Trauma and the nervous system

Trauma and the nervous system

Trauma can change the nervous system so that your ability to create and sustain relationships is altered.

This change can lead to a belief that love and connections aren’t safe, and you may find it hard to trust others, and you may withdraw or avoid people.

However, when love and connection is missing from our life you may carry distress in your nervous system, where survival responses are chronically activated. You can get stuck in anxiety, agitation, or freeze and shut down mode for long periods of time.

We continuously receive messages from our culture, and from social media posts that encourage autonomy and independence, and this can cause shame for a traumatized person, for having a healthy need to connect with others, especially when facing adversities, making them believe that they have to go through hard times alone.

We get hurt alone, but we heal together. It is biologically essential to connect with others and to co-regulate with others through nurturing relationships.

Comments like “you need to be happy on your own first,” are particularly harmful. Loneliness brings pain. Loneliness increases pain and loneliness increases physical illness and psychological pain.. Loneliness increases heart disease, weakens the immune system, and increases the prevalence of depression.

Similarly, messages to “not be needy” causes social disconnection, we are all needy sometimes, and we are all in a position to hold space and to be present for someone who is needy at other times, even if those times last for years, and there is no shame in that, it is human nature. Social disconnection and social exclusion, and cancel culture activates the same pathways as experiencing physical injury. The need for connection does NOT make you needy, it is part of being human, and this connection is even more important in times of stress.

A nurturing relationship is probably the most powerful form of nervous system regulation that there is. Co-regulation is a powerful antidote to distress, and it can shift your nervous system from activation back to “rest and digest”. which is a state of ease and calm.

Being a co-regulator for another person is one of the greatest gifts you can give, having people in your life who help shift your nervous system out of survival mode will improve you mental emotional and physical wellbeing.

What about when you are already in survival mode? You can do things like visit a park, or another place where people are such as a museum or a classical concert, or a yoga or meditation class ( in person) Take a walk where other people are. Take a real time class with other people, even if it is online, but even better, in person. You can reach out to others, call a friend, visit your community center or the library. You can visit someone you trust, or you can work with a therapist.

You have the power to heal your life, and you need to know that. 

Louise Hay

Mental Health and Wellness

SERENITY TRAUMA HEALING CENTER

Whether you are seeking treatment for trauma, including addiction, abuse, anxiety, depression, PTSD or other significant challenges, you can have confidence in your choice, as we provide evidence-based trauma healing services with an individual experience for each client.

These include various forms of trauma psychotherapy chosen and tailored to each person’s unique needs.

Traumatic experiences, including a single life-threatening event or recurring trauma, can have a lasting impact with negative effects on your life long after the threat is gone.

Anna Back is a Licensed Acupuncturist, and Mental health specialist at the most comprehensive mind/body treatment center in Malibu.

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