“[People] don’t get traumatized because they get hurt. They get traumatized because they’re left alone with the hurt.” This is how trauma expert, Dr. Gabor Mate explains the phenomenon of trauma. When left alone with the hurt, our nervous systems don’t know how to process what is going on. This energy is then stored in the nervous system, unable to move and keeping us stuck.
How does trauma effect the nervous system?
The nervous system transmits messages from our brains to the rest of our body. It is the command center for thought, learning, emotional regulation, movement, and interpreting what we see, hear, and touch. It even controls our heartbeat, our digestion, and much more. If something damages the nervous system it can affect almost every aspect of functioning. That is what trauma does. Its abstract confusion gets stuffed into our bodies and halts our progress. Sometimes we fight against it for years as we shove down that ever-pressing question of “What’s wrong with me?”.
Thankfully we have options. We don’t have to stay stuck. Just as our nervous system had the potential to dysregulate, it also has the potential to regulate again.
How can movement therapy help me heal?
One of the ways to help our system get back to proper functioning is by getting moving. As mentioned before, the trauma gets stuck in our bodies, but when we allow our bodies to move in ways they need to, we can help the energy from the trauma to pass through. Not all movement is created equal, however. When we move mindfully, listening to our bodies, that is when we reap the greatest benefit. Movement therapy is an approach to healing on an emotional and physical level. If we neglect how the trauma sits in our body and only focus on our thoughts about it, our healing journey can be slow or even ineffective. Traditional talk therapies can be helpful, but current research affirms the power of movement in creating lasting change.
As we learn to listen to our bodies, when we start to feel whole and connected, we stop asking “What’s wrong with me?” and we start taking time to listen to ourselves and to validate our difficulties. It is at this point we no longer feel alone with the hurt. We can be there for ourselves, and can even be there for the younger versions of ourselves, when we didn’t know where to turn.
Our reactions, our minds, our bodies, are not the enemy. As we learn to listen to and work with, rather than against ourselves we gain access to the wisdom and healing that has always been inside of us.
If movement therapy, including yoga, walking, hiking, stretching, etc, feels like something that might help you heal, please reach out to Siera at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.