Trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. But trauma doesn’t have to be gigantic to leave a lasting effect. Sometimes, things that seem small to the outside world can be traumatic and stay with you for a long time. But unlike certain mental illnesses where you have to merely manage your symptoms, you can actually fully recover from trauma. Learn three ways to process trauma.
When we think of trauma, we think of catastrophic, life-altering events like war or terrible accidents.
But trauma doesn’t have to be gigantic to leave a lasting effect. Sometimes, things that seem small to the outside world can be traumatic and stay with you for a long time.
For the purpose of this article, we are going to define trauma as anything that negatively affected you in such a way that it has stayed with you over a long period of time.
Perhaps it was a bad breakup or the loss of a pet as a child. If you’re plagued by negative feelings about something that a occurred a long time ago, then your body may be paying the price for what you haven’t been able to let go.
When something happens to us that we perceive as negative, we create a belief system about ourselves surrounding that event. If not properly addressed, those belief systems grow stronger over time as they are reinforced through more negative self-talk. So we’ll discuss how this can affect your health and how you can heal yourself from those old wounds.
How The Brain Works
Your brain is constantly making new connections and looking for patterns. We have adapted and survived this long as a species because we are incredible pattern spotters. When we face danger, our brain makes all the necessary connections to ensure we can avoid that danger in the future.
This type of pattern recognition often happens without our consent.
We see something familiar, we make our judgements and then we behave according to our belief systems. It would take far too much energy if this were a conscious process. We’d be spending all our time making assessments and flipping through our memories. It’s efficient for this to be automatic.
Yet, it is this automatic process that can sometimes get us in trouble, especially when it comes to trauma. When you have a strong negative feeling about an event, your brain does everything it can to make sure you can avoid or survive similar events in the future.
If you aren’t aware of this and don’t process your trauma, your body may be unnecessarily negatively affected.
6 Ways Your Body Is Affected By Unprocessed Trauma
When you haven’t consciously processed your trauma, your brain is doing the work for you. It’s making connections and sending signals about the perceived threat.
Overtime, this can take unnecessary energy and cause fatigue. You only have so much energy to use and if you don’t consciously deal with your trauma, your brain will use energy to try and do it for you.
2. Difficulty Thinking Clearly
In the same way that these energy processes can cause fatigue, they can also make it difficult to concentrate, focus and remember.
Even beyond the energy it takes, if you haven’t taken the time to heal from your trauma, your judgement will be clouded with grief.
3. Feelings of Loneliness
Human connection is crucial to our survival. We need human touch and interaction to stay alive and healthy.
When you haven’t healed from trauma, you may deal with trust and intimacy issues. This problems can keep you from enjoying the beautiful benefits of human connection.
It seems obvious that unprocessed trauma can cause depression, but depression can also make you sick.
Muscle soreness, feeling like you’re constantly fighting off a cold, headaches and fatigue can all be physical symptoms of depression.
5. Weak Immunity
Research has shown that our immune systems are compromised after the death of a loved one. We are more likely to become sick when we are faced with grief and mourning.
If you haven’t healed from your traumas, you may be in a persistent state of grief.
6. Negative Coping Techniques
Finally, if you don’t deal with your trauma, you may develop unhealthy coping mechanisms that can make you sick.
From severe substance abuse issues like alcohol and drug addiction to other self medicating techniques like sugar binging and obsessive dieting, poor coping skills can have a really negative impact on your health.
How To Process Your Trauma – 3 Ways
The good news is, you can heal from trauma.
Unlike certain mental illnesses where you have to merely manage your symptoms, you can actually completely recover from trauma.
Once you make the proper connections in your brain and develop strong belief systems that are not based on fear and avoidance, you can live a very healthy, happy and long life free from the physical effects of unprocessed trauma.
Here are some suggested ways to process your trauma.
1. Consult With A Therapist/Psychologist
If you’re dealing with nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks or severe depression, you should consider seeing a therapist or psychologist.
Therapy techniques like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have been proven to effectively help people process with and heal from their traumas. There is no shame in seeing someone who specializes in trauma. It can be one of the fastest and most effective roads to recovery.
2. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
A daily mindfulness meditation practice has been proven to be effective for a number of different physical illnesses and mental health issues.
Whether you choose to see a therapist/psychologist or not, practicing mindfulness can help you on your journey of healing.
Being in a state of awareness and acceptance creates strong connections in your brain that help you move beyond the constant fear and avoidance that comes from trauma.
3. Explore Energy Healing Treatment
Trauma has a tendency to become stuck in our energetic fields as we hold on to these events out of fear that that particular pain will happen again.
These negative attachments can weigh us down and keep us from experiencing a free and full life. An energy healer or even energy healing meditations can intuitively find these attachments or lingering energies, and gently release them from your energy field.