“Just like there’s always time for pain, there’s always time for healing.” – Jennifer Brown
When you experience something traumatic, it changes how you look at the world.
When I was 20 years old, I found my fitness-crazed, healthy-eating Dad dead. He was 48.
I was 11 weeks pregnant with my first child, and I’d decided to surprise him by going over to have dinner with him. He’d died of a heart attack, seemingly in his sleep (although to this day, I’m not sure and I’ll admit that still bothers me). I was the one who got the surprise.
A very traumatic, life-altering surprise.
Not only did I have to deal with the grieving process, but because his father also died of heart disease (at 54), my mind started linking every single physical sensation with the idea that something horrific was happening to me. I was constantly worried that I was dying, too.
The traumatic experience left me with two impressions: 1. Surprises are bad. 2. I needed to be aware of every little physical sensation because of family history and because if my health-fanatic Dad could miss the symptoms of an impending problem, I probably would.
This lasted for years.
Until I decided I’d had enough.
I decided to make trauma my bitch.
In order to flip the trauma debris on its heels and make that trauma my bitch, I had to shift my mindset about those two things. They were both based on fear. So I took action. This action will help you, too.
- EMOTIONAL SHIFT
I made a list of all the positive surprises / unexpected things I’ve experienced. Then, I set an alarm on my phone that reads: “Unexpected things bring me joy, abundance, and happiness.” It goes off at the same time every day. I read it EVERY DAY. I’m retraining my brain and emotions to recognize the good that occurs from unexpected things.
2. PHYSICAL SHIFT
Next, I’d had enough with the freaking adrenaline rush I would get every time I felt an unfamiliar sensation or bump or anything physically related. No more with the panic attacks. NO MORE.
So on the advice of a trusted friend, I started taking cold showers.
Cold showers do two things to help.
One, they help you overcome the fear of overcoming a fear. Yes, you read that right. Just thinking about overcoming any kind of fear can be debilitating in and of itself. Jumping into a cold-ass shower is scary! You know it’s going to suck. But once you just DO IT a few times, you start training your brain that you can handle fear.
Two, cold showers dump the adrenaline from your adrenal glands. When you do it enough, your adrenal glands stop being over reactive, flowing at any little thing that sets your fight-or-flight trigger off.
(*Note: If you have or suspect you have a heart condition, check with your doctor before engaging in the cold shower therapy.)
Now, when I experience something unexpected, even if it’s not something I particularly want to deal with, my mind is geared toward finding the best in the situation, and/or working toward solutions, rather than focusing on the problem aspect.
Also, I can have a physical sensation now and not freak the hell out and end up in the ER telling some nurse I think I’m having a heart attack.
No two of us experience trauma the same way. And while there may be certain experiences that society deems worthy of the descriptor “traumatic,” what is trauma-filled for one may not be for another. The experience of trauma is unique.
So is what you make out of it.
Love and light,
What traumatic experience have you shifted? How has your life become better because of the shift? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Also, please share this article with anyone and everyone you think will benefit from it. Trauma doesn’t have to stop us in our tracks. It can be overcome.
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