When we experience stress, distress or trauma, our bodies respond with a fight, flight or freeze response. We fight for our lives, we flee to safety, or we freeze until it is over. Our bodies can get stuck in these high levels of arousal, especially when the “danger” is repetitive or traumatic. We learn to live in a ready state to fight, flee or freeze. This “ready state” gets stored in our body and becomes our “new normal.”
Traumatic events can include (but are not limited to):
- abandonment/loss of a loved one
- deprivation or neglect
- abuse – physical, sexual, or verbal
- birth trauma
- natural disasters or catastrophes
When we experience very stressful or traumatic events, whether one time or ongoing, our body’s nervous system stores them and we may experience any of the following as a result:
- constant vigilance and watchfulness
- numbness/being emotionally flat
In order for trauma to be healed, it must be attended to on all levels – body, mind, emotions and spirit.
- The story needs to be told.
- Long buried feelings need to be acknowledged, experienced and released in a safe way, in a safe place.
- Your spiritual beliefs may need attending to as you try to make sense out of what has happened to you and why.
- Your body needs to be released from the hold the trauma has on it. Trauma is stored in the nervous system and equilibrium needs to be restored.
Healing from trauma allows you to finish the incomplete events from your past and release your body from its habitual fight/flight/freeze response. Equilibrium gets restored and inner chaos is replaced with a new inner calm and quiet. You awaken from the habitual shut down and disconnected state you have lived in for so long. You learn to trust yourself and your own inner experience so it feels safe to be in the world. And because of these changes, you get to move forward in your life in a freer, more empowered way.