Why An 'Energy Shift' Can Make All The Difference In Releasing Trauma

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The book What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-written by Oprah Winfrey and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry, asserts that healing from any past traumatic event must begin with the question, "What happened to you?" rather than "What’s wrong with you?"

While this change in perspective is an important first step in healing, it won’t generate an energy shift powerful enough to truly alter the quality of your life.

Finding lasting resolution, peace, and resilience from the so-called negative experiences of your life requires you to connect with the emotional energy surrounding that event.

Then, bring yourself into alignment with the underlying desire that was born within you as a result.

RELATED: How The Impact Of Trauma On Your Brain Helps You Heal

Therapy alone won't heal serious trauma.

Traditional psychological approaches address only the first half of this equation in healing.

In talk therapy, you're encouraged to describe your trauma in vivid detail, as if recounting the story will release you from the pain you've associated with it.

In truth, the more often you tell the tale of your victimization, the more you practice the vibration of victimhood.

The painful experience may have taken place long in your distant past, but your replaying of it keeps the energy of it alive within you.

Unless you connect with, release, and re-purpose the energy that was triggered inside you as a result of a traumatic event, you'll keep replaying the same drama in new settings and with different casts of characters.

When you shift your energy, the process will alter your perspective of any painful event from, "Why did this happen to me?" to "Thank God this happened for me!"

Here are 3 steps to create an energy shift to help release trauma. 

1. Give yourself permission to really feel the emotion.

In the same way wallowing in unwanted emotions keeps that energy activated within you, avoiding or suppressing your feelings also invites them to persist.

If you doubt this, just think back to a time when you tried not to feel sad, angry, or afraid, and you’ll realize that resistance simply doesn’t work.

When you actually allow yourself to feel and process an emotion fully, at the moment it’s triggered, it dissipates on its own.

What's left in the space of that negative emotion is ease, neutrality, relief, and a genuine energy shift from the lower, slower emotional state.

From this more centered state of being, you can begin building momentum toward what's desired, rather than squandering energy on resisting or complaining about what's not.

How do you "feel in" to your emotions?

The next time you find yourself getting upset about something that’s happened to you in the past, take a quiet moment to connect with the emotion that’s present within you.

Close your eyes, take some long, slow, deep breaths, and do your best to welcome whatever is happening within you, at that moment.

Allow your awareness to rest in the places within your body where the emotion is present — usually, in the area of your heart or solar plexus.

Continue to breathe into the feeling, and notice that it’s simply energy that hasn’t been given permission to flow.

As you continue to focus all of your attention on the energy behind this emotion, you will begin to feel a subtle pulsation.

Continue to follow this pulsation with your awareness and your breath, and notice that the energy is not fixed, but in a constant state of flux.

As you grant your feelings permission to exist and embrace them, rather than resist them, they begin to dissipate and release.

RELATED: This Is Why Your Trauma Still Affects You (& How To Heal)

2. Bring in the energy of compassion.

Self-compassion is an essential step in creating an energy shift.

Judgment is a defensive stance that deflects the very peace you're seeking. But when you offer loving kindness toward yourself and others, you're in a much better position to receive.

Recognizing the humanity in any person or situation is the key to unlocking compassion.

The human experience exists along a continuum of opposite values.

We live in a world of polarity, which means that unwanted experiences are necessary to give birth to new desires.

You would not desire pleasure if you had never known pain. You wouldn’t value security had you not experienced feeling insecure.

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In the absence of longing or hunger or loneliness, love, fulfillment, and satisfaction would not taste as sweet. The human experience is built upon the co-existence of opposites.

You may label some experiences as "good" and others "bad," but all are essential, for they contribute to your expansion.

Do your best to view what happened to you through the eyes of compassion. Nothing went wrong — it was all part of your journey as a human.

Every experience contributed in some way to your expansion, and to you becoming the person you most want to be. In living something unwanted, you have given birth to a powerful desire about what you do want.

3. Bring in the energy that you now desire to reside in.

As you reflect on the unwanted aspects of what happened to you, allow yourself to identify what you want to experience in this area of your life.

Notice that the contrast of having lived something unwanted is where clarity about what you do want is born. There's power in clarity and incredible strength in desire.

Allow yourself to see the ways in which the contrasting experience you have lived has generated new desires and intentions within you.

What awareness, understanding, or appreciation do you now possess as a direct result of living this contrast? What do you now desire to create?

Allow more of your attention to be more focused on the new desire than on the incident that gave birth to it.

You're not what happened to you. Realignment is possible.

What’s happened to you in the past is not easy to ignore. After all, it’s up close and personal in your life experience.

But if you continue to give the majority of your attention to what happened, you will continue to re-create that experience.

To create a different outcome, you must find a way to align yourself with what you do want. Once you've made this crucial shift in energy, the circumstances will naturally begin to turn around.

RELATED: How Adding Structure To Your Life Can Help Heal Trauma & Make You Feel Safe

Christy Whitman is a transformational leader, celebrity coach, and a New York Times bestselling author. Her latest book, “The Desire Factor: How to Embrace Your Materialistic Nature to Reclaim Your Full Spiritual Power,” was released in April of 2021. For more information, please visit her website.