Have you ever experienced the slightest sensation of panic? Does it affect your ability to think clearly? Imagine then if someone experiences Trauma… Our brain is always on the lookout for us and wired to protect us to survive if we perceive a threat. How does the brain impact the body’s response in this case and why?
The moment you perceive something as a threat to your safety it stimulates the part of the brain called the amygdala. Stimulating the amygdala is like sounding an alarm for fear and then the body responds. When under stress or experiencing danger we respond instinctively through our body. The amygdala acts like an “emotional hijacker” as it becomes lit up and the body is wired for survival. When under this alerted state, the organization of our actions are quicker, more innate, reactive and automatic. The thinking and processing (cognitive) part of the brain becomes inactive and essentially shuts down because the body’s priority is focused on “survival”. When we are calmer and relaxed the hemisphere in our brain related to reasoning and developing solutions can help process an experience with different awareness and thoughts.
If someone has had a traumatic experience they may feel as if they are unable to think clearly, or they can continue to be in an overly emotional state of functioning. After a traumatic experience one may not be able to understand their body sensations or make sense of what is going on inside their mind and body. Often a survivor may re-experience over and over the traumatic reminders and feel stuck. Sometimes that same survival trigger makes healing difficult from trauma because the very system that is designed to keep us safe can actually stimulate trauma over and over again. What is important is to know how to interrupt this cycle for treating trauma.
There are ways to help soothe, and manage with freedom to change from within with knowledge and strategies. Therapy can help you to better organize the brain and regulate your emotional responses.
Your mind and body are your incredible allies.