What is a Healing Journey? How Do I Start One?

It's my personal belief that everyone should be on a healing journey. It's my personal mission to help everyone find healing (through a healing journey). Whether you are reading this article for yourself or a loved one, the bottom line is we ALL need healing.

Let's define this "healing" first. I am talking about healing of both mental and physical ailments -- nagging conditions that wear you down -- many the result of past trauma, which builds and intensifies in your body and mind and soul, resulting in all sorts of so-called "disorders," emotional dysregulation (outbursts), and shortened lifespans (from suicide or premature death from poor health).

We are in a healing crisis:

  • We are in a mental health crisis.

  • We are in a suicide crisis.

  • We are in an addiction crisis.

  • We are in a spiritual crisis.

  • We are in a wellness crisis.

  • We are in an abuse crisis.

  • We are in a "magic" pill-popping crisis.

  • We are in a HEALING crisis.

Not to sound overly dramatic, but we as a society are the unhappiest and loneliest we have ever been. We all have hidden fears, anxieties, traumas, hurts -- and pain, guilt, shame, and anger that are not so hidden. So many of us are broken on the inside... and many of us don't even know it, but all the signs are there.

A Healing Journey Makes Us WHOLE Again

Healing is life-enhancing. Healing addresses the root causes. Healing is not a band-aid like so many prescription drugs handed to us by doctors; these drugs simply work to mask the symptoms of past trauma -- and do not address the trauma itself.

Healing is also a scary proposition -- no question -- which perhaps is why it takes so many of us a long time to start that journey.

Healing is about facing the trauma that happened to you, the trauma that you have squelched all your life -- or perhaps even forgotten. It's facing both what you know and what you need to know. The unknown can be daunting, challenging.

When we are unhealed, we use many coping mechanisms to simply get through the day... we may lie (to ourselves and others), cheat, steal, smoke, drink, take drugs, and partake in risky behaviors. Or we may swing far the other way, treating the people around us with strictness, swift justice, little emotion.

When I was unhealed and hurting from my trauma, I used various masks to hide the real me. All the masks were parts of me, but only fractional parts, and all a lie from the true me. I got so tired of wearing those masks -- always trying to remember all the lies I told. It was an exhausting life.

The purpose of a healing journey is for you to face that trauma -- finally -- in a safe manner that does not cause more trauma, and which results in you finally becoming your complete and true self, rediscovering aspects of yourself that may have been lost for years, decades, because of the trauma. How? Keep reading!

How to Heal: A Healing Journey

Everyone's healing journey is different. Every path is unique, and yet we can definitely talk about healing journey guidelines and tips. We have a tendency to ignore and neglect our health while focusing on the day-to-day challenges of life, so a healing journey means a change in priorities -- and a new focus on healing.

First, the easiest way to start a healing journey is simply taking the first step to commit to healing, to have an intention to heal. Just commit to finding healing -- and to stay on a healing path, even with the expected bumps and missteps. For some, like me, I accidentally found myself on a healing journey -- and once I realized it, then made the commitment to stick with it.

Second, is establishing your goal for your healing journey. Yes, it's about increasing self-awareness, digging down into negativity, addressing negative emotional issues (such as anger, fear, guilt, etc.), but the key HAS to be a focus on unrooting the unprocessed emotions from one or more traumatic events in your past, and healing from it.

Third, you will want to decide on the tools you will be using in your healing journey. I recommend a journal of some sort, because you will have a LOT of thoughts, research, reflections, notes. Of course, other people use other tools, such as art, dance, music, etc.

Fourth, start building/enhancing your support network. Community is essential to a successful healing journey. A healing journey may also mean removing a few people from your life that are triggering or unhelpful/unsupportive. In a healing journey, you want to feel supported and uplifted by your people. Love and understanding are essential elements in healing. Your community may also include professionals, such as therapists and coaches.

Fifth, be prepared for some bumps and pitfalls in your healing journey. The journey is not all birds and flowers in a fresh meadow -- it can be -- but more likely, it will be one filled with new/old learning that knocks you off your feet or shakes you to your core... before you can start rebuilding. Again, these dark and challenging episodes are necessary to go through and clear so that you can reach that apex of your journey, feeling fully healed and whole.

Six, explore as many healing modalities that call to you. You may only need one, but all of these tools work well together! Here's a partial list of the major healing modalities (as discussed in my book, HEAL!):

  • Spirituality -- meditation, prayer.

  • Somatic -- movement, yoga, bodywork.

  • Psychedelics -- plants, fungi.

  • Breathwork -- changing consciousness.

  • Nature -- forest bathing, healing compounds.

  • Food -- food as medicine.

Seventh, start establishing self-care practices, such as daily movement and meditation/prayer. Allow yourself moments of indulgence and self-love -- and sharing love with others. One of my self-care routines is an hour of quiet time with coffee and a light breakfast, as often as possible on my deck, observing nature.

Eighth, embrace forgiveness. You will NEVER truly heal until you forgive the people who harmed you. The forgiveness is not for the other person, and it does not mean you condone the behavior/actions. By forgiving those who harmed you, you are also releasing any negative emotions you hold about yourself and your actions (or lack of actions), thereby forgiving YOURSELF. Forgiveness is about truly releasing the pain, regrets, etc.

Ninth, start a gratitude journal or practice. Everyone has one or more people or things in our lives that we can be grateful for, and some of us have an embarrassment/abundance to be thankful for. These can be big or small -- but must have meaning for you. For example, I try to get up from my laptop once an hour and look out my window for a moment of gratitude for the trees, mountains, and animals I see.

Tenth, always remember it's a journey, and one with many lessons. For most of us, it's also a lifelong journey because -- sadly -- we will often encounter potentially traumatic events throughout our lives. But, it's a lifelong journey filled with such deep insights and pure joy. Once we have tackled our past trauma, a healing journey is one filled with moments of laughter, joy, love, and peace. As a Christian, I relate to this as the Fruit of the Spirit, and spiritual healing is often part of a healing journey.

Final Thoughts About a Healing Journey

Please. Just. Do. It.

Even if you think you are well-adjusted and doing just fine, please do it. But if you're like most of us who know something happened to us or that we are not completely okay, it is IMPERATIVE to start a healing journey.

Remember, there's no time limit, no test, no judgment to a healing journey. It's simply a tool to help you live your BEST LIFE, a happy life, a love-filled life, a peaceful life, a life with no regrets or fears.

A healing journey will improve your mental and physical health -- in fact, it can result in not just living, but thriving!

Additional Resources About Healing

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com.

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.