by Allyson Stephens, MSW
“All emotional experiences begin a physiological process in your body. For every act, emotion, and expression of love, self-love, self-forgiveness, and forgiveness towards another, your body reengages towards another physiological process, closer to its original process, its healthiest process.”
–Dr. Ameet Aggarwal ND
Trauma Symptoms and How to Cope With Them
Physical mental health is something that is not truly understood in the mental health field by a lot of practitioners. Trauma creates memories that sometimes our brain protects us from and that sits in our bodies if never recovered. Many people don’t even realize a trauma has occurred, and this causes our brain to react subconsciously, consciously, or unconsciously to any perceived threat. The effects of these experiences impact our physical health without us understanding what is exactly going on. When going through a trauma something is created in our bodies called, “Emotional Holding Patterns.” This is where your mind and body remain affected and are continuing to respond to emotional experiences as if they are still happening, even if they have stopped.
What is something that can help us cope with this? Therapy is always a good way to deal with unresolved traumas. Another way is to build emotional resilience by journaling what went well the previous day, what you are grateful for, letting yourself heal from trauma by creating I-statements (“It is safe to feel this way and let myself recover”), setting positive intentions for your changed behavior over the next few months. Another way of coping through the intense feelings you may have is, “Emotional Freedom Technique.”
What is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)?
Developed by Gary Craig, EFT is a useful tool when you feel dysregulated. It helps the feeling to slowly diminish until it disappears. You state how you are feeling and acknowledge the feeling. For example, “My boyfriend didn’t do the dishes like he said he would and now I feel angry.” Another important part is to state, “I accept this feeling.” You can say, “I completely accept myself and this feeling.” It all depends on where you are mentally. You then will start the tapping process. You are going to hit all the acupuncture points to help you feel relief.
- Top of Head (Tp)
- Beginning of the Eyebrow (EB)
- Side of Eye (SE)
- Under the Eye (UE)
- Under the Nose (UN)
- Chin (Ch)
- Beginning of Collarbone (CB)
- Under the Arm (UA)
- Below the Nipple (BN)
- Thumb (Th)
- Index Finger (IF)
- Middle Finger (MF)
- Outside ring finger (OR)
- Baby Finger (BF)
- Karate Chop Point (KC)
You can do these for about ten seconds at each tapping point. You may need to do it once or several times. I would recommend seeing a therapist to help with learning these skills, and begin to talk about your feelings in a safe environment. Education is important and you are not alone if you are experiencing physical symptoms related to mental health.