Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursday's Therapy - 25 Trauma Bombers for Our Traumatized Systems! ~Tommy and Angie Prince

Thursday's Therapy

25 Trauma Bombers!

~Tommy and Angie Prince

Removing yourself from unnecessary stressors is a start for soothing our grief-torn hearts. For example, if I find myself around people who have a toxic effect on me, I remove myself from that contact since my system is already severely stressed as it is -- it certainly does not need any unnecessary, added distress!

But let's face it, our life amidst years of severe grief IS stressful!

Tommy and I are finding in these past few months, there has been such internal distress, that it seems our own bodies are turning against us!

Animals, when they experience danger, first instinctively do what is called for to survive, but immediately afterwards, they seem to exhibit a physiological tremor that seems to course through their whole body, almost as a way to "shake off" the severe distress they have just undergone.

So too we are discovering we must find ways to release our severe distress.

Some grievers write that they cannot seem to get out of bed they are so depressed and sad over losing their child. And, yes, sleep can be a comfort, but it seems

The body needs forms of movement to unleash the healthy hormones that are, as Tommy's doctor said this week, sitting back just waiting to be released so that they can beat back the pathological symptoms caused by stress and trauma!

For us, it seems stress can start churning up our insides if it is not somehow directed out, to find a pathway of relief. For one thing, we are learning,

"Exercise IS medicine that can start the healing process!"

~Dr. Esther Sternberg

Tommy and I watched "The Science of Healing," a National Geographic documentary this week that held some interesting clues for our healing:

Hans Selye first coined the term "stress" in examining,

"Can our emotions make us sick?"

Neuroimmunologist Esther Sternberg, M.D. narrated the documentary as she examined how stress can affect our immune system. She noted that amidst our extremely stressful environments (stating 1/3 of all Americans live with extreme stress), we need to realize our brains have the ability to help us heal.

Sternberg herself was experiencing rheumatoid arthritis, but the anti-inflammatory medicines she was on were not giving her any relief. About that time her next door neighbors offered her their vacation home in Crete for a writing sabbatical. When she moved to Crete for this wonderful get-away, she became shocked to find herself beginning to heal as she began to absorb the Greek culture which she found to be so different from our own.

She noticed the Greeks seem to pace themselves according to the rhythms of the days and seasons (instead of our typical fighting against the grain, they seemed to work with the grain of their elements and surroundings.) Walking daily to market to get her groceries, eating the healthy Mediterranean diet amidst loving, fun people, dancing together to festive Greek music with laughter and camaraderie, taking daily walks along the picturesque beach and through lovely wooded areas filled with their native flowers, swimming daily in the beautiful Mediterranean, Sternberg began to notice a healing effect on her stressed-out immune system. (She noted, even the olive oil she was enjoying in her meals was in itself an anti-inflammatory!)

This new lifestyle was so healing that she discovered her rheumatoid arthritis was beginning to heal! Esther found new hope that she could change her life back home in America in such a way as to induce more healing and wholeness for herself!

The following activities and experiences seem to be calming stress-busters, or as we call them,

25 "Trauma Bombers" for Our Traumatized Systems:

  • Aerobic exercise (movement that increases the heart-rate for a sustained 20 to 30 minutes a day)
  • Laughing
  • Moving or dancing to music
  • Socializing with safe people
  • Giving compassion and receiving compassion among safe people (It seems obvious that receiving compassion relieves stress, but did you know giving compassion has been found also to relieve stress?!)
  • Partaking in healthy eating (such as Sternberg's Mediterranean diet)
  • Gentle walking, as in a labyrinthe (concentric circles) ~ or for me, just mowing our grass!
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Painting
  • Listening to gospel music (which research has shown effectively bypasses the mind and cuts straight through to minister to the heart and soul).
  • Breathing in pleasant aromas such as smelling the flowers flourishing around you (aromas, which Sternberg's brain research demonstrates, go straight through to soothe the emotions!)
  • Sculpting
  • Writing poetry
  • Learning new things (like the myriad challenges throughout navigating the internet, for one)
  • Starting a blog
  • Doing projects with a safe friend (Tommy enjoys working on our cars with another child-loss father, in which there is much constant movement, and a concentration needed that provides a constructive reprieve from the ever-constant agitation and pain of grief) {Psychological research seems to indicate men seem to prefer working shoulder-to-shoulder with other men, while women seem to prefer communing face-to-face with other women as each, in their own preferred way, walk through their child-loss grief.}
  • Gardening, or designing a garden
  • Meditating
  • Going through guided imagery
  • Meditating in scripture and prayer before God (I find much healing by going before God with my authentic emotions, allowing Him to minister to me and reveal His deep comfort and love to me.)
  • Showing gratitude
  • Counting blessings
  • Reading
  • Watching edifying movies
  • Spending time in nature, absorbed in the rhythms of God's handiwork and graceful, gentle breezes

Pictures, thanks to


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