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Thawing Out Trauma: Techniques for Releasing Emotional Pain from the Body

Emotional Regulation for Adult Happiness | Los Angeles Therapist Elevate Mental Health in Ventura County California

Trauma tends to linger in our bodies long after the initial threat has passed embedding itself within. While many are familiar with the fight or flight response there's another aspect of trauma called the freeze response that is often overlooked. Just as impactful, when confronted with danger our bodies may instinctively freeze as an attempt at survival. However this frozen state can persist, trapping trauma in our bodies and manifesting in a myriad of physical and psychological symptoms.. The following are steps you can take to help you explore effective strategies for thawing the frozen and releasing stored trauma from the body.

1. Decoding the Freeze Response

In moments of peril our nervous system can trigger the response as a defense mechanism. This biological reaction involves immobilization numbing sensations and dissociation. A shutdown of bodily functions to cope with the threat. While this response may be helpful in crisis situations, prolonged exposure to trauma can result in activation of the response causing symptoms like persistent pain, exhaustion, sadness and unease. Acknowledging and understanding this reaction is crucial for beginning the healing process from stored trauma, within our bodies.

2. Somatic Experiencing

Created by Dr. Peter Levine somatic experiencing is a therapy method that aims to release trauma stored in the body by exploring sensations and allowing for interrupted survival responses to be completed. Through guiding individuals to focus on their bodily feelings and monitor the physiological arousal linked to trauma somatic experiencing helps release pent up energy and restore the body's natural balance. Using techniques, like mindfulness, controlled breathing and gentle movements somatic experiencing encourages individuals to redefine their connection with trauma and regain a sense of safety and control over their bodies.

3. Grounding Techniques

Grounding techniques provide a way to stay present in the moment and manage overwhelming emotions and sensations effectively. These methods involve shifting attention from thoughts or bodily feelings towards the surroundings. Examples of grounding techniques include breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization exercises and sensory grounding (such as focusing on touch, sight, sound, taste or smell). By engaging with the senses and reestablishing connection with the world grounding techniques can help individuals feel more rooted, centered and empowered to cope with freeze responses, for well being.

4. Embodied Physical Practices

In addition to somatic experiencing and grounding techniques, incorporating embodied practices into one's daily routine can support the release of trauma from the body. Activities such as yoga, tai chi, dance, or expressive arts therapy offer opportunities to reconnect with the body, cultivate self-awareness, and release stored tension and trauma. These practices encourage gentle movement, breath awareness, and mindful presence, fostering a sense of embodiment and integration of mind, body, and spirit.

5. Seeking Professional Help

While self help strategies can be beneficial during the healing process it's crucial to acknowledge when professional assistance is necessary. Therapists specializing in trauma informed approaches, like experiencing, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) or sensorimotor psychotherapy can offer guidance tailored to individual needs. Furthermore support groups trauma yoga classes and holistic healing centers can provide an environment and extra resources for overcoming trauma that is stored in the body.

Recovering from responses and releasing trauma pain from the body is a journey that demands patience, kindness and dedication.

By grasping the concept of the reaction delving into experiencing and grounding methods integrating physical practices into our daily routines and reaching out for help, from experts when necessary we can start a journey towards healing, strength and overall well being, through our bodies. Lets work together to unfreeze and rediscover our bodies as sources of power, insight and recovery.

Action Step to Releasing Trauma Pain from the Body

Schedule a Therapy Session:

If you find yourself struggling in this area, consider scheduling a therapy session. A licensed therapist can provide personalized support, guidance, and tools to help you explore your sense of self and cultivate a deeper understanding of who you are and who you want to become.

Get the help that's right for you.

If you're in the Los Angeles, Ventura County, Santa Barbara or surrounding areas, we would be happy to get you connected with one of our licensed therapists. If you are outside of California then consider searching "therapist near me" to guide you to an experienced therapist experience in trauma work.

Your Team at Elevate Mental Health


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