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The Power Of Mindfulness In Healing From Trauma

Woman experiencing the power of mindfulness in healing from trauma

Trauma can impact all areas of the body, mind, and spirit. From compromised sleep and chronic pain to flashbacks and generalized anxiety, the phenomenon’s symptoms can be wide-ranging and serious. Fortunately, the power of mindfulness in healing from trauma can help.

If you or someone you care about could use a trauma therapy program in Washington State, contact Northpoint Seattle today. We offer a trauma treatment program that includes dual diagnosis care when needed. This means we recognize the frequent link between trauma and substance abuse and are prepared to treat both conditions simultaneously. Call us at 888.483.6031 to discuss the power of mindfulness in healing from trauma, along with other evidence-based strategies for trauma treatment.

How Do I Know If I or a Loved One May Be Living with Trauma?

Potentially traumatic events such as violence, combat, and bullying happen every day, but whether a person who experiences them develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is highly individual. Research suggests it depends largely on whether and how they could respond to the event at the time it occurred.

Trauma symptoms are largely tied to the central nervous system’s fight-flight-freeze responses and those who can be at least somewhat active and retain some agency during trauma tend to experience fewer negative symptoms after the fact. Thus, “fighting,” “fleeing,” or otherwise taking agency tend to be most effective in mitigating PTSD. “Freezing” or shutting down, on the other hand, is more highly associated with PTSD development. A few of the most prominent symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include:

  • Intrusive and extremely vivid memories or mental “replays” of traumatic events called flashbacks
  • Nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Extreme emotional distress and being easily triggered by things that remind you of the original trauma
  • Avoiding talking or thinking about anything that brings up memories of your trauma
  • Keeping away from activities, places, or people that bring back memories of the trauma
  • Having a poor outlook on yourself or the world in general or experiencing guilt or shame
  • Feeling hopeless or despairing about the future
  • Emotional numbness and difficulty connecting with those close to you
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having an elevated “startle response,” meaning innocuous stimuli such as a door closing may cause you to jump
  • Experiencing angry outbursts
  • Having concentration or memory problems
  • Feeling irritable or prone to angry outbursts
  • Insomnia

What Is the Power of Mindfulness for Trauma Healing?

Trauma healing is as individual as the experience of trauma itself. For this reason, it’s important to work carefully and determine which strategies are most effective for you. A trauma specialist can be a helpful guide in this process. Mindfulness is one of several techniques your therapist or treatment team may employ, and there are many options for applying it. Fundamentally, mindfulness refers to present-moment awareness or returning to the current reality when your mind wanders to the past or future. Given trauma’s tendency to cause mental events like flashbacks and nightmares, the benefit of mindfulness is clear.

That said, certain mindfulness exercises may be triggering for some trauma patients. For example, body scans or anything involving working with one’s eyes closed may be difficult. This is because trauma survivors sometimes have difficulty experiencing their physicality comfortably. Other mindful practices, such as movement, may thus work better. Common mindful movement options include yoga, tai chi, swimming, jogging, or working with animals like horses and dogs. Given trauma’s physical underpinning in the nervous system, grounded, purposeful movement can serve as a powerful form of healthy repatterning.

Similarly, mindful exercises that hinge on the five senses can be effective for many people with PTSD. For example, when triggered, a patient may be asked to identify five things they can see, four things they can hear, three things they can touch, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. Engaging with the senses during a flashback can help re-ground in the present moment and soothe the nervous system. Walking outside in nature can also be a great way to engage the five senses. There is an added benefit of bilateral stimulation to the brain anytime you walk or otherwise move your limbs in alternating patterns.

Get Assistance Healing from Trauma by Contacting Northpoint Seattle Today

The effects of trauma can feel overwhelming, but keep in mind that you are not alone if you are struggling. Many people have made significant strides in coping with trauma by reaching out for help and committing to self-compassion. If you or your loved one is living with PTSD, contact Northpoint Recovery today. Our caring and empathetic staff is awaiting your call or email and will happily assist you in getting resources for trauma healing or substance abuse recovery.

Call us at 888.483.6031 or complete our secure online contact form to begin. Even a lengthy or difficult journey is accomplishable when you take it one step at a time and remember to lean on your friends and allies in the process.