October 26, 2021
We will all grapple with trauma in some form. If you haven’t experienced it yet personally, then as a leader, mentor, friend, or loved one, you’ll be with someone who has.
Drawing from my own recent experience, I want to share what I’ve learned from an event that rattled my nervous system. We'll all get shaken by life, and whether it’s a heated argument, natural disaster, or a dog attack (like mine), it’s important to work through that experience so that unprocessed trauma doesn't get lodged in our system, only to make a surprise appearance when we least expect or want it. Not coping with trauma can have significant consequences.
I'm sharing my own response to a recent experience. I’m not a trauma therapist or coach. I took on a few practices to move past a jarring event and as of now, they seem to be working. I do give coaching clients contemplative, grounding and journalizing practices like the ones I describe in this episode. I hope it helps you like it has for me.
If you or someone you know have experience trauma, please reach out to a professional.
Here are a few of my insights:
Help often appears where you’re not looking
During the attack, I thought I was powerless and alone. I looked in one direction for help but it came from another. We all have our blind spots, assumptions and ways of seeing reality. We often need others to help us past our limitations. I was not alone.
Trust in Others Who Care About You
It takes time for the fight-or-flight chemicals to leave our bodies. Until then we may function 'just fine'. Yet our decision-making post trauma is compromised because our nervous system takes a while to settle. Having someone in your corner that sees reality more clearly and who is willing be straight with you is priceless. And you have to be open to listening.
Make time to recuperate and reflect
Take the time you need to heal and process the event. It’s likely you won't be on your game, so go light on work or take a complete break in order to give yourself the space to recover. While I didn't take days completely off, I went easy enough on myself to get my energy back and clear my head. Bodywork therapies like NetworkSpinal and Polarity Therapy helped me immensely, and journaling has been incredible as well. Breathwork, mindfulness and movement were also part of my healing. I also spent the evenings with a good novel!
For further exploration:
Network Spinal – search for a practitioner near you
Polarity Therapy: https://polaritytherapy.org/
Calm breath exercise – extended exhale https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNXKjGFUlMs&t=5s
Calm breath exercise – bubble/box breathing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxayUBd6T7M
Third-person journaling https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/dg/#:~:text=In%20the%20case%20of%20third,referring%20to%20ourselves%20by%20name.
Telling Your Story May Be Good for Your Health https://h-i-v.net/spotlight/mental-health-month-2021
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