Beginners Guide to Trauma Healing

BEGINNERS GUIDE TO TRAUMA HEALING

Once upon a time, trauma was associated with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and considered a consequence of only certain extreme events such as war, abuse, natural disasters and so on. More recently, however, therapists have acknowledged that trauma can result from any type of life experience where our physical or emotional safety is in jeopardy. What constitutes threatening can also vary greatly from one individual to another.

When we experience a traumatic event, our brain sometimes keeps the trauma response close to hand in preparation for safety, leading to heightened alertness to potential danger. The amygdala, the brain’s emotional centre, can become overly vigilant, causing false alarms and constant lookout for threats. The hippocampus, responsible for memory, can blur the line between past and present, making traumatic memories feel like they are happening now. This can trigger fight-or-flight responses, even in non-threatening situations which can lead to panic attacks, depression and sometimes the inability to maintain normal routines.

Trauma responses generally fall into four categories: fight (using strength to confront threats), flight (avoiding threats through various coping means like sleeping), freeze (becoming immobile or unable to react) and fawn (appeasing the aggressor). Recognising and addressing these responses is crucial for healing and one of the first steps in the process.

Whilst we can heal from emotional trauma, just as we can from physical injury, some can’t recall traumatic events for many years. They go through life often triggered by situations that they deem threatening, which can put a strain on their relationships and limit confidence and self-esteem, makingsimple everyday situations harder to handle. It’s only when the trauma surfaces that they can pinpoint and take action.

Some of the most common types of traumas include childhood and parental trauma, sexual trauma, relationship trauma and religious trauma. Childhood trauma, stemming from abuse, neglect or stressful environments can result in low self-esteem, a tendency to engage in risky behaviours, addictions and anxiety.

Sexual trauma, including assault and inappropriate behaviour, often leads to PTSD. Relationship trauma from abuse or manipulation impacts self-worth and future relationships causing either isolation or a pattern of continuous relationship-seeking. Religious trauma from manipulative or abusive communities hinders trust and the ability to build new connections.

Since trauma is an emotional response that lasts long after an event occurs, it can cause significant mental and physical stress if avoided. Just like a physical scar from a deep cut takes time to heal, recovery from trauma is important and possible, with time and treatment.

The experts at Kamalaya Koh Samui Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa have highlighted some of the techniques used in trauma healing. However, it is important to acknowledge when professional therapy and help is required.

Acknowledge the eventAfter experiencing trauma, it’s common for us to be reluctant to accept what happened, however ignoring the event will prevent healing and can deny the validation needed. Take the time to revisit the trauma and consider the situation – this will be uncomfortable, but recovery cannot occur without some discomfort.

Learn the triggersA trauma response can catch us off guard, striking when we least expect it. To help prevent such reactions, it’s crucial to understand our trauma triggers and what might set them off. This knowledge will help us better understand and deal with our trauma and help to set healthy boundaries.

Work with the feelingsJournaling is a common way to manage stress and navigate complex emotions. Try to connect with what you’re feeling, allowing yourself to fully experience it for a moment and then notice how it passes.

Physical movementExercise has been shown to improve symptoms of PTSD. It helps with healing and provides our body with feel-good chemicals like endorphins. Take walks, ride a bike, roller skate, do some yoga or dance. Any activity that gets the body moving will aid in the healing process.

Practice self-careSelf-care reduces stress and feels good. Incorporate self-care into the healing journey by regularly engaging in activities that feel loving and nurturing.

Practice mindfulness or meditationMindfulness is a well-proven method to support healing. It involves paying attention to each moment, from thoughts and feelings to physical sensations. This practice can relieve stress and help us reflect and promote a more relaxed and settled self.

Engage in creativity Engaging the brain in creative and artistic activities has been shown to improve both physiological and psychological wellbeing. Creativity can take many forms, such as making music, listening to music, writing poetry, journaling or reading a fiction book.

Accept supportA key step in overcoming trauma is the willingness to heal and accept help and support. The healing journey might be solitary or involve community support or individual therapy. Regardless of the path, accepting support increases the chances of a successful recovery. This support can come from loved ones, support groups, therapists and specialised retreats. The important thing is to be open to receiving help.

Begin a transformative journey of self-discovery with Kamalaya Koh Samui’s Embracing Change & Emotional Harmony wellness program, designed for emotional support and life change management.

Life Enhancement Mentors will guide you as you explore your inner life and emotional patterns. Through self-compassion, acquire practical tools to navigate emotionally challenging circumstances and restore inner balance and ease. The retreat offers the perfect support to overcome negative habits, address past trauma and find fulfilment in relationships with yourself and others.

BOOK EMBRACING CHANGE PROGRAM

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Embark on a journey of self discovery as you work with our Life Enhancement Mentors to explore your inner life and emotional patterns.

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