This article is going to help you understand what to expect when you are on an emotional healing journey. Healing our emotional wounds can be overwhelming.

But if you keep these tips in mind it will help you through the process.  These are directly from what I wish I had known when I embarked on my own personal healing journey. I hope they can save you frustration on yours.

So, let’s dive right in with the question I get asked the most.

emotional wounds

How Long Does It Take to Heal Emotional Trauma?

The answer to this one is one people typically don’t want to hear. There is no set amount of time. And it most likely will take longer than you expect. This is not a quick and easy process.  You are not going to journal, meditate and go to a counseling session and be all better in a week or two. Depending on what you are healing from and how much time you dedicate to healing. It could be years of work.

Why? Because most of the things that we need to heal are often intertwined with other issues.  And there are many layers to our problems.

For example, if you are healing from a divorce, it may not be the only issue that comes up. You may find you are also dealing with abandonment issues from childhood. And those abandonment issues also show up in your early 20’s but in a very different way. And they all affected your marriage. So, you end up healing the emotional pain from your marriage, and childhood issues. (For more on why this occurs I recommend The Four Agreements.)

Healing Is Like Going Through a Corn Maze

I like to compare your emotional healing journey to going through a maze.

You go in, you're trying to find the solution to get to the other side. You keep getting lost. You keep circling back around to the same place that you've been. But slowly over time you recognize when you have been there before. And decide not to go down that path. So, you choose another, and eventually you get out to the other side.

So, you decide you are going to go to the more advance maze. It is the same thing. You keep getting lost. Circling back to where you were. But then you find yourself back in the first maze. Turns out they are connected. But because you have done it before, you quickly get back to the more advanced one. You eventually finish that one and move to the next level.

Through the healing process you may go back to the issues you thought you had taken care of. Because each healing level shows another aspect of the issue. But it keeps getting easier as you understand the process. You understand the pattern. Allowing you to speed up future healing.

So, when you begin your journey allow yourself extra time and space to do the work. And know that it does speed up and you can recover quicker next time.

Now that you know this could take some time, let’s explore what you should prepare for on the journey.

What to Prepare for on Your Emotional Healing Journey

Healing Takes Effort

This is not an easy process. The phrase time heals all wounds, is false. While time does help, it will not take away all the pain and trauma that has occurred. Unless you are actively working to heal.

Emotional healing needs you to dig in and spend hours with your emotional healing tool(s) of choice. This is not a wave your magic wand and you're all better situation.

You must put energy into discovering what is at the source of your feelings. But don’t despair, the emotional rewards are worth it.

Question Why You Started the Healing Journey

There will be times you wonder why you even started down this journey. You are going to have a day where you sit down and you say to yourself, why did I even start? I was better off being ignorant about my feelings and beliefs.

This is natural because this is a hard process. Because of the interwoven nature of healing. Plus, the fact that it takes time and work, means at some point you will wonder if it is all worth it. I have yet to have a client that has not had one of these days.

What I can tell you from experience is – it is worth it.

You Will Experience Physical Impacts

Without getting into the science details (I will add links in a section below this), we process our emotions at a physical level in our bodies. When we do healing work, our cells start to release all those emotions that we are keeping stuck inside. This can impact you on a cellular level that can make you sick, tired and mess with your body. Sometimes it gives you extra energy. There are a bunch of terms that you can hear this referred to such as ascension sickness.   But no matter what you call it, remember it is very common. 

I remember the first time that it occurred to me, my mentor started celebrating. I'm like, wait, you're celebrating because I'm sick. She was like, yup, we've made a breakthrough.  (I also very rarely get sick which is why it was so obvious for me.)

I do recommend that instead of assuming you don’t feel good because of your healing work. That you go to a trained health professional to make sure nothing is wrong. I say, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Understanding the Health Implications Research

Molecules of Emotion

Physics of Emotion

Heal Documentary

Can Trauma Be Stored In Your Body

How To Get Through the Emotional Healing Process

Small Steps

You do not have to spend hours a day working on your emotional healing. You can make progress by dedicating small amounts of time each day.

I have had major insights and solved problems with 15 minutes of journaling.  Fifteen minutes a day consistently will get you where you need to go. The lessons build you don't lose them. It's better to do 10 to 15 minutes a day than nothing at all.

Commit to Yourself

One of the best things you can do to get through the hard days is to have already made a commitment to you. To both believe in yourself and to believe that you are worth the healing work.  I know that can feel daunting even at the start. So, if you instead you need to commit to the process, that will also work.

Write the commitment down. Anywhere that you either see it daily or that you have quick access to.  This way on a bad day, you look at what you wrote yourself, to reaffirm why you are doing it.

Some ideas for where to write it down:

  • In your journal. This way you see it every time that you sit down to journal!
  • As your screensaver.
  • A note on your phone. This is a great alternative to the screensaver if for some reason you don't want everyone to see it. If your phone does not have a default notes app, there are many you can download and use. My favorite is Evernote.
  • On your bathroom mirror. This is a great way to remember every day why you are doing the work!

Take Time Off from Healing

Occasionally, you need to take time off.  There are two major reasons.

  • This allows your body time to catch up with the healing work you have done.
  • Your brain needs time to process things. You will have more insights and breakthroughs by allowing your brain time to process.

So how often should you take a break? Everyone is different but there are a few of times I recommend you take a break.

First, right after you have a breakthrough. Give yourself a little celebratory time off. This allows your body time to catch up. Plus, it celebrates you. And you deserve to be celebrated!

Second, I recommend you take a break is when it is too overwhelming, and it is causing more stress. You don’t want to create new issues in the healing process by forcing yourself. So, stop and take a little down time from your healing work.

Third, when you are stuck. You have tried everything you can to gain clarity on a situation, but nothing seems to work. Taking a break can shed new light on the situation. I am always amazed at how many insights I get when on vacation! And that is usually due to our subconscious getting a chance to work and experiencing new things. (To learn more about emotional healing travel.)

Have a Support System

You need to have people around you who are helping you and supporting you.

This can be in many forms. It can be a counselor, which I highly recommend. It can be a friend. It can be a coach. It can be a support group.

When looking for the right support team, consider these things:

  1. 1
    Unbiased as possible (there will always be some level of bias). If it is someone directly affected by you adding new boundaries, they might not be the right person. This is where a counselor is very handy as they are not impacted by your healing.
  2. 2
    Find multiple that have different personalities and look at things differently. I had two friends who I turned to often. One I knew I could always call when I just needed to pick me up. She was always positive and on my side! And then one, I knew I could call if I needed the blatant outright truth. Even if I didn’t want to hear it.
  3. 3
    Avoid someone who is toxically positive. Someone who's not listening to your feelings. Your feelings are valid, no matter what they are, they are valid. They are yours and they deserve to be honored as real. You are allowed to have down days. You are allowed to be sad. You need someone who honors where you are at and doesn’t want you to just smile and push through.

Don’t feel like any of these support systems are right for you?

 Check out my coaching services and let me help you through your journey.


Finally, it is really important for you to have a self-care practice in place. And not just grooming care and nights out. Taking care of your soul and body are very important during the healing process.

I recommend you start a meditation or journaling practices as a way to both heal yourself and at the same time nurture yourself. The other thing I recommend is getting into nature as much as possible. Nature is very healing. It will help you with everything that we have just covered.

Ultimately remember to be gentle with yourself. You are undertaking work that will help you be more joyful. And bring you more unconditional love for yourself. You are worth that.

Not sure where to start? Check out some of my favorite emotional healing books here.

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