Trauma in your Body

Often, when we think about experiencing something traumatic, we think about a memory and that memory would be stored in our brain. Did you know your body can also react to the trauma too? It happens differently for each person as well.

The systems in our brains that are affected by trauma also control a lot of other aspects of our body. When the brain is triggered by a traumatic event and/or memory those systems jump into action and the body reacts. You may have heard of experience that “fight or flight” response. Your body can’t tell the difference between the physical or emotional danger. If a memory brings up a feeling of a danger, then your body will believe it is in physical danger. That could bring a range of body reactions depending on the person.

Here are ways that trauma shows up in the body:

  • Aches and pains that have no explanation (headaches)
  • Racing heart, high blood pressure
  • Night terrors
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentration
  • Increased startle reflex
  • And more

Furthermore, it is possible that untreated past traumas can have a big impact of your future health too. That could include conditions such as heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. If you have experienced trauma in your life, it doesn’t mean you will also experience certain physical health issues, but it does mean there could be a connection. Better yet, there are ways to heal and to increase your physical health. Research shows that physical activity, meditation, and therapy are a few ways you could find healing. A great starting point is to understand that your body is just doing its’ job. A book is listed below that includes a great deal of information on this topic. Meditation helps to experience mindfulness which allows you to be more present in your body. There are many resources through Apps or videos on the internet that can guide you through a mindfulness exercise.

Further reading that discusses how trauma affects the body:

            The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by: Bessel van der Kolf M.D.

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