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Creating Safety in the Body for Trauma Recovery

Trauma can have lasting effects on the body, both seen and unseen. Feeling unsafe in your body is common, and this can lead to self-destructive patterns and unhealthy coping mechanisms. To begin the process of healing trauma, creating safety in the body is key.

Trauma and Body Memory

Trauma can live as energy in the body long after the traumatic event has passed. According to a 2022 study in Brain Sciences, we can “memorize negative bodily experiences” of past violence, moments of anger, and fear. When the body remembers these types of past experiences, they can be stored in our memory and even influence our behavior. This is called “body memory,” and it can happen after positive events, like feeling happiness after an achievement. It can also happen after negative events like trauma. The thing about body memory is that we may not consciously know it exists. Even if you don’t realize it, this can impact your physical, mental, and even spiritual well-being. It can also pop up during emotional experiences.

Re-Traumatization

Sometimes, an emotional event can trigger trauma that’s been stored in your body. Even though the initial experience has passed, your body still remembers it, and you may have a frightening reaction. This is called “re-traumatization.” The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines re-traumatization as “reliving stress reactions experienced as a result of a traumatic event when faced with a new, similar incident.” SAMHSA says the current experience is “subconsciously associated” with the original trauma. This can awaken memories and distressing reactions in the body. In order to begin healing, it’s important to learn how to create safety in the body.

Safety in the Body: Best Practices

Traumatic experiences can be released from the body with the right practices. Learning how to create safety in the body will help you build a solid foundation for healing.

Somatic Experiencing

Over the last 45 years, Dr. Peter Levine developed a form of trauma therapy called “Somatic Experiencing” or SE. This therapeutic practice takes a body-oriented approach. SE was created after observing how animals in the wild processed trauma stores in the body. According to a 2015 study in Frontiers in Psychology, animals are able to move past traumatic experiences with “involuntary movements.” They may change their breathing patterns, yawn, shake, or tremble to discharge this intense biological arousal.

SE uses similar practices to help humans release the body’s frozen “snapshots” of trauma. Through SE, you can create safety in the body by using light movements like shaking, crying, or rocking yourself back and forth. It’s important to note that SE should be practiced with the guidance of a trained professional. You can find a quality trauma recovery center that offers SE, like The Guest House.

Mind-Body Therapies

When traumatic events happen, your nervous system can become highly dysregulated. Creating safety in the body is possible when you use different mind-body therapies. These therapies can help you feel more peaceful, calm, and grounded.

Practices like meditation and yoga have been gaining in popularity over recent years for trauma recovery. These mind-body techniques help you regulate your nervous system by gaining control over your body and staying focused on the present moment. These practices can also help you release trauma stores in the body. Hip-opening exercises in yoga, for example, have been found to release pent-up emotions. At first, it may feel uncomfortable. But after your body processes the emotion, you will feel so much better.

Exercise

It’s no secret that exercise can create positive changes in our lives. But did you know it can also help you create safety in the body? A 2023 study in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology found a strong positive relationship between physical activity and the mental health of people who have experienced traumatic events. The study points to results that showed psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were “significantly improved after exercise intervention.” It also found mental distress to be reduced and quality of life to be improved. Through regular exercise, you can come back to an emotionally regulated state. You can feel happier, more peaceful, and more in control of your body.

Loving Your Body

A wildly important way to create safety in the body is also a practice that is often overlooked. Many who have experienced trauma may feel a disconnect between themselves and their body. In order to reconnect with your vessel, it’s important to send it massive amounts of love.

A great idea is to commit to a practice of intentionally loving your body. You can nourish your body with healthy foods, care for it by taking calming baths, or even hug yourself whenever you feel stressed or anxious. You can also speak affirmations of love for your body each day.

Creating Safety in the Body at The Guest House

At The Guest House, our top priority is to help you heal your mind, body, and soul. We offer many different therapeutic modalities that will help you create safety in the body and re-discover a lost sense of self. Our wide range of holistic therapies aims to help you heal in a comprehensive way. Modalities like meditation, conscious connected breathwork, and music healing can all help you release stored trauma in the body. They can also help you come back to an emotionally regulated state.

These practices, coupled with tried-and-true traditional therapies, will help you overcome your struggles in a way that works best for you. Always remember that your trauma is your own. At The Guest House, we will help you build an individualized plan for lasting recovery, success, and lifelong happiness.

Trauma can be stored in the body long after you actually experienced the event. In order to find lasting peace and happiness, it’s important to learn how to create safety in the body. At The Guest House, our trauma-informed program is designed to help you heal trauma and overcome any other struggles by healing your mind, body, and soul as one. We offer a wide variety of holistic modalities that will allow you to release stored trauma in the body and come back to an emotionally regulated state. These practices, combined with our tried-and-true traditional modalities, will help you find lasting happiness, peace, and success. Call us today at (855) 483-7800.