way to soothe what ails. And of course a sympathetic listening ear has stood the test of time, whether it be God’s or that of a friend or loved one 🙂

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  18. Laurie, Your blog is amazing now, I can’t believe it has been so long since I visited. Your question is “What’s inside your emotional first aid kit; how do you tend to your internal wounds?” …and what a great question it is! Your second responder doubted that we get internal wounds because our source is spirit. What an intriguing question!!! Who is it that feels wounded? Is it me? My highest self?
    Personally, I’ve felt extremely wounded these past two years, but who is it that experiences the wounds? It’s the little me; the ego! My highest self is still just great. I’m learning, I’m growing. and that’s my job as a human.
    So, how do I tend to internal wounds? I return to the words of the masters who came before me. There is church and the bible, there are all the spiritual masters. There is the brain entrainment technology available nowadays. And, there’s nutrition. Believe it or not readers, our emotional wounds CAN be tended to through proper nutritional support combined with talk therapy.
    So, for me, it’s counseling therapy combined with amino acid supplements, vitamins and calcium. And then there’s friends. I used to underestimate the power of friendship, but not anymore. Thanks to my counselor, my friends, and the nutritional knowledge I picked up along the way, I’m doing great!!

    • Jessica – You’re the first person in the post to broach the subject of proper nutrition. It comes as no surprise to me that it’s an integral part of what’s in your emotional first aid kit. What we think and how we feel, in great part is a reflection of the chemical processes taking place in our body, and most of that is affected by what we eat and metabolize. Thank you for visiting Speaking from the Heart and leaving a comment.

      • Sam – When we feel woebegone, many of us (myself included) reach for “comfort” food. Depending on what it is and the type of chemical processing it triggers, it can send us into a downward spiral — one that’s very difficult to pull out of.

  19. “Left unattended, they can fester and spread, wreaking havoc on our inner ecology.”

    How true is this Laurie, and you frame it beautifully. Emotional duress is far more aching and sustaining than any physical malady, except an acute toothache! Just kidding of course. The worst emotional demand on us is the management of grief, something I dread and try to keep as far away from me as possible. I agree with some of your other readers that dialogue is the route to stability, and that one must be open and never shut out the issues being pondered. Suppression is the worst panacea of all.

    Laurie, I want to wish you and Len (and your son) a very Happy Easter. Weather in these parts for the weekend looks most promising.

    • Sam – I agree with you. Grief can be downright debilitating, knocking the pins right out from beneath us. As you say, “suppression is the worst panacea of all.”

      Happy Easter to you and yours 🙂

  20. Writing is my best avenue for tending my internal wounds. I have thankfully friends to talk to as well. My shamanic practice takes me to new vistas of me where I learn that I am never alone, I am always with myself, the spirits of the universe, and the forgiving energy of eternity.

    • Barbara – If I’m not mistaken, you’re the first person to mention writing and shamanic practice as an avenues for tending to internal wounds. Both excellent healing balms to keep at-the-ready.

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  22. Impressive first aid kit (I’m a bit jealous and think I need to start working on an appropriate for our household since we’re building). Ah, yes, so true the emotional wounds are so much harder to heal. I think time is one of the best salves…

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