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  • Writer's pictureMaria C Colon-Gonzalez

Your Mental Health and Trauma Healing Journey Matters

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

May is mental health awareness month. Mental health is your brain and emotional health. At Salud Revisited, I ask about your stories of traumatic events because these have negative consequences for your health. Trauma is carried in your body, and traumatic events significantly, if repeated, affect both your brain and body function. But there is hope, there is always hope, and I can guide you in your healing journey.

Mental health expert Dr. Gabor Mate says trauma is "not what happens to you; it's what happens inside you as a result of what happened to you." This means that the way an event affects you might differ from how it affects others, but all experiences are valid—no reason to judge or compare. Your story matters, and you can rewrite your story.

So, how exactly does your trauma affect your health? The ACE study found a direct link between childhood trauma and adult onset of chronic disease, incarceration, and employment challenges. The ACE questionnaire is part of the documents my patients complete during intake because your story matters to me. There is always a reason we do, not what we need to do, but just the opposite.

In the book The Body Keeps the Score, Vessel van der Kol says, "After trauma, the world is experienced with a different nervous system. The survivor's energy now becomes focused on suppressing inner chaos at the expense of spontaneous involvement in their lives. These attempts to maintain control over unbearable physiological reactions can result in a whole range of physical symptoms, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and other autoimmune diseases. This explains why it is critical for trauma treatment to engage the entire organism, body, mind, and brain." At Salud Revisited, I recognize that you are more than a set of symptoms to be treated or managed. You are a person who needs holistic care—healing for your body, your spirit, and your mind.

He goes further into saying: "If Darwin was right, the solution requires finding ways to help people alter the inner sensory landscape of their bodies. Until recently, this bidirectional communication between body and mind was largely ignored by Western science, even as it had long been central to traditional healing practices in many other parts of the world, notably in India and China." I help you heal in both the mind and the body. At Salud Revisited, I used Western medicine but also combined with healing modalities like meditation, journaling, breath work, HeathMath, herbal supplements, and essential oils. Your story matters to me, and you can rewrite your story.

So, what actionable steps can you take today to restore the health of your mind and body? Working with an excellent mental health provider trained in trauma modalities like EMRD, Somatic Experiencing, and Internal Family Systems can help you heal your brain and mind while connecting with your body. To help your body metabolize pain, movements like yoga and dance help activate your breath and connect with the sensations in your body. Activating the breath propels the natural relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system. Walking and playing drums alternating the right and left sides of the body are also movement modalities recommended for people healing from acute trauma or living with complex trauma. This is called bilateral brain stimulation. Bilateral stimulation helps reduce worry, problems become smaller, and you can unstick these thoughts from your mind, allowing your brain to function better. Food is medicine for all of your body, including your brain. Eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and legumes will slowly transform your metabolism. Eating colorful meals with little "processed foods" helps the brain and body heal, restore function, and often reduce cortisol levels, one of your stress hormones. Specific herbal supplements can help manage some of the symptoms you may experience. Some aromas of essential oils can also help activate the relaxation response, like lavender.

Let's talk about sleep when both body and mind rest. In the article titled: Neural correlates of sleep-induced benefits on traumatic memory processing, they found that sleep after traumatic events, compared to sleep loss, inhibits intrusive memory development, possibly by promoting adequate memory consolidation and integration. This means better sleep can help reduce the likelihood of developing negative memories. Not only will lack of good sleep make you tired during the day, but it can also worsen anxiety, depression, diabetes, and obesity.

Other grounding rituals like daily meditation, journaling, and prayer are easy to incorporate. There are many Apps you can choose from when it comes to meditating. A gratitude box can help you and your family focus on the positive things in life without ignoring the pain.

Your body tells a story you can rewrite. Heal for real!

If this content helps you, share it with other people! Invite them to follow @saludRevisited.


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