Trauma, whether physical or emotional, can be profoundly impactful to the body. Any form of significant trauma exposes a person to post-traumatic stress. When the injury is bodily, cognitive dissonance may occur between the mental sense and part of the body as a way to suppress the processing of the trauma.
When the trauma is emotional, bodily responses to the disruption of psychological state can have long term physical effects on the nervous system and body.
What We Know about Trauma
There is countless evidence that trauma lives in the body. Physical reactions to emotional trauma occur from the “flight or fight” response that is triggered each time the trauma was experienced or continues to be processed.
Our flight or fight response often clashes with the victim’s inability to act, which is a result of fear or pain. What follows is a confused, nervous system that works harder, and adrenaline and cortisol begin to run rampant in the body.
Those with PTSD experience these symptoms at a constant, and never quite return to their baseline before the trauma occurred. This is what can often lead to the tendency for alcohol and drug abuse, high-risk or erratic behavior, and self-harm in people who struggle with PTSD.
Fight the Trauma
Healing trauma is not a linear system or path, and for this reason, it will require various angles of support to be processed healthily. The central focus being: what you contribute to your healing.
An integral part of this is considering how the body needs to heal. When trauma shows its face, the essential connection between mind and body is severed and requires specific attention to be repaired.
Focus on the Mind-Body Bond
The first thing to understand about the mind-body connection is that it is a habit that may improve with mindfulness and consciousness. Strategies to strengthen the connection between the two require some extra thought and cultivation of recurrence. How do you do it?
Try Purposeful Movement
Connect with your body by establishing a mind-to-muscle connection when executing a physical activity. Envision what is occurring in each muscle fiber as your brain signals your body to exert.
This can be done in workouts like weightlifting, biking, running, or yoga. Perhaps for you, it can be dance, chanting, or theatre. Even walking or stretching can be mindful movements. It’s all about the mental activation to the physical movement.
Explore Sensory Surveying
Observe your physical state of being with great intention. Interpret and make a mental note of how your body feels both at a baseline and when stimulated. Continually check-in and learn about your physical tendency to respond in the unique way that you have learned to.
Delve a bit deeper and consider if you’ve always been the same in these tendencies, and where you may have evolved. Then, consider that this capacity for evolution can also work to your advantage.
Remember the Physical Touch
It’s a love language for a reason. The experience of physical human touch is rehabilitating both mentally and physically. For those who fear intimacy, it is an avenue to rebuilding what feels like a closed bridge. Mentally, it exercises the ability to trust.
Cases of Addiction and Chronic PTSD
Mental and emotional fitness is key in combating the devastating effects of someone who has fallen victim to addiction from unresolved or damaging trauma. For many, becoming stronger than the pain cannot be done alone.
If you or a loved one have experienced trauma in this way, it’s important to know that it can improve. Consider consulting with a mental healthcare professional for support outside of family and friends.
Trauma is a staple human experience that we all must undergo in some relativity. Implore yourself and others to seek help when necessary, and not to shy from the reality that we are all human.