Odds are, you or someone you care about have experienced trauma at some point in life. This may occur as a one-time event such as a violent assault, or sudden loss of a loved one. Trauma can also come from ongoing stress such as homelessness, food insecurity, or prolonged illness. Every individual experiences and processes trauma differently, even people who may have experienced the exact same situation.
It’s helpful to understand how that affects the brain and what we can do about it. Understanding the processes and how to deal with trauma is high on my list for personal as well as professional reasons.
The most recent book I’ve read on this subject is Everyday Traumas: Remapping the Brain’s Response to Stress, Anxiety, and Painful Memories for a Better Life by Tracey Shors. If you’d like to understand more about the science of how the brain handles trauma and how it creates memories, the author does a good job putting scientific information into regular-folks terminology. She also delves into some of what we can do, either through therapy or on our own, to help heal trauma. It’s a fairly easy read on such a complicated topic.
However, I more highly recommend The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk. The author has spent decades studying and working with trauma survivors. While this isn’t quite as easy to read, I found it far more informative and helpful, and still written in a way that’s accessible to the non-scientists among us. This is one I own and have actually referred back to. It’s far more in depth, and does a thorough job of explaining HOW the body truly does keep the score when it comes to trauma.*
Thanks to neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to adapt both structurally and functionally, it is possible to heal from trauma and PTSD. This takes patience and persistence, and often professional guidance. Regular and intentional movement — including sports, fitness training, walking, and yoga — is key in helping this healing process. Meditation can help as well; doing both is likely best of all.
1) the brain is fascinating
2) neuroplasticity rocks
3) there is hope for healing from trauma
4) regular exercise is key in the healing process
*One caveat for The Body Keeps the Score: some details given in this book could be potential triggers for trauma survivors.
Owner/Coach. Powered by tea, books, & sunshine. I help people build stronger, more resilient bodies — because fitness isn’t as much about what we do in the gym as what it helps us do beyond the gym.