November 17, 2018

What Are Some Techniques To Overcome Trauma?

Ask The Doctor > Depression > What Are Some Techniques To Overcome Trauma?

Trauma occurs when any situation is causing you, your children or your loved ones to experience less love, peace and happiness in their lives. Trauma can occur at varying levels of experience on a continuum from barely noticeable to extreme.

When we talk about trauma, we tend to focus on the extreme end of the continuum. We all accept now that events such as divorce, separation, physical and sexual abuse, motor vehicle accidents, war, death and other such life events are extremely traumatic because they are sudden, painful to experience, and come with little or no prior notice.

Events that are perceived as lesser but have an accumulative, repetitive traumatic effect, can have just the same affect on us unconsciously as a sudden and violent traumatic experience. Events like being bullied at school or in the office at work, being constantly put down and belittled by parents, relatives, teachers and others all set up and repeat the same unconscious habit of separating from our space of love and peace within.

Medical procedures, although perceived as helpful and good for your wellbeing, can also have a traumatic effect on us unconsciously. Repeatedly having to submit to invasive treatments such as blood tests, needles, exploratory investigations by doctors, and even submitting to anaesthesia and surgery can all cause us to experience apprehension, perhaps fear, and separating from our space of love and peace.

Research shows that people recover faster and more affectively from trauma when they are in a position to receive and extend unconditional love and support. The key is to perceive all worry, all fear, and all pain as a call for help, and hence an opportunity to extend love.

I can recall a time when I was in hospital for major surgery and being taken down to the preparation room to get ready. My fear was surfacing and I was beginning to worry as the hospital staff busied themselves about making the necessary preparations. Finally, they were all done making me ready and I lay there quietly waiting, but my mind was racing with all kinds of worrisome thoughts. I was experiencing trauma!

Then a nurse came up to my side and spoke to me in a soft and soothing voice that was filled with love. I could literally feel her genuine energy as she reassured me that everything was okay and that I am fine. My fears melted and I was once again at peace, all pain disappeared! To this day, some years down the track, I remember the experience of that sharing of love instead of the experience of the trauma and fear of preparing for surgery. I am grateful for the kind expression of that nurse.

If you are experiencing worry and fear, then you are experiencing trauma, and experiencing a call for help. The solution to this situation is to send love to yourself in any way that you can. Many have found this process to be very helpful. Here is an example exercise:

Freeze the fearful movie that you are playing in your mind, turn the image from colour to black and white, then shrink it! Now play a movie in your mind of a wonderfully loving event. Perhaps being with someone you love, being with your favourite pet, or walking on the beach in the sunshine. Now, make that movie colourful, zoom in and make it bigger, experience the sounds, smells and feelings. Take the energy of love that you have created and send that to the place within you that is calling for help.

Trauma, including medical trauma, is an opportunity to practice this habit of extending love a lot, and repetition makes perfect! Teaching this habit is another way of practicing it, too. If someone you know, love and care for, whether they are a child or an adult, has experienced trauma and is in a current space of worry, pain or fear, then teach them how to refocus. See this as a call for help and teach them how to respond. Remember that people recover faster from trauma in the presence of unconditional love.

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Dr. Jimmy Obaji M.D.

Dr. Jimmy Obaji completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Manitoba. He currently operates a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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