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Help Yourself

How Trauma May Show Up In Life & How To Help Yourself Heal

By Diversity in Health Training Institute

What is Trauma ?

Trauma is when your body or your mind react to memories of painful experiences in the past. These experiences are called “traumatic experiences”. Some examples of traumatic experiences are, domestic violence, racism, bullying, sexual abuse , war, etc.

Traumatic experiences can happen just once or multiple times. People with many experiences of violence (or danger) have higher risk of serious reactions.

How does trauma show up?

Trauma works on everyone differently. It can change our minds and our bodies. It can mess up our relationships. It can lower our ability to control our emotions. Trauma brings up the stress level. Sometimes past trauma can change us in ways that we cannot see. For example, we may feel tired a lot. Or, we may feel shy around new people which may be the result of traumatic experiences in our past.

Ways trauma affect the mind:

  • Your stress level may go up,
  • You experience upsetting emotions, anxiety or depression ,
  • You are not able to focus,
  • You feel tired, upset, distracted,
  • You feel detached and/or very sensitive,
  • You do not want to talk to people,
  • You have flashbacks of the painful event.

Ways trauma affect the body:

Trauma can cause tension, headaches, pain, fast heart rate, discomfort, fatigue , stomach pain, diabetes, high blood pressure and many long-lasting illnesses.

Traumatic triggers:

A trigger is a reminder of past events. Anything can be a trigger—for example, a birthday, a holiday, family pictures, or even a smell can bring back painful memories. If we learn to face what bring back these memories, we will be able to lower the impact of triggers.

Grounding Practices:

When we remember the painful memory, we hold stress in our bodies. It is important to release stress by finding ways to feel our bodies in the present moment. This is called “mindfulness”. Mindfulness reminds us that we are safe.

Here are some tips to practice mindfulness:

  • Try some of these techniques,
  • Breathe deeply or try meditation,
  • Find time to walk and move your body,
  • Feel your body—try taking a couple seconds to feel your feet on the ground,
  • Connect with people that make you feel safe and supported.

Long-Term Practices That Can Help Us Heal: