The #1 Way to Heal Trauma 🧠
Learn the first step you should take when healing from trauma.
What is Trauma?
Trauma & the Brain
The Mind, Brain & Body
Trauma & Brain Inflammation
Self Commitment & Mini Goals
How to Find Your Reason Why
“Journal it out,” “follow these writing prompts,” “identify those unhealthy patterns,” “start creating art,”
There are many methods to release trauma. The problem is a lot of us never keep doing them long enough to heal…
Over time our deep-routed subconscious patterns slip back in and deliver us more of the same.
In this week’s Heroes Digest, we will focus on the first two steps to take!
Living with Trauma
For those who don’t know what it’s like to live with trauma, it’s kind of like…
Looking through a time machine while breathing through a straw.
What I mean is that in some way, developmentally or subconsciously, trauma fragments us.
It leaves pieces of us stuck in the past.
It shortens our breathing, locks us into absolutes like “always/never”, and causes many things to be over-stimulating.
Everything becomes about survival. We are always on edge, all bridges burnable, every human untrustable…
If you’d like to know more about what “trauma” is, check out our recent Neuroscience of Trauma Blog!
Trauma & the Brain
Trauma leaves developmental holes within the brain preventing full top-down control by the prefrontal cortex portion of our brain.
Resulting in impulsivity, difficulty focusing or following instructions, and in a lot of cases oral fixations like chewing on pens, smoking, or juuling.
Trauma also shifts our window of tolerance for processing stress, specifically our fight/flight/freeze system.
Think of this window of tolerance as a balance scale that causes a response when it hits the red line.
The items stacking up on the scale can be thought of as sensory inputs or events which then trigger or initiate a fight/flight/freeze response when the scale reaches the red line.
Before trauma, your brain was like the right side of the scale, it could tolerate more weight or sensory input before causing a flight/fight/freeze response. (Normal reactivity).
After trauma, your brain is like the left side of the scale, with low tolerance, and high reactivity.
Meaning regulating emotions is harder, breathing becomes shorter, and reactions become more visceral (or we get so overstimulated, all we feel is exhaustion).
Mind Brain Body
Everyone's subjective experience of trauma is different, even the physical parts of the body involved in processing the trauma can be different in each person.
But what does hold true for everyone is that the body and the brain are always involved in the processing and storing of trauma, whether or not our mind is actively thinking of that trauma.
We could consciously feel totally healed when really the mind has sent the trauma to the body and brain to block out.
Trauma & Brain Inflammation
Unprocessed or released trauma can cause inflammation in the brain and the body.
And the unhealed mind can subconsciously filter new information through a threatened point of view associated with the traumatic experience.
Imagine going through life wearing glasses that make every situation or interaction with someone else life or death.
This can cause increased stress on the brain and body also resulting in inflammation.
Meaning a combination of healing methods is often the best approach.
Yes, I Am Pulling Out the Iceberg Photo
Unhealed trauma functions underneath the surface, at all levels of your being.
And therefore methods should be applied to release it at all levels of your being, meaning your mind, brain, and body.
The first step in this healing is self-commitment!
Self Commitment & A Goal
We would like you to commit here and now.
Out loud, written on a piece of paper, or in a drawing, that you are ready to love and heal yourself!
Next, pick a small action you can take every day to begin to train your brain that you can care for your body.
This could be going for a walk each day, a skincare routine, or a sport you like to play.
Likely there is something that popped into your mind when you read that last sentence, something your trauma has been keeping you from doing for a long time…
Pick that thing or pick a baby step toward that thing!
Taking things in baby steps helps build momentum and self-confidence.
This also creates more unity and alignment between your conscious and subconscious mind, as well as your mind and body.
We want to set these goals smaller at first and to ensure they are achievable (We are looking for WINs here).
This is because, a lot of times, when we are recovering from trauma, we are functioning with a symptomatic illness (like depression or anxiety) which can make it harder to get even the little things done.
Other times, we have a family or are people pleasers so we continually put others first making it harder to accomplish goals for ourselves.
Take it slowly at first, week by week (and if you want something more intensive or just can’t think of a small goal feel free to reach out to us here).
So start by committing to yourself your healing intentions.
Again typically writing them down somewhere you can see is best.
Or writing out the emotions you will feel when you are healed or representing the commitment with an image.
Whatever feels right to you when setting this intention to heal and love yourself.
Pick A Small Goal
Once you’ve got an intention, it’s time to pick a small goal & create a sense of urgency around the commitment/goal so that it fits into your daily routine.
You can do this by setting a reward for yourself every two weeks, by setting daily deadlines for self-care (like do it all before 9:00am: your brain is most on your team in the first 8 hours of the day).
If you are in a really low place make a self-care action the only thing you have to do for the day for the next few days.
Achieving small wins builds up self-trust, credibility, and reliability which is what that little kid inside of you has wanted all along!
Finding a Reason Why
Now the last thing I want to have you do today is going find a picture of baby you, it can be you as a child, you as a teenager, it can be a drawing of a younger you or anything precious to you that symbolizes you as a child…
Find that picture and put it in your wallet or your purse or save it to your phone and any time you are wondering what you are doing all of this for, or why you even try — just look at that picture.
That’s who it's for!
The kid who could be anyone, and do anything! For the kid who missed out…
That's who it’s for.
Good luck, & until next time… Live Heroically! 🧠