Trauma floods the news.
Politics, religion, and a quest for power fuel horrific acts that forever impact victims and witnesses. They send a wave of trauma across the nation.
Because of the Kavanaugh hearings, a shooting at a synagogue, or pipe bomb mailings to Political leaders, along with the little “t”’s (trauma’s) of daily life – such as, being bullied at work, losing a loved one, or having a financial crisis – your sense of peace and safety gets blocked.
Trauma rocks your central nervous system causing physiological changes in your body that feel like stress, anxiety, panic or worse – a very real sense of being in mortal danger.
Prolonged, it can lead to unhealthy patterns in your behavior affecting relationships, work, or wellbeing. Eventually, it can lead to illness.
Even those without a formal diagnosis of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), can experience some of its symptoms during times of discord like restlessness, increased startle response, and hypervigilance.
Trauma experts like Bessel Van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score), Laurel Parnell (Attachment Focused EMDR) and Peter Levine (Waking the Tiger) are well versed in the ways to undo trauma and restore wholeness. Each involves a mind body connection that supports your body’s natural healing processes and wisdom.
Try five helpful strategies, inspired by their work, to navigate these uncertain times:
- If it doesn’t feel good, stop. Turn off the news, get off social media, recognize triggers for distress.
- Listen to your body. Notice sensations, discomfort, or gut reactions. Be curious about them. Respond, don’t react.
- Take time to reflect, not obsess. Just 5 minutes a day observing – without judging – your thoughts can provide relief from reactionary urges.
- Stimulate both sides of your body. Walk, do yoga, try out boxing, give yourself a butterfly hug. These can prompt natural and healing brain processes.
- Practice gratitude. Name 3 things each day that you would miss if you didn’t already have them. It’s considered an antidote to unpleasant thoughts and feelings.
Perhaps most importantly, remember that you are not alone. Each of us is finding our way. It may seem easier for some than others to cope but, don’t hesitate to reach out. Talk to a friend or professional.
Research is proving that our bodies possess a natural wisdom that allows healing from trauma. If you’re feeling trapped or stuck in negative thoughts or reactions, take action to help yourself. Just imagine what your life would be like without this problem.