Dr. Peter Levine, a trauma expert explains trauma in the following way, “It is how we respond to a traumatic event that determines whether trauma will be a cruel and punishing Medusa turning us into stone, or whether it will be a spiritual teacher taking us along vast and uncharted pathways.”
And while you may not realize it, we have all been through trauma. Whether it was your parents divorcing, watching a horrific event on television, the effects of 911, or even something like a bad breakup, trauma can come in several forms and several depths. Depending on how deep the specific trauma was, you will have to go through several steps to heal from the trauma.
Part of what prevents us from being able to move past our trauma is when we don’t fully face it. When we run from our trauma, we become emotionally stuck. We end up limited due to what happened to us, because we no longer control our emotional state, it controls us. We get stuck in a cycle, and that cycle never ends.
However, there is a way to stop this cycle, according to Psychology Today, we have to work with our body. We must begin to grow more mindful and to do this, you could practice mindfulness techniques. Try this one:
Find 5 things to see.
Find 5 things you can hear.
And wiggle 5 body parts.
Do this one time a day for a week, then the next week try it a few times. It will take you out of fight or flight, and if you try it before therapy, you may benefit more from your therapy. While it sounds simple, you are bringing the mind-body connection, and causing your body to pull out of the traumatic response.
You can also try this one: when we are anxious from our traumas, and thinking about them, our body becomes hunched. Unhunch yourself, and stand up straight. Breathe deeply in and out. Now, in your calmer state of mind, you can process the traumatic thought and think about it. If you become upset bring yourself back to center and try again.
While it will take time, practicing these exercises will help immensely with trauma and anxiety.