Healing Trauma – Unhook From Its Tyranny

Healing Trauma – Unhook From Its Tyranny

Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives ~ Akshay Dubey


The experiences of trauma are wide-ranging and include any event that threatens emotional, mental or physical well-being. Globally, exposure to the terror and violence of war, displacement as an immigrant, or being the victim of a natural disaster are commonplace events that can generate traumatic imprints. Personally, abuse or neglect, the sudden death of a loved one, breakup of your relationship, a deeply shaming experience, a life-threatening illness or sudden disability, or a car accident can cause trauma that can shatter your trust and inhibit joy in life.


Trauma happens without warning and leaves you unprepared to deal with it. There is a feeling of powerlessness, shame and vulnerability that accompanies the experience because it could not be prevented.


Unhealed traumatic events can control and sabotage your life long after the trauma-inducing event is over (especially if it happened in childhood). The aftermath of unresolved trauma can shape a life built on coping strategies rather than wholehearted living.

The natural desire (conscious or unconscious) to suppress or ignore the pain and suffering of trauma and want it to simply disappear does not make it go away. Its effects show up in your behaviours that can include anger, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, being fearful, anxious or reactive and always being on ‘high alert’, or withdrawing from others. Sometimes, the suppressed trauma can surface in nightmares or flashbacks of the event.

Unresolved trauma can be at the core of depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, eating and sleep disorders, or suicidal behaviour and thoughts. Physically, trauma can even be linked to chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes as well as liver and kidney dysfunction.


 Healing Trauma

Choosing to heal the effects of any trauma begins by acknowledging it, reconnecting with and releasing the trapped emotions that may have been put away for many years and then learning how to refocus your life beyond the experience that has been holding you back.


Here are some pro-active behaviours that help release the debilitating hold trauma can have on your life:

  • Open to your feelings and meet them with compassion, curiosity and non-judgment; notice any body sensations attached to these emotions and focus on softening and soothing those areas of the body.
  • Use Breathwork to release emotions safely and to do so in a loving and supportive environment
  • Practice breathing techniques such as taking 20 mindful slow breath cycles to quiet anxiety when it surfaces; use calming essential oils to soothe and reset the fight or flight responses of the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Create movement to release frozen or hyper-alert states of anxiety and stress and to reconnect with your body: exercise – walk, run, swim and be aware of your body as you do
  • Avoid too much isolation; reach out for help if it feels safe to do so; join help groups; participate in social activities; make new friends
  • Engage in self-care – get sufficient rest and relaxation and eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Focus on inner, loving self-compassion and non-judgment– one such technique is an indigenous practice of deep listening called Dadirri
  • Seek help from a professional for deeper trauma such as PTSD


The Potential for Growth

A new field of psychological study called post traumatic growth identifies five main areas of personal growth that can result from healing trauma:

  • Appreciation for life
  • Improved and more authentic relationships with others
  • Increased confidence and ability to handle challenges
  • New perspectives of possibilities in life
  • Spiritual exploration and quests to understand life at a deeper level



Working through trauma takes courage and persistence but the potential for personal growth can be one of its most surprising outcomes. Trauma can be a way to shake up and challenge your current trajectory in life. Such adversity can inspire you to find the resilience and strength to make necessary life changes you might otherwise avoid.


Golden heart - clipping path

Speaking of his personal transformation after suffering a stroke, Ram Dass said,

The stroke was giving me lessons, advanced lessons. It brought me into my soul, and that’s grace. Fierce grace.”


Recommended Further reading:


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