Dealing With Life’s Traumas

January 28, 2014

Inevitably in our lives we find ourselves dealing with trauma. It might be ours or a friend or loved one’s. I have learned that no one is immune, and no one’s trauma is any more or less important than someone else’s. This is a very crucial lesson we need to learn. Because the danger lies not so much in the act itself, but in our reaction to it and how we process it.

Trauma runs the gamut, of course, from the unthinkable–such as being the victim of a violent crime or witnessing the horrors of war–to hurtful or unwelcome words spoken to us. In our modern world, the trauma is often delivered via text or email. And there’s the trauma that comes along with grief following a death, a divorce, or the loss of a home or a job. They are all valid and equally in need of our attention.

The energy from trauma that isn’t dealt with becomes buried in our body (literally, in our cells) and can later lead to health problems. Many of us are carrying the effects of trauma that we’re not even aware of. The human species has a mechanism for doing this to protect us and help us cope, but there’s a limit to how much the body can handle.

In Dr. Peter Levine’s groundbreaking book “Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma” he writes about the difference between how animals in the wild are wired to deal with trauma versus how humans handle it. A wild animal can shake off the trauma from an attack and almost immediately return to normal, while a traumatized person could be in therapy for decades and still not have recovered from the traumatic event. I wrote a post called “Healing Trauma” about Dr. Levine’s groundbreaking research a couple of years ago, and to this day, benefit from his wisdom whenever something traumatic happens to me.

You can read Chapter One of Dr. Levine’s book HERE.

Taking just a few moments to read it will help you if you are dealing with trauma or prepare you for when it appears again in your life or in the life of someone you love.

My energy healing teacher, Deborah King, wrote in her first book “Truth Heals: What You Hide Can Hurt You” about the familial sexual abuse she suffered and how she was able to transform that trauma by speaking her truth and learning how to release emotional blockages that can cause illness. The book also teaches about the emotional and physical connections to each of the seven chakras–important information which can help us determine where in the body we need to focus our attention after a trauma occurs.

Nowhere is the body/mind connection more evident than in the case of trauma. Here are some suggestions for helping to clear trauma out of the body:

  •  Take note where in the body you are feeling attacked. The 3rd (solar plexus) and 4th (heart) chakras are common areas to feel trauma, but every chakra is open to feeling the trauma. Put your attention there (i.e. the heart) and fiercely intend for the trauma to leave your body. You can even grab at it with your hand and throw it up towards the ceiling, picturing it blowing up, disintegrating, or floating away–whatever works for you. Remember, it’s all energy.
  • Shake it out. Just like the wild animals do, you can shake the trauma out of your body. If you feel self-conscious or aren’t alone, go into a bathroom or somewhere private and shake your body until you feel some relief. This really works.
  • Dance. Put on some music and dance it out. This is a great way to clear your energy field, whether you’ve been traumatized or not.
  • If you feel that you’ve been traumatized by having your voice stifled, put some attention on your 5th (throat) chakra and sing or shout or scream it out.
  • Journal about how you are feeling. I cannot overemphasize the importance of this. There is something about the energetic flow from your body to the pen and onto the paper that releases a tremendous amount of stuck energy.
  • Talk it out with someone you trust. Again, you will get rid of a lot of the energy of the trauma by not suppressing it. Let your voice be heard. It will not only help yourself, it will help others as well.
  • Nurture the mind/body connection by practicing yoga, tai chi, qigong, or any other physical practice that will help you move energy out of the body.
  • Bodywork such as massage, cranio sacral, acupuncture, and chi nei tsang is a powerful way to keep positive energy flowing in the body.
  • Energy healing sessions can help to clear, balance and recharge your energy field, helping the trauma to gently exit the body.
  • Trust your intuition. We all have it, we all know what it feels like, and we’ve all ignored it at times. Learn to recognize that little voice or gut feeling and honor it – it just may save you from experiencing trauma in the future.
  • Nurture and love yourself. Don’t fall victim to “I made this happen”. Shame and self-blame are toxic emotions that you don’t want stored in your body.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is more common than you think and is not just experienced by war veterans. By recognizing the mind/body connection, and implementing the above practices, we can work towards alleviating trauma and move forward in our lives. Some of the greatest teachers I have met were victims of incredibly traumatic events who have learned how to turn that darkness into light, teaching and empowering others along the way.

With love,
Barbara

Resources:

“Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma” By Peter Levine
Other books/audios on healing trauma by Peter Levine (Including sexual trauma and childhood trauma)
“Truth Heals: What You Hide Can Hurt You” By Deborah King

5 Comments
  1. Beautiful clear concise article, my friend. I had a pretty traumatic childhood, as you know, and I’m convinced if I wasn’t so athletic I’d have succumbed to much more physical illness. Working out got the trauma out of me. I love your list of ways to cope and heal, giving folks several easy choices. Good job — give yourself a High Five!

  2. Great article, Barbara!! There is also a technique called TRE (“Trauma Release Exercises”)…. it’s a series of simple exercises that leads to your legs shaking/vibrating while releasing old stored trauma. Kind of like the shaking but this shaking is involuntary. It’s pretty powerful!! Google it and check out Amazon.

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