Updated: Mar 15, 2020
The body has its own wisdom and ways of knowing, separate and distinct from that of the mind. The mind thinks while the body feels. From each of these ways of knowing we get valuable information. Just as seeing and hearing are two totally distinct senses which supply us with discrete sensations, so too the body gives us different feedback than the mind. Our bodies have a special and unique relationship with the vibrating matrix of our reality, one which we can learn to tap into and be informed from.
Emotional trauma can cause long-lasting brain changes that may lead to addiction, depression, and a host of other concerns that can devastate lives if left untreated. When traumatic events occur, it can take a significant amount of time to get over the memories, the emotions, and the feeling of just not being able to feel safe.
PTSD Symptoms and Health Problems
The symptoms of trauma can manifest both physically and mentally. The mind is, after all, part of the body. Our brain can impact our response to pain, our ability to heal, and our ability to feel rested and refreshed. Issues like depression or anxiety may prevent us from eating healthy meals or keeping healthy schedules. In some cases, people try to feel better the best way they know how, and they may attempt the temporary “fix” of drug or alcohol use.
Some physical symptoms include the following:
Night terrors and insomnia, which lead to fatigue and difficulty concentrating
Agitation and anxiety, especially in unfamiliar places
Having an extreme startle reflex, this could result in rage or further withdrawing
Withdrawing from social situations, or even personal relationships
Anger, rage, and mood swings
Feelings of being numb or otherwise disconnected from reality and those around you
Aches and pains that have no other explanation
Racing heart, high blood pressure, and diabetics may find their blood sugar levels difficult to control
Chronic health conditions related to stress
PTSD often includes realistic flashbacks that intrude on your day-to-day life. This often leads sufferers towards substance abuse as a method of coping. Often seen in veterans, PTSD can also affect anyone who has undergone an extreme emotional and psychological event.
Androstenedione and testosterone, hormones that stimulate libido, were three to five times higher than normal. When stressed, they produced less of the primary stress hormone cortisol, as their bodies had learned to adapt to ongoing stress. They had high levels of obesity, major illness, depression, dissociation, and self-mutilation.
Our brains are constantly building new neural pathways, a process known as “neurogenesis.” When we’re learning to play the oboe, improve our golf swing, court a new lover, or learn French, this works to our advantage. We build new neural capacity as we practice, and we quickly improve our abilities.
Yet there’s a dark side to neurogenesis. When we’re chronically stressed, we increase the signaling capabilities of the neural circuits that carry those signals, at the expense of healthy brain function. In people suffering from PTSD, the parts of the brain responsible for activating the stress response become more efficient, while brain structures that handle memory, learning, and cognitive processing actually shrink (Vasterling & Brewin, 2005).
Here's the problem: We may not be aware that our body responses to threat remain activated even after the threat has vanished. This is because the threat pulls our attention toward it and away from the body. In a survival situation, you may not even notice the pain and fatigue from exertion, wounds, etc. until you reach relative safety.
What is your body trying to tell you?
Mind Symptoms of PTSD
You experienced painful emotional or physical trauma in your family growing up.
You’ve suffered emotional or physical trauma in one or more of your relationships.
There has been an event in your life in which you’ve been threatened with such serious physical or emotional harm that it would be out of the range of what we consider normal life experience.
Some examples might be living through war, witnessing an accident with loss of life or limb, experiencing rape or incest, or seeing your children suffer abuse.
Whatever the trauma you’ve experienced, you tend to have “repeat performances” of this painful pattern in one relationship after another, one job after another, and so on. The painful pattern seems to replay over and over in your life like the movie Groundhog Day.
You have thought patterns of terror, fright, panic, and edginess.
You have a feeling that you might be hurt or harmed, or that someone might reject or criticise you.
You believe you won’t get the help you need.
You feel you’re incompetent to change the situation.
You feel like you’re going crazy.
Body Symptoms of PTSD
In addition to the symptoms in the previous section, you may have these:
Trembling and shaking
Hot flashes and cold chills
Numbness and tingling
Nausea or a sick feeling in your stomach
Pressure in your chest
A pounding heart
Shortness of breath
A lump in your throat
Dizziness and vertigo
Feeling like you’re “out of your body”
Feeling like you’re dying
You’ll find that trauma can rewire the brain, and if the above descriptions sound familiar to you, read on. You will have a whole host of solutions you can use with your health care team to create physical relief and emotional serenity.
I have included a meditation by Louise Hay specifically about PTSD and body wisdom. If you would like an audio recording of this meditation then please click the link below and you can download the mediation for you to listen at any time, any where.
Inner Child Work Meditation
See your inner child. Notice how the little child looks and feels. Comfort your child.
You might apologize to your little one for having neglected it for so long and only berated it and scolded it in the past.
But now you can promise your inner child that from now on, you will always be there for it, you will never leave it alone, and whenever this child wants your comfort or advice or playtime with you, you will always be there.
You acknowledge that this relationship with your inner child is one of the most important in your life.
Tell your child how much you treasure it. Build its self-esteem and self-worth with praise.
See your child relaxed, safe, peaceful, enjoying itself, laughing, happy, playing with friends, and running free. Enjoying everything it does, school, studying, being creative, sharing with others, touching a flower, hugging a tree, picking a piece of fruit, eating with delight, playing with a puppy or a kitten, or swinging a swing high above, laughing with joy, running up to you, giving you a big hug.
See the two of you, healthy, living in a beautiful, safe place, having wonderful relationships, parents, friends, co-workers, being greeted with joy wherever you go. Having a special kind of love with a special person.
Now visualize the teenager within you, being comforted as it moves through the bewildering time of puberty that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood, building its self-esteem and self-worth.
Visualize the adult in you now with love and congratulate yourself for having come this far. You were always doing the best you could at any point in time and space.
Build your own self-esteem and self-worth. The love and acceptance you have for yourself now will make it easy to move in the next level of self-love.
You are very powerful. You have the power within you to help create the kind of world you want all of us to live in.
Louise also offers Affirmations for PTSD:
I am harmless to others and others are harmless to me. I feel safe with the young and with the old.
I feel safe with those who are like me and those who are different from me.
I feel safe with animals, I feel relaxed with animals, I live in harmony with all animals.
The weather is my friend. I am in harmony with all of life—the sun, the moon, the winds and the rain and the earth and the movement of the earth. I am at peace with the elements. I am always comfortable in any weather. My body adjusts to the outer temperature. I am at ease.
I have also learned to be tranquil. In the midst of chaos, I can be tranquil. Tranquility is inner peace.
I practice being peaceful when others are agitated. I do not have to buy into people’s agitation.
For me, peace of mind and loving myself is the most important state I can experience.
By changing my thoughts, I now create peace in my world.
Peace replaces fear, terror is replaced by tranquility, scariness becomes serenity, uncertainty becomes confidence.
Love replaces hate. Repression makes for freedom. I bless all people with love, I surround the planet with love.
I have a new digital course coming out soon all about how to recovery from PTSD is called BREAK THE CYCLE. In the third section I talk all about body wisdom and how the body will ell you exactly what is wrong. It is something that we should all learn to listen to and trust.
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