13. Get plenty of exercise
Exercise is a great way to take your mind off the events you have gone through. Or, it may offer you the chance to sort your emotions out in your mind. Either way, exercise is an important regimen throughout the process of dealing with the feelings caused by childhood trauma and beyond. Yoga, which combines exercise and mindfulness is often used as a tool during the process to help keep you focused on the task at hand but also provides a way to obtain and feel the serenity and inner peace.
Exercise gets the blood pumping and the heart rate up. An increased heart rate means that oxygen and nutrients are being pumped all around the body at a faster rate. This includes the brain. Exercise is well-known to improve memory which can be helpful during the stage of the process when you are trying to recall all the events and the emotions you felt as a child.
Furthermore, exercise is a great way to work through emotions. Feeling angry and working through it by using a punchbag is a productive way to express the feeling. Power exercises such as weightlifting give you the opportunity to gain complete control over your body through your brain. This is a great pre-cursor to gaining control over your emotions and how you express them.
Endurance exercises such as running, cycling, and swimming release endorphins and chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine from the brain into the body. These help to deal with the stress and anxiety your childhood trauma may bring upon you. They also help after you’ve had a session that has left you very emotional. Getting active afterward can help you to recover.
14. Sleep is a wonderful tool
Just as exercise is critical during and after the process of dealing with the emotions brought on by childhood trauma, so is sleep. Many people who went through a childhood trauma report that they have difficulties sleeping. When the body is not getting enough sleep, the mind cannot do the necessary work to heal the harm that has been done. Having difficulty sleeping is an indication of unexpressed emotions that have not been addressed.
If you have trouble sleeping, try some natural remedies and methods before you turn to prescription drugs to make you sleep. Most are habit-forming and, in many instances unnecessary, as there are alternative options before you. Remedies as simple as warm milk and honey can make a difference. Lavender is well-known for its sleep-inducing properties. Lavender candles and bath products are great but using lavender essential oil together with a carrier oil (such as almond oil, olive oil, or coconut oil) and massaging the tense areas of your body can work wonders.
Some of the methods recommended for getting a good night’s sleep are taking a hot bath shortly before going to bed. Make sure that you have created a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom. This includes ensuring the room is the right temperature, that your bed is comfortable, that you are wearing non-restrictive sleepwear, and that the room is dark enough. These sound like simple things to do, but you’d be surprised how many people’s sleep-space is not conducive to a good night’s rest.
Right throughout the process of dealing with the after-effects of your childhood trauma and beyond, a good night’s sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy mind which allows you to let your feelings go and move on to a successful future.
15. Seek help when it’s not working
If you’ve tried the steps in the process and looked after your health, but you feel it’s not working and nothing is getting better, it may be time to admit that you need the help of a professional to get you through it. Do not interpret this as a failure on your part, but rather a need for support.
When you see a professional, you will be able to discuss the events that occurred in your childhood. They will then guide you through the process of identifying, understanding, acknowledging, and expressing the emotions you felt and still feel. Sometimes, the trauma is so great that you cannot deal with it alone and to have an impartial professional help you may be the only way you’re going to manage. Don’t be ashamed by consulting a professional and avoid it. All you’re doing is making the effects of your childhood trauma worse and jeopardizing your chances of recovering from it.
If at any stage during the process you feel the symptoms of depression engulfing you, consult a professional immediately. When depression is not dealt with, it worsens. A depressed person feels like they are at the bottom of a pit trying to climb out. The longer they postpone treatment, the deeper the pit will become and the harder it will be to climb out of it.
Symptoms of depression include but are not limited to feelings of helplessness, mood swings, insomnia, drastic changes in the appetite, a lack of interest in things that used to excite you and reduced libido. A professional will diagnose you and determine if you need antidepressant medication, therapy or a combination of both.