How Trauma Affects Your Physical Body — 4 Steps You Need To Take To Heal

Everyone carries around at least some trauma.

woman smoking getty

Has trauma impacted your physical well-being? How does trauma affect your body?

There are two things everyone should know about this. 

First, trauma isn’t just the big stuff. For some trauma survivors, a distinct incident leaves a lasting mark on their minds and bodies. Physical assault, natural disasters, and systemic oppression are some examples.

RELATED: How To Turn Your Trauma Into Something Meaningful


For others, it looks a little different: an untreated childhood fear, a bad breakup, or a lie their culture tells them — one that they buy into and beat themselves up over.  

Regardless of your experiences, you’ve suffered from trauma in some form. 

Second, trauma is an injury. If you break a leg, you’ll most likely head straight to the hospital to get a cast. The cast will help the bone to heal correctly. 

When you treat trauma like an injury, you can take the time to feel it and then heal it. 

How does trauma affect your body and physical health?

Trauma can be like indigestion. The food you eat has the capacity to help you or to harm you (double cheeseburger, I’m looking at you). 


Like the wrong food choice, trauma is anything that overwhelms your brain’s ability to process in a healthy way.

Trauma left unhealed can show up as migraines, digestive issues, chronic pain, and more.

That’s because the brain and body connect. Understanding this connection can help you lead a stronger, healthier life.  

So how do you heal the impacts of trauma? With the right environment and the right resources, you can process trauma in a healthy way.

Here are 4 ways to heal your trauma, according to experts.

1. Don’t compare your trauma to others.

If you haven’t had a tragedy, catastrophe, or some other traumatic event in your life, that doesn’t mean your trauma won’t impact your well-being. And even if you have, you are sure to experience more at varying degrees. 


To avoid the comparison trap, a great suggestion is to replace your "buts" with "ands."

For example, instead of saying, "I’m struggling with this feeling, but it’s not as bad as it could be," try saying, "I have a pretty great life and I also have places where I feel pain."

RELATED: What Is Past Life Traumatic Stress Disorder + Signs You Have Unhealed Emotional Wounds

2. Adjust your self-talk.

Spend some time exploring how you talk to yourself. Identify negative statements that shame and replace them with more positive statements that uplift you.

One way to do so is to talk to yourself the way you would talk to someone you care about: a child you love or your best friend. Be kind to yourself and your body will respond accordingly. 


3. Pay attention to your body.

The brain-body connection is powerful and one way to explore it is to pay attention to what does and doesn’t make you feel safe. When you are content, your body tells you so by feeling calm and relaxed.

When you’re nervous or upset, you get very different signals.

Untreated trauma will continue to surface until it’s dealt with. Take note of what your body is saying and give it the time and energy to heal. 

4. Validate your feelings.

Don’t discount your feelings, no matter how outlandish. For example, after a trying day, you may feel the urge to curl up with a bad movie and eat an entire box of donuts.


It’s not healthy to do so, but there’s a reason your body wants to. 

Instead of giving in, explore the feeling behind the desire and work on the root cause of why you want to make a poor choice.

With practice, you’ll be able to better understand your feelings, own them, and move forward in a healthy way. 

RELATED: How To Recognize If Your Childhood Trauma Is Affecting You As An Adult (& How To Heal)

Hilary DeCesare is the Founder and CEO of The ReLaunch Co. She’s appeared on ABC’s The Secret Millionaire and on major news outlets such as CBS, ABC, Fox, Huffington Post, and Yahoo, and offers several ReLaunch courses and coaching. To connect with her directly or for media requests please email