I am reminded today of something I often discuss with clients. When an animal experiences threat, they react (fight, flight, freeze), hopefully survive, and then go back to laying in the sun or whatever they were doing before. They give themself a shake, which literally resets their nervous system back to a normal, non-activated state. When it’s over, it is OVER for them. When humans are fortunate enough to survive a threat, the emotional brain doesn’t necessarily let go and move on so quickly. Getting the nervous system to de-activate is not an automatic part of our process.
As we come to the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, here’s a thought related to healing from the depression that can follow trauma.
We are holding in our hearts the community of Uvalde, Texas. We send healing energy to those who lost their lives, their families and loved ones, and to all who today returned or sent someone they love – adult or child – into a school building. We pray for an ending to these horrific acts of terrorism and violence and for all people to experience safety and harmony in this world.
As the end of 2015 approaches, many set goals for 2016. New Year’s resolutions are a common practice yet are met with varying degrees of success. Some find resolutions to be a powerful step toward positive change. Others put energy into setting them but do not achieve them. And still others do not even bother with the process, as time has shown their past resolutions to be unsuccessful.
A few days ago I had an experience that has become quite familiar to me. I was reading Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” and she made the following statement: “Shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions.” While she quickly moved on to talk more in depth about shame, I was stuck on her initial declaration and immediately wondered “Why?"
“Mind, body, and breath complete the circle of life.” This is what my yoga instructor stated last week as we were moving into Savasana, or the meditation portion of the class. This observation gave me pause for a moment and then quickly resonated as true. I was immediately aware of how much more time my mind spends actively thinking compared to the miniscule amount of time that I spend just “being” in my body and with my breath.
I am pleased to have found a book that I can recommend to clients, family, and friends who are dealing with depression and wanting to better understand their treatment options. While the title of the book indicates the subject matter is that of antidepressants, Dr. Banov does a thorough job of discussing various alternatives to traditional medication therapy, including psychotherapy, supplements, exercise, healthy eating, light exposure, yoga, meditation, and more. The fact that the discussion is not limited only to antidepressant medication makes this book much more worthwhile, in my opinion.
The information in this article comes from a book by the same title “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” by Gary Chapman. As I was reading this book, I found myself going back and forth in my response. One second I was thinking “this seems to be surface level sort of stuff – how profound of an impact can it really have?” The next minute, I was truly blown away by the depth of what could be communicated and healed by speaking one another’s love language.
Trauma is a word that we use and hear often, but what is trauma? It is usually defined as the experiencing or witnessing of an event(s) that is threatening or dangerous and out of one’s control. Trauma usually involves a feeling of helplessness. Many people serving in the military experience trauma, as do individuals who survive a natural disaster, serious accident, or personal assault. While these are common examples of trauma, experts generally agree that what makes something traumatic to a person is determined by their response to it, rather than whether someone else considers it “traumatizing”.
The holidays are an emotional time and often a time of overeating. As family and friends come together, food is often the focus of celebrations. We offer some tips to think about during holiday dining. Allowing yourself to enjoy food during the holiday season is a great option when it is a conscious choice.