Dealing with past childhood trauma is one of the most difficult things to do as an adult. Our past heavily shapes and influences who we are today. Even if we don’t take notice, much of ‘why’ we do what we do today is because of yesterday (and all the days proceeding that). Attempting to heal from childhood trauma is a journey. It can feel like an extreme, uphill battle with no end in sight. Before jumping into your healing journey, first, believe to your core that you are supported. The world, its people, and the universe are all here to support you.
Now, let’s review the 8 effective steps on how to deal with childhood trauma and free yourself from demons of the past.
1. Acknowledge The Past
“The past is in the past so I don’t need to worry about it.” Although that survival technique has helped us in the past, it may not be serving us fully any longer. To fully deal with childhood trauma, it’s important to acknowledge what happened, as hard as it may be. Granted, these might be memories that have been buried for many years. Your mind and body have done this to help you survive that past trauma. And it worked! You are here reading this and you are safe. Acknowledge past childhood trauma is very empowering. As painful as it can be initially, it allows your brain and body to process it. In order to heal, you must feel.
2. Label How You Feel
Learning how to deal with childhood trauma can send your brain into a whirlwind of emotions. It can be overwhelming to conceptualize and think straight about it. Labeling your feelings towards the trauma helps compartmentalize the memory and your emotions. It’s hard to rank one of the steps for dealing with past childhood trauma as harder than the next. They are all challenging! Labeling how you feel can help your mind process how you actually feel about the situation. Additionally, depending on how long ago the trauma occurred, our own feelings towards it can shift. It’s helpful to pinpoint exactly how we feel about anything in life by labeling the feelings. Here are a few lighthearted examples of labeling feelings:
- I’m angry at my dog for eating all my chocolate ice cream. However, I’m also frustrated with myself for leaving the carton out overnight.
- My boyfriend makes me sad because he doesn’t talk to me at lunch.
- The pet frog I used to have made me happy because he was always there for me.
Label how you feel about anything, including childhood trauma, to help your brain figure out what to do next.
3. Ground Yourself
How are you feeling right now? There’s never a bad moment to reground yourself in life. Even reading steps on how to deal with childhood trauma could activate and trigger emotions in the background. Somato Respiratory Integration is a set of breathing exercises that helps ground emotions and calm the nervous system down. Also known as SRI, these breathing exercises help channel the natural rhythm and energy of the body. You can experience huge emotional breakthroughs with energy (and emotions) surrounding past trauma that feels stuck.
Click here to learn more about how Somato Respiratory Integration can help you deal with childhood trauma. These breathing exercises are especially effective at helping people work through things that they haven’t fully dealt with in life. SRI breathing exercises are offered with a Network Practitioner at our Wellness Center in Solana Beach, CA.
4. Unwind Stored Tension
Naturally, our bodies store tension during and after traumatic events. This is a way for our bodies to defend ourselves against more pain. Instead of letting the emotions run through us and getting bombarded by a spiral of negative thoughts, we bury things and say that we’ll deal with them later. Many of us have experienced this and you are not alone!
Unwinding stored tension helps the body release the negative energy from childhood trauma. Network Spinal, a holistic chiropractic technique that we practice at our Wellness Center, helps people do exactly this. Through gentle touches along the spinal cord, we help the nervous system relax. This enables the muscles to come back to baseline while unwinding tension from past emotional trauma. Network Spinal (NSA) is used in conjunction with SRI breathing exercises to help people learn how to deal with childhood trauma. We help enable your body to learn strategies to deal with hard times of the past, present, and future. Contact us to learn more about Network Spinal Chiropractic.
5. Release Your Emotions
It’s not uncommon to experience huge emotional releases – sometimes at random – when trying to deal with past childhood trauma. Many, including us, would say that emotional releases are good! Even if it feels like an outburst, maybe those emotions needed to be expressed and released! Imagine yourself as a 4-year-old baby. When someone at that age gets upset, they let you know right away by expressing their emotions and releasing how they feel into the world. This can be through crying, yelling, or pouting. Sometimes, adults need to do that too.
Many people experience huge emotional releases while experiencing Network Spinal Care. This can be for a number of reasons. However, it is sometimes from letting out an emotion that was stored. Emotions from childhood trauma oftentimes get stored. We are here to help guide you along your healing journey with these emotions.
6. Reconnect With Your Physical Body
Do you ever feel disconnected from your physical body? Many people who have experienced past childhood trauma – or any kind of trauma for that matter – feel this way too. There is an emotional and a physical side to dealing with emotional trauma. As hard as it feels, it’s important to heal from all ends following a traumatic event. Self-care is incredibly powerful in regards to healing physically. Treat yourself because you deserve it! This can range from massages, to yoga, and anything in between.
You can also reconnect with your physical body through things like heavy breathing exercises. The rush of oxygen and blood flow throughout your body can help you feel more grounded in your own skin. Additionally, challenging your body can help you bridge the gap between your body and mind more. For example, if you enjoy hiking, going on a long and challenging hike can help you feel more ‘in your body’. Physically activity is a great hack for this!
7. Talk With Others
Talking about how you feel can help you deal with childhood trauma. This is, of course, entirely up to you. Speaking with people about past traumatic events can help you gain new perspectives on the event that you didn’t expect. This can be a nice surprise to hear different thoughts on things in life from others. Additionally, speaking about childhood trauma out loud can empower you. It takes incredible strength to do this. That goes a long way internally within you! You can also (sometimes) figure out how you feel about something more when talking it out with someone.
8. Make The Present
‘You can’t change the past. However, you can make the present.’ – Anonymous
‘No day but today.’ – RENT
Unfortunately, we cannot change what has happened to us in our childhood. So, what can we do? With strength, courage, and support, we can create the present. Do your best to reach out to someone whenever you’re feeling down. Life is hard but it is also short. We are all here to support each other along our own healing journeys. Don’t be shy when it comes to practicing self-care and wellness in your life. Anyone that is trying to learn how to deal with childhood trauma has incredible strength.
“Everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.” – Unknown
You are loved and supported. Contact your local wellness center whenever you need to.