This Simple Exercise Can Help You Overcome Trauma

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You don't have to live with the tension forever.

When I notice that I am feeling sorry for myself because of an upset or a disappointment, I recall a very kind and wise teacher I once knew who pointed out that people are like everyday china. He said that by the time we reach maturity, we all have some chips and cracks to remind us that life has tossed us about.

As a result, we have collected all kinds of scars. Some are physical and some psychological. Most people who come to me for therapy focus on negative emotions related to present day situations and relationships and often don't realize that they carry unhealed traumas from accidents, illnesses or unpleasant treatments with them for years after that event is over.

Although you may believe that you have gotten over the time you fell off your bike and broke your arm or had your tonsils removed when you were a child, these experiences may have left you with hidden emotional damage. For many years I was haunted by flashbacks of the time a sadistic dentist performed a root canal procedure on me when I was 20. Although the Novocain was not working he didn't stop although there were tears pouring down my face!

Another kind of surprising upset that many of us suffer from is called Diagnosis Trauma. This distress often occurs the moment the doctor tells you that something awful is wrong with you. Inwardly you may flinch, but you usually don't show it outwardly. You tend to suppress the shock and try your best to get on with your life and endure what is to come. Although you likely remember that moment, you may be unaware of the stress and anxiety that haven't gone away and are still buried in your mind and even parts of your body.

Many years ago, I received a letter with the results of my recent Pap test that informed me that my test result was positive. The first thing that came to my mind was that it meant that I had cancer. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was a death sentence! I couldn't stop worrying. As it turned out, when I went back to the doctor he discovered that it was an infection that was easily treated.

I decided to tell my doctor how upset I was when I received the diagnosis by mail and that if I was so frightened, it was likely that many other patients who received unpleasant news by mail would also be stressed. Luckily my gynecologist was a very caring and compassionate person. He had never realized that the cold and impersonal way the bad news was sent could traumatize his patients. Thereafter, he always told the patient in person if there was a problem diagnosis so she could avoid the possible trauma when hearing bad news.

But not all health practitioners act that way. Rachel, a student at one of my workshops, handled her stress in a different way. She told me that she had a very rare form of stomach cancer and was told that she did not have long to live. She went to many specialists trying to prolong her life. One day, she saw one of the most famous oncologists who specialized in treating her particular cancer. After the exam he took her into his office to discuss his findings. Rachel recalled that as he talked to her, he was doodling on a pad.

She was shocked to see that he was drawing an abdomen. There was no head, face, arms or legs, just a belly! Rachel was traumatized when she realized that she was just a body part to him. She said, "I was so mad at him that I decided that I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of dying. I was going to get back at him by staying alive." And that is just what she did.  When Rachel told me this story five years had elapsed since she had made that decision. She went on to astound her doctors by living for even more years after that.

Perhaps you can remember a time when you received a scary diagnosis or were terrified undergoing an MRI or painful procedure. Right this minute, you can stop and treat yourself with the simple acupressure method called EFT Tapping to release any fear or memories that are still lingering in your body or mind.

  1. Start by recalling your upsetting medical incident.
  2. Next, rate your negative feeling on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being a very intense negative emotion.
  3. Gently, using the fingertips of one hand, tap on the outside edge of your other hand and say, "Even though I am still carrying the trauma of that occurrence, I am letting go of all that fear and anxiety from my body and mind. The truth is that although it did happen, it is over and I survived!"
  4. Then, still feeling the upset, use your index and middle finger to gently touch or tap for about 3 seconds on the crown of your head, your eyebrow where the hair starts to grow near the nose, on the bony ridge on the outside of the eye socket, right under the lower lid of the eye, under the nose, under the lower lip, directly under the collarbone, and on the side of your body about 4 inches below the armpit.
  5. Finally, take a deep breath and let it out. Watch how the negative charge dissipates.

Bring the terrible memory to mind once more and rate it again to see if you are less upset. Keep repeating this procedure until your rating is at zero and you feel comfortable and peaceful. Then try to remember the original event once more. If there is still some negative emotion, tap some more. You will find complete instructions for using EFT in my free eBook, Creating Happiness. In this way, you can heal from that awful moment. Yes, you have been through some scary experiences, but you can remind yourself that you survived and are alive and okay right now!

Take advantage of a FREE phone consult with Gloria to tap away one of your scary memories. Discover other tips about how to use EFT in your life in Gloria's eBook EFT Tapping: 64 Quick & Easy Tips.

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Article contributed by

Gloria Arenson

Marriage and Family Therapist

Gloria Arenson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Diplomate in Comprehensive Energy Psychology and author of 7 books. She is passionate about helping people help themselves to be free of negative emotions and compulsive behaviors. 

www.GloriaArenson.com

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Credentials: DCEP, EFT-ADV, MFT, MS
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