Trauma is typically talked about as memories that have happened in the past. Stories that the mind remembers and seems to just stay there. However, trauma exists beyond the mind; it resides in the fibers of our being and leaves an impact on our bodies.
When the brain perceives a threat, the body responds by releasing the stress hormones like cortisol. We quickly shift to the flight,fight,freeze part of our brain so that we can survive. This is a good thing that our body does to keep us safe. When we experience a traumatic event our body goes into this survival state, the issue is when our bodies never feel safe enough to come back out of it. This heightened state becomes the new normal and creates new neural pathways in the brain leading to conditions like PTSD or anxiety. We get stuck in the survival, even though we are safe now our body still believes we are in danger.
Having this much cortisol running in our body is going to start having negative effects on us. Think about being tense all the time, think how that would impact your shoulders, your neck muscles, your appetite, your energy. You're entire nervous systems would become dysregulated. Trauma lodges itself in the muscles, creating physical tension and chronic pain. The body becomes a storage for unexpressed emotions, manifesting in symptoms like headaches and gut issues.
Understanding the dance between trauma and our bodies is so important, to be able to hear what our bodies might be trying to tell us. Trauma informed approaches like EMDR and therapies like somatic experiencing and mindfulness all recognize this connection. To acknowledge this,
allows us to reclaim power over our bodies and begin a journey toward healing.