The Importance Of Overcoming Trauma
Trauma Can Hide in Your Brain and Wreak Havoc on Your Body. Here’s How to Heal From It.
Trauma has always been part of the human condition, but these days it seems more common. Between mass shootings, horrific hurricanes and floods, and the #MeToo movement that brought sexual assault to the fore, we’re seeing firsthand the effects that intense, emotionally laden experiences can have long after they’re over. Many experts believe the COVID-19 pandemic will have a far-reaching and lasting traumatic effect as well.
Those who study the phenomenon are clear that trauma can be brought on by many experiences other than military combat or an assault on a darkened street. Any watershed event—or series of events—that leads you to view your life in terms of “before” and “after” can cause severe mental-health effects.
And something like that is likely to happen to each of us at some point.
A key way those reactions manifest is through PTSD. However, you don’t need to experience physical harm or the most extreme emotional shock to develop post-traumatic stress. And keeping this trauma to yourself can be far worse. Now there’s a growing realization that to properly recover, you must allow both your mind and your body to process what happened and accept that in some ways you may be changed by it forever.
The after effects of trauma can be immediate, with symptoms like anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, and/or depression. But not being properly treated can set you up for chronic physical diseases as well. Trauma survivors may develop digestive problems, autoimmune disorders and heart disease. Plus, people who live through a traumatically distressing ordeal are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, suffer from an eating disorder, or even die by suicide.
Fortunately, there are treatments for trauma that range from basic at-home exercises to professional help. Here are some of them:
Meditation - It may blunt your fight-or-flight reaction, help you think clearly, and rebuild brain connections ruptured by trauma. “The vast majority of people who do it for just 10 minutes notice a change right away
Shake and dance - Ever seen ducks shake out their feathers after they fight? They are purging physical residue before trauma lodges in our cells. Try vigorously shaking your whole body for five minutes, stop and notice the stillness for the next three, then dance to your favorite tunes for another five. This is part of a comprehensive program detailed in a major study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
Make dietary changes - Chemicals your body produces during a harrowing event can damage the villi in your intestines and alter the bacteria that keep your gut healthy. This may be why irritable bowel syndrome is a common symptom of PTSD. You’ll want to move away from the sweet, creamy comfort foods you might crave and lean on healing proteins, vegetables, and fruits.
Seek social support - Loneliness and isolation give trauma extra power, so find a support group (online or in person), and reach out to friends and acquaintances who have been through something big. A healing community that surrounds someone after a traumatic experience can be important to helping them feel nurtured and secure.
Try a trauma-specific therapy - Certain techniques may directly loosen trapped memories and emotions. A professional therapist can help using methods like Prolonged Exposure, Eye Movement Desensitization and Processing (EMDR), or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
Try neurofeedback – Neurofeedback is a computer-based system for retraining brainwaves into making more healthy patterns. For those with advanced neurological issues stemming from trauma, neurofeedback could help get you back into a more normal and healthy state of mind. Neurofeedback has decades of research and case studies to prove it’s effectiveness with many neurological issues.
If you are interested in learning more about neurofeedback, our clinic offers this service. Come in for a consultation to see if it is right for you, or check out our neurofeedback page on this site. You can also call (321)-444-6750 for more information.
Posted In: Neurofeedback