by Leora Katranski
Stress is natural and inevitable, but trauma can take you to a much darker place. The good news is there are techniques to assist you in managing trauma.
Stress is your body’s way of reacting to a perceived threat.
Thousands of years ago our bodies perceived stress as a threat to our survival. Think of yourself in front of a hungry bear coming out of its winter hibernation. You are not going to want to hang around.
In order to protect ourselves, our nervous system kicks into action as a subconscious primitive response for protection by increasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. The perception of our situation activates our fight/flight response, which increases blood flow to our limbs to either protect ourselves or to get the heck out of there.
In today’s world most of us are not encountering the bear as a threat but rather the threat feels like anything you are coming up against like a demanding job, personality clashes, deadlines, bullying, feeling the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Your body reacts to stress in the same way as it would seeing that hungry bear up close.
Asides from stress, trauma can be a deeply worrying or disturbing experience. There are five major traumas that one may experience in one’s life which will magnify stress:
death of a loved one
loss of a job
If you experience one or several of these it may feel like life has pulled the rug out from under you.
So what can you do about it?
1. Acknowledge openly and profoundly what you are experiencing. Look the stress in the eye, define it, write about it, speak about it, but most of all acknowledge “I am feeling …”
2. Sit with it. Harder said than done, but try. By nature, we want to stop and diffuse pain. Pain is Nature’s way of saying something isn’t right, something has to change. It is also Nature’s gift, but here’s the trick —you’ve got to sit with the pain. It is part of your story —so you need to understand its inherent message.
3. Feel where the trauma is sitting in your body. For physical or emotional trauma, it may be in an area not related to where you instinctively think it should be. For example, when you sit with your sadness you may feel its effects in your stomach or your neck pain may stem from your solar plexus.
4. Read up on the metaphysical meaning of your pain. The solar plexus relates to loss of personal power. Look at where and how this relates to what is going on in your life. Make meaning of this. The meaning you make is the gateway to release.
5. Be kind to yourself. Put yourself first even if it’s in the subtlest of ways, like not answering a call you may have felt obliged to take or taking time for a walk each day. It doesn’t matter what you do. As long as you consciously do something, you will know that you are prioritising you.
6. Allow yourself to be vulnerable because trauma is isolating. Move like the willow tree that sways in the storm rather than the oak tree that stands steadfast and then is uprooted. Dance with life. Today’s dance maybe be an avant garde solo, but next month maybe a sexy tango.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
Leora Katranski, Dip Kin, ICPKP Post Grad Dip Kinesiopractic®, professional kinesiology consultant / Kinesiopractor®, member of AIK Ltd (registered professional), practises in Elsternwick and Moorabbin, Victoria.
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