Become a Student of Healing and Build Reliable Resources to Navigate life with Trauma

In case you missed Part I of this II-part series, click here.

Over time you developed survival resources to help you cope and protect yourself when you were over-exposed to trauma and traumatic events.  Our nervous system needs support to increase resilience and to help reduce the frequency of big cycles and waves from hyper to hypo aroused states. We can also learn to nurture the emotions that arise on a daily basis to help us feel stable and centered. I have written some resourceful examples to help stimulate some ideas that you may find helpful and enjoy exploring.

  • Begin an exercise program that you enjoy. Somatic yoga, mindful strength training, regular walks in a place in nature where you can feel safe and grounded. Choose something that will support a move towards balancing the nervous system.  If you are hyper-aroused, agitated, and anxious choose something that can help ground and calm the system. Know the difference between calm and true calm. True calm is attentive and actively calming. The opposite can sometimes be a more spaced-out clam, which is more passive and can sometimes be more of an escape than a resource. It is helpful to bear this in mind if you feel dissociated after hyperarousal, especially when you maybe choose to do a mediation practice.  It can actually take you further out and away from your body, choosing a practice that is intentional and guiding you to a grounded, calming feeling. Hypo arousal will follow a hyper-aroused state as your body begins to tire from the overstimulation. Choosing a somatic guided practice that adds just enough effort to support, lift and invite your body home to feel safe and embodied. Sometimes making sounds and noises can calm the nervous system in subtle ways. A ‘who’ or ‘Voo’ sound with a long exhale is simple and effective. Don’t forget to make some noise. Claim your palace in the world.. Yoga poses with a ‘ ha’  sound with the woodchopper pose are great to help release anger and can bring you back to the present moment. It may even help release other stuck energy and emotions.
  • Begin an intentional/functional meditation practice geared towards cultivating what is specific to your needs. I personally used this practice to feel ok with building strength, in particular a calm strength. I had such a fear of feeling strong. I grew up believing that to be strong was dangerous and through my regular meditation to cultivate calm strength, I began to feel safe enough to actually begin a mindful strength training program. To feel comfortable with my own strengths both physically and mentally. I found that strengthening my body worked wonders for building self-confidence and strangely to me it felt grounding. Never be afraid to explore and sometimes it’s good to let your intuition guide you. Even if it seems like the opposite of what you think should be done. No matter what you do, always bring to a somatic level of feeling how you feel before and after the activity and take time to take it in at a conscious level.
  • I recommend building awareness around getting to know you and your inner critic and possibly your outer critic too. Pete Walker strongly supports this and writes in detail about this and I agree from both a practitioner and survivor’s perspective. I have referenced his book in the appendix below and it in itself is a great resource. The inner critic will dismantle your attempts to move forward and will continue to stunt your growth. Learning to manage your critic is not just a helpful resource but a vital one. Accompanied by cultivating good experiences and absorbing those experiences deep into your soma. Even if it is just drinking a warm cup of your favorite tea. Take time to notice the good things that you enjoy, the more you can get to know you the easier it is to identify when the critics show up and try to spoil your experiences.
  • Build somatic intelligence and increase your emotional vocabulary and literacy. I have found this to be very helpful for my clients. Sometimes we just don’t have words to describe our feelings and bodily sensations. Building the ability to explore and connect with words, feelings, and sensations relating to the emotional memories trapped in our bodies can provide a great sense of relief. It helps to rebuild trust with yourself and a quality of resonance that can help reassure you when things feel right or wrong, physically emotionally, and mentally.
  • Learning relaxation techniques to activate the parasympathetic nervous system is also very beneficial especially techniques associated with building vagal tone. This will help to deactivate the sympathetic nervous system, which is associated with our fight, flight, and freeze response and our hyper and hypo arousal states.
  • Establish a baseline of core values that work in line with who you are as an adult today, again getting to know and build yourself on a foundation that feels true and solid for you.
  • Challenge core beliefs that may be limiting your ability to progress and unchain the beliefs learned through traumatic events that are out of date and in need of questioning. Allow these to guide your way and enjoy setting new and healthier boundaries.
  • Who am I? Is a big question to ask yourself. Be patient and kind and know that it is normal to feel a wave of both deep sadness, grief, and joy when exploring this… connecting with the you-ness of you. Knowing that even with the existence of trauma there is still room for you to start reclaiming your place and who you are. We move away from fixing broken parts, this can be exhausting and can be a continuous drain on you mentally physically, and emotionally. Move towards cultivating new resources that can support you to both life and heal. That you can place a firm foot on to help grow as you are, who you are. Letting in the good, cultivating self-compassion, understanding yourself, and connecting with your innate value and self-worth, and learning to truly embody these states.
  • Reparenting techniques and inner child nurturance are such an empowering resource. Knowing how to recognize and what to do when your inner child is looking for attention, reassurance and is maybe feeling terrified. Your inner child can hold you, prisoner, in tight bandages of fear and terror and suppressed anger and emotions. Working with your inner child and as Pete Walker writes learn to re-mother or re-father yourself.  Be the parent you wished you had and show up for your inner child. This a powerful resource I have witnessed this both personally and as a trauma-trained practitioner and somatic attuned healer.

Developing resources to help you live with trauma, to navigate life, and your exposure to different environments and experiences. Building a personal awareness, recognizing when trauma mode is rising, and maybe even taking over. This supports a greater sense of personal agency and control of our physical sensations, emotional response, and thoughts that may arise around different people and in different environments. I encourage my clients to adopt the approach that we become lifelong students of our own healing. There is no straight path and there are many helpful paths and always move in the direction of what is stabilizing and what feels good as a whole. Yes, there are challenges along the way, and developing useful resources will help to support you, ground you, relax you and guide you during those times.

Enjoy exploring your resources and pack your bag with good things, you are worth your care and attention. Pay attention to your attention and move in a direction of wise effort.

Love to All

Roseanne

 

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