Emotional or physiological trauma is an event that leaves you feeling unsafe, overwhelmed or highly anxious. It can be a one-time ordeal such as a fatal car accident, a home invasion, *rape, or assault. Or it can be an ongoing situation like child abuse, **domestic violence, bullying or neglect. Whatever the source, trauma can thoroughly shake you and everything you believe is right, including your trust in the world around you or even higher power.
How Trauma Affects Your Mind & Body
Experiencing trauma can have far-reaching consequences that strain you mentally, physically and spiritually. Your entire nervous system is essentially hijacked by what happened and you can end up living in survival mode. A brain-body crisis erupts and your mind is constantly trying to protect you from real or perceived threats.
Unresolved Trauma Causes Problems
Ignoring trauma can create additional problems. Feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, and confusion can lead to destructive manifestations such as addictions, depression, and withdrawal. Unhealed trauma can show up as headaches, muscle tension, diarrhea, trouble focusing, sleep issues and chronic fatigue.
Without going through the healing process, trauma can affect the quality of your life, relationships, and job. Not only is your mental and physical health disrupted, but it also takes a toll on your spiritual energy.
Calling Your Spiritual Energy Back
When your spiritual development is hampered by unresolved trauma, you may experience feelings of emptiness. You may feel disconnected from yourself, from loved ones and even from specific things such as your creativity or sense of humor. Some may refer to these feelings as being “numb.” But through meditation, breathwork, Reiki and yoga, you can re-energize your spiritual self while healing your past trauma.
Meditation creates space between the disturbing incident and your emotions. Over time, practices like transcendental meditation help your mind process the event while training your nervous system to relax. During this state of calmness, your brain rewires your reaction to triggers and the old trauma loses its emotional charge. Ultimately, stillness helps free your mind from the restrictions and fight or flight responses it has created to protect itself.
If your trauma stems from childhood, this is an excellent time to focus on your inner child. You can start by acknowledging what he/she went through. Embark on this journey by opening a dialog with your unhealed child and listening to what he/she is missing or needing now.
The Science of Healing Spiritually
Science has steadily accepted what healers, shamans, Reiki masters and other spiritual-minded people have known since ancient times: Everyone and everything is energy. Traumatic events can diminish your personal energy. Healing spiritually from trauma allows you to call back lost energy, helping you feel whole again. Medicine, science and spirituality work together to treat people whose lives were altered by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Military men and women are probably not the first people you’d expect to use spiritual healing to improve PTSD. However, studies have shown that veterans can benefit mentally from combining their therapy with meditation, breathwork and yoga. In one study, a marked reduction of PTSD symptoms in veterans who used these alternative therapies was noted .
Hitting Your Spiritual Reset Button
Traditional talk therapy has its place in healing old wounds but if you’ve been traumatized, talking about the situation is often the same as reliving it. Choosing to work through your triggers and trauma by practicing meditation, breathwork and other mind-body healing techniques gives your overactive mind a chance to shut down. It’s like hitting the reset button. Your mind is restructuring itself during this time, allowing you a new perspective on both new and old trauma. The healing process will better equip you to deal with emotional issues, stressful events, and even traumatic events as you move forward.
*The #metoo movement has made great strides in opening up the difficult conversation about sex crimes. If you are a victim of sexual violence (assault, abuse, rape), help is available.
**If you are actively living in a violent, domestic situation, there is help. If you can do so safely, call 911 or reach out to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline for resources, support and a plan to safely leave your abuser.
- Herron RE, Rees B. The Transcendental Meditation Program’s Impact on the Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder of Veterans: An Uncontrolled Pilot Study. Mil Med. 2018 Jan 1;183(1-2):e144-e150. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usx059. PMID: 29401353. Accessed January 25, 2022: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29401353/