We all experience trauma. The kinds of situations that may be defined as traumatic vary between individuals. For example, a person who had a stable childhood and a good social support network who loses a loved one will experience substantial grief, but this kind of person may move into a new season of life rather well. Ultimately that experience does not disrupt their capacity to engage life nor their understanding of who they are. They are resilient. They bounce back from difficulties and loss.
But for a person who was not nurtured well in childhood and lacks good social support, moving into a new phase of life may be very difficult. For this kind of person, losses may be experienced as profoundly disabling events that shake the foundations of the person’s confidence in their ability to engage in life again. This person may also go through an identity crisis when they experience events they perceive as traumatic. They lack resilience and can get stuck in stages of grief.
While we may look at situations and be tempted to define some as more traumatic than others, the defining of what constitutes trauma is really an inside job. Some events that are experienced as traumatic, even though they may not seem extreme from an objective point of view, come during a developmental stage or at a time of life when a myriad of other factors have created a sort of perfect storm.
For instance, a newly married woman and her husband were playfully bantering and he, as an innocent and playful act, straddled atop her and gently bopped her face with a pillow. She quickly became enraged, threw him off of her, and began hitting him while screaming and cussing, wild-eyed. He was shocked and afraid because her response seemed so extreme and out of context.
When they tried to discuss the incident, she erupted into tears and then shut down, seemingly incapable of engaging a conversation. They sought counsel and in therapy, the wife revealed that as a young child she had been repeatedly restrained with a pillow over her face while her father abused her.
While her husband’s playful behavior was not traumatic in and of itself, she experienced it as trauma because her body and her brain’s emotional networks associated this situation with the abuse in her childhood and turned on her self-protection programs. She wasn’t fully, consciously aware of what was going on inside of her as she reacted to her husband. She was reacting out of the long-term effects of trauma. She knew in her head that her husband was not trying to hurt her, but her emotional reaction was so strong and so quick that it took her over to the point where she couldn’t engage her logical mind.
There are many people habitually overreacting to present day events because they have not been given the understanding and tools to effectively deal with their trauma. Many of these people are suffering the effects of unaddressed trauma, often referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, and our entire world suffers the effects as well.
When any of us suffer we all suffer, whether we realize it or not. The cost to our nation in medical expenses due to unresolved trauma are sure to be very high. The incalculable cost of human suffering is very, very high. And the loss is staggering to consider. Think of how many gifts and abilities the people who are struggling with trauma are unable to bring to the world. What are we losing out on because they cannot be who they were meant to be?
While there are trauma survivors who have figured out how to transform their pain into creativity, many tend to feel overwhelmed and just live in survival mode. Imagine what a different world it would be if we were all equipped to heal from our traumas so we could live more fully as our true selves.
One of the tools we teach our clients at NeuroSource is called Coherent Breathing, also known as Heart Rate Variability Training. This is an active meditation technique that has been researched by the company HeartMath and proven to be helpful in the process of healing from trauma. We use biofeedback technology with this technique to help clients see how their nervous system is performing and to measure their improvement objectively. With these tools, we can learn how to calm the body and brain so they stop habitually reacting to old trauma.
There are many effective tools people can use to overcome the struggles of trauma and capitalize on the wisdom one gleans from going through difficult life events. At NeuroSource we approach trauma from a holistic lens. We look at history, physical health, brainwave patterns, genetics, diet, stress management and sleep habits, body movement, as well as spiritual, social and emotional factors. We help people create the healthiest lifestyle for their unique lives so they can live optimally, not just survive.
Contact us at NeuroSource and ask for our Complimentary New Client EBook where we offer information on how to use Coherent Breathing and other lifestyle modifications that can help those of us healing from trauma. If you are interested in talking about the various ways we help people heal from trauma, contact us for a free consultation.
Lee Ann Foster, MS is a psychologist, Epigenetic Wellness Coach, HeartMath Coach, Psych-K Facilitator, bio and neurofeedback provider, and a childhood trauma survivor. She has used many healing modalities on her own journey and is honored to help survivors find their own unique healing path.