Tag Archives: health

Body Awareness After Trauma

body awareness

Trauma in the Body

By: Angela Englander              January 17, 2016

Trauma has a number of effects on an individual’s life, it can cause flashbacks and nightmares, intense emotions such as fear and rage, feeling different than other people, and feeling separate from the rest of the world. One side effect that is not as commonly talked about however is the effect traumatic stress has within the body.

Body awareness and body dissociation can cause a number of symptoms including body pains, headaches, stomach aches, and numbness, problems with balance and coordination, and sensory integration difficulties. At times individuals may be considered clumsy and uncoordinated, at other times they may be seen as fussy and temperamental because of how particular they may be about their environment. Children who have been traumatized and especially susceptible to these body symptoms and may complain about the textures and consistency of their food, the feeling of their fabric on their skin, and noise in an environment. When the body is overwhelmed and on high alert chronically even these every day experiences can be perceived as intense and dangerous.

There are a number of strategies that have been studied and shown to be effective in decreasing the intensity of trauma symptoms. Some strategies are yoga, breathing exercises such as square breathing such as the one demonstrated in the square breathing video http://waystowellbeing.ca/video/, belly breathing, and body scans like the one described in this article http://waystowellbeing.ca/therapy-to-prevent-cancer/.

If you are finding that you have a lot of headaches, stomach aches, body pains and other physical trauma symptoms engaging in some of these body awareness exercises will likely help you release the tension and decrease the sadness and fear your body is holding onto. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail angela@waystowellbeing.ca and as always, good luck on your healing journey!

Reference: Langmuir, J. I., Kirsh, S. G., & Classen, C. C. (2012). A pilot study of body-oriented group psychotherapy: Adapting sensorimotor psychotherapy for the group treatment of trauma. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 4(2), 214-220. doi:10.1037/a0025588

Newton, A. (2014). The body in relationship: The intersections of body-awareness, attachment, emotional regulation, and trauma

Price, C. J., & Thompson, E. A. (2007). Measuring dimensions of body connection: Body awareness and bodily dissociation. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.), 13(9), 945-953. doi:10.1089/acm.2007.0537

Scaer, R. C. (2014). The body bears the burden: Trauma, dissociation, and disease (3rdition. ed.) Routledge.

Pleasant Activities

Hello everyone,

As you know, it’s important to have joy and happiness in your life in order to reduce stress and be a happy and healthy person. Feel free to read the list of activities below and incorporate some into your life if you wish to increase your joy and happiness.

Pleasant Activities

  1. Taking a warm bath
  2. Going for a walk in the park
  3. Listening to music
  4. Watching youtube clips
  5. Stretching
  6. Looking at trees
  7. Feeling the sunshine on your face
  8. Laughing
  9. Talking to friends
  10. Reading the magazine or news paper
  11. Looking at pictures that bring back happy memories
  12. Going home from work
  13. Eating a special treat
  14. Practicing yoga
  15. Dancing
  16. Repairing things
  17. Building things
  18. Planting seeds and watching them grow
  19. Doodling
  20. Singing
  21. Practicing a religion (going to church, temple, meditation)
  22. Engage your senses (smell flowers, watch the sunset, feel soft fabric)
  23. Making a list of things you like about yourself
  24. Going to the beach
  25. Painting
  26. Writing poetry
  27. Knitting
  28. Volunteering at an animal shelter
  29. Day dreaming
  30. Cooking
  31. Having a morning coffee
  32. Reading a good book
  33. Photography
  34. Walking around the mall
  35. Writing a letter
  36. Dancing to music at home
  37. Acting
  38. Doing a drop in comedy class
  39. Cleaning
  40. Remembering pleasant activities you’ve done in the past
  41. Doing a crossword puzzle
  42. Dressing up and looking nice
  43. Doing a puzzle
  44. Lighting candles
  45. Talking on the phone
  46. Going to a museum
  47. Playing cards
  48. Solving riddles
  49. Playing computer games
  50. Having lunch with a friend

 

Hormones and Depression

How the body works

Hormonal imbalances 

Hormone imbalance has been known to contribute to a variety of problems from pains to cramps to mood swings to anxiety and depression as well as a number of other problems. These hormone imbalances are especially troubling for women who have more of a natural hormone fluctuation than men. Some symptoms of low estrogen for example include foggy thinking, hot flashes, depression, memory lapses, forgetfulness, sleeping problems, and problems with bone density. Some symptoms of high estrogen include anxiety and irritability, cramps, and increased triglyceride levels. Some of these symptoms are very similar to hormone imbalances from thyroid dysfunction. Hyperthyroidism can cause hand tremors, nervousness, hot flashes, sweating, joint pain, insomnia, and poor concentration. Hypothyroidism on the other hand can cause exhaustion, constipation, weight gain, feeling cold, depression, and puffy eyes. As you can see the symptoms of estrogen imbalance and thyroid hormone imbalance are very similar as are the symptoms of some other hormonal imbalances. When the endocrine system is struggling there are a number of ways we can help it regain balance including getting enough sleep at night, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and listening to the signals your body is sending you!

References: http://www.integrativepsychiatry.net/hormone_balance.html

 

Chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins

Chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins

Studies have shown that depression may be associated with toxins from pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins. These chemicals can potentially interfere with neuronal processes in the brain and lead to toxic build-ups in the tissue. To prevent these chemical effects some people choose to use more natural and body friendly approaches to cleaning, insect control, and house cleaning. Some examples of natural solutions include:

Using vinegar as a weed killerweeds and vinegar

Using salt to get rid of slugssalt and slugs

Using essential oils to

make deodorizers andWhat-Are-Essential-Oils

bathroom sprays

References: Koifman, S. (2013). Pesticides, depression and suicide: A systemic review of the epidemiological evidence. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 216(4) 445

http://www.tipjunkie.com/post/homemade-cleaners/

Trauma Related Beliefs

Trauma Related Beliefs

Check the beliefs that apply to you and then write about a situation in which that belief was created. Try to be specific when describing the situation, are any of these situations trauma related?

_____ I believe I am a victim and that my troubles are someone else’s fault

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I can’t do things because I am physically or emotionally incapable of doing them. (“I can’t” generally means “I won’t or “I don’t want to”)

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that my actions don’t impact others. My actions don’t harm them or cause them emotional pain

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe I am unwilling or unable to put myself in others’ place

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe I am unwilling to do something that is disagreeable to me

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe I have no money, time, etc., to spare when other people ask me to do things

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I develop aches and pains in order to avoid doing things that I don’t want to do

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe I often don’t have enough energy to do things – particularly when I don’t want to do them

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I don’t have to live up to obligations – It’s ok to say “I forgot” or just ignore responsibilities

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I frequently expect others to do what I want them to do, even if they don’t understand my reasoning

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe I am entitled to use others’ property as if it were my own, and to borrow things without permission

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that my “wants” are really my “rights”

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that others betray my trust regularly and therefore cannot be trusted at all

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that things will happen because I think they will

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I can make decisions without finding out the facts

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I am right and that my point of view is right, even when evidence says that it’s wrong.

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that even when I am proven wrong I must cling to my original position

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that thinking ahead and planning ahead are unnecessary or not useful

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I am always supposed to win and that failure is not an option

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that fear is a weakness, so I deny that I am afraid even when I am

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that expressions of anger, like direct threats, intimidation, sarcasm, or passive-aggressiveness, are good ways to get what I want from people

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that if something doesn’t turn out the way I expect it to I will be criticized and found to be a failure

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I will be let down by others

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that I will win in any struggle because I have power

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_____ I believe that debating is enjoyable in and of itself

Situation in which this belief effects my life:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________