Traumatic life events generate emotions, and unless we process these emotions at the time the trauma occurs, they can become stuck in our mind and body.
This trauma stays in our body as negative energy in our unconscious, affecting our life until we uncover it and process it out. Processing emotions, such as anger, sadness, shame, and fear are essential to healing from a traumatic life event.
The healthiest response to emotional trauma is often not the most common response. The healthiest response is; when the trauma first occurs, we recognize the destruction it has caused to our sense of self, feel the natural emotions that follow, and then realize that the destruction doesn’t say anything about us personally, and thus we don’t make any negative meaning of it and can let it go.
Due to the fact that crying, yelling, and confronting others is often not socially acceptable, we may suppress our emotions, rather than feel and process them.
Traumatic life events can be like deep emotional cuts we carry with us and they can affect our relationships, career, happiness, and quality of life. This can continue until we learn to process the emotions and heal by allowing ourselves to feel our feelings.
To heal from a traumatic life event, we have to go through a process, that should have begun when the traumatic life event happened. I developed a healing exercise based on my experience of helping others heal from traumatic life events.
8 Steps to Healing Emotional Trauma:
You may wish to reference the wheel of emotions at the bottom of this blog before commencing this exercise. There are subtle differences between often similar emotions. Recognizing the differences may bring a greater knowledge of yourself.
1. Anchor it
For this step, you have to be in the present. To begin, find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Sit or lie down comfortably with your eyes shut. Take a deep breath in, hold the breath for a count of four, and exhale completely, repeat this ten times. During the breathing exercise, bring awareness to your body. Tense and release your muscles. Feel the weight of your body on the surface you are sitting or lying on. Let yourself feel connected with the surface beneath you, and be anchored in the moment. Imagine a stream of energy going from your head, down to your tailbone and all the way down to the midpoint of the earth.
2. Revisit it
Think about an emotional event that upset you recently. Revisit the event in as much detail as possible. Imagine yourself back in that moment of time, in that precise location. Experience the emotional event with all your senses. When you are present and clearly recall the emotional event, proceed to step 3.
3. Sense it
Continue to breathe deeply, and take a moment to be quiet. In your mind, scan your body from your head down to your toes. Take note of any sensations you may be experiencing. Observe any physical response you may be experiencing to the emotional event; tightness, burning, etc. Explore each sensation, and think about them in detail. (i.e. my shoulders are tense, they feel like round tennis balls and my left shoulder feels heated).
Once you have explored and considered your physical reactions, you can move to Step 4.
4. Tag it
Tag an emotion to each of the sensations you feel. Is the feeling in your shoulders fear? Is the tightness in your chest anxiety? Is the feeling of sweat on your palm's anger or frustration? Once you have tagged each emotion, go to Step 5.
5. Acknowledge it
During the process of a mindful approach to trauma healing, we need to fully accept everything that we are feeling. Say to yourself, “I acknowledge that I feel (name the emotions you tagged in step 4). Do this for each emotion that you have tagged. Then say to yourself, “I love that I can acknowledge all my feelings, I love myself”. Now move to Step 6.
6. Live it
Take a moment to live the emotion and physical sensation. Do not try to ignore it, or change it. Acknowledge the discomfort you may be feeling and accept that it will soon be something of the past. If you feel the urge to cry, cry. If you feel the urge to yell, yell. Express each emotion in a creative way. If you feel the need to pump your fists, or clap your hands, or hug yourself, do it. Once you have lived each emotion by allowing yourself to feel and move with it, go to Step 7.
7. Learn from it
Do the emotions you are feeling, connect with other emotional trauma events from the past? Do the emotions tell you anything new? Ask yourself, what is this emotion or sensation trying to tell me? I encourage you to write it down. Take time to reflect on the message that each emotion and sensation is bringing you. Move to Step 8.
8. Set it free
Take time to journal the traumatic life event. Describe what happened when the trauma first occurred, how you reacted at the time, and what time has taught you about it. If you don’t like journaling, you may prefer to talk to someone you trust about your traumatic life event. Talking about your emotions is an important step in healing. During the process of journaling, or talking with someone you trust, write or say “I set you free”. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, visualize the traumatic life event leaving your body and floating away, further and further away until you no longer can see it.
Credit: Emotion Wheel by AllTheFeelz
The process of healing emotional trauma can feel uncomfortable, yet the journey will be rewarding. The time and energy we waste on carrying the emotional trauma with us will be replaced with positive emotions that can assist with building a life we love.
Remember, you are not alone. Take one step at a time on your journey to recovery, and a life filled with joy. We are here to help.
For further guidance, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a session here https://www.madeconfident.com.au/product-page/virtual-transformation-coaching
Don't postpone your happiness.
Other support services:
Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
Suicide Call-back service: 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800