May 2, 2017

When Healing Plateaus

It is good to have an end to journey toward;
but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
– Ursula K. Le Guin –

Think of the last time you took a long road trip. There were probably moments when everything went smoothly. You were on the freeway with a clear sky and an open road, zooming toward your destination. Chances are, there were moments that were less than ideal, too. Maybe it started to rain and you couldn’t see as far as you wanted to. Maybe you spent some time sitting in traffic totally stopped. You knew you would ultimately make it to your destination, but it didn’t feel like you were making much progress as you sat in the traffic jam.

We often refer to healing as a journey, and your journey might feel like a road trip. There are moments when everything is going well and you feel like you’re making good progress toward your goals. But there might be times when you feel like your progress has come to a stop. You just aren’t moving forward the way you want to. You’re sitting in gridlock rather than driving down the road. What can you do if you feel like your healing isn’t progressing the way you want it to? Below are three things you can try: 

1. Acknowledge that it’s normal to have some moments when you stall on your healing journey.

Emotional healing is complicated and takes time. There are bound to be ups, downs, and plateaus along the way. Don’t judge yourself if you feel like you’ve hit a roadblock.

2. Spend some time reflecting on everything you’ve accomplished.

Maybe you’ve achieved the recovery goals you set, and that makes you feel like you’ve reached a plateau. Do you need to figure out a new way to challenge yourself to reach the next level of your recovery? Is there a hurdle you’ve resisted facing head-on and now you’re in a place where you can tackle it?

3. Mix up the strategies you use to address your challenges.

For example, if you always journal to work through emotional issues, try doing a physical activity instead to see if it helps you discover new insight. Incorporating variety is one way to find your way out of a rut.

It can be overwhelming to feel like you’re not progressing. Find comfort in the fact that discomfort is a normal part of the healing journey. Just as you expect some traffic and potholes when you drive, you should expect some moments of frustration on your road to recovery. Use these moments to reflect. Remember that you don’t have to resolve everything right now. Just try to find one specific thing you can do today to help yourself on your healing journey.