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Understanding Your Brain's Response to Psychological Trauma

August 01, 20233 min read

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness yet still become something beautiful." - Beau Taplin


Clare Deacon Happya HappyaCoach

In today’s article I’m delving into the intricate connection between trauma and your brain.

By understanding how trauma affects your brain and implementing approaches supported by science, we can embark on a journey of personal transformation, and healing.

Let’s navigate this topic together and uncover how to promote well-being after trauma.

Did you know the impact of psychological trauma can have a physical impact on your brain?

Psychological trauma can leave an indelible mark on the brain, adapting its structure and its function. When faced with a traumatic event the brain initiates what is commonly known as the fight or flight mechanism, releasing stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. Repeated, prolonged, or significant psychological trauma can disrupt your stress response system and trigger lasting alterations to your brain’s neural pathways.

Brain Trauma Recovery

The Amygdala, the part of your brain at the heart of your emotional processing of fear and anxiety can become hypersensitive or even “stuck” prolonging feelings of emotional distress, intensifying your reactions causing you to be hypersensitive and reactive.

The Hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for interpreting and consolidating memories, can also become impaired making it difficult to interpret safety from danger.

The Prefrontal Cortex, the brain’s head of rational thinking, decision-making, and impulse control can be hindered, compromising emotional regulation and sound judgement.

Trauma can cast a shadow on our wellbeing and mental health long after the immediate consequences. Our acceptance of this is complicated because we don’t have the same visual signals as we do when there is a physical trauma. Our brains are so complex, and neuroscience is still in its infancy making it difficult to find all the answers. You are unique so your experience and responses are too, in a universe where we like to find order by categorising so we can understand it better when it comes to our brains, it just isn’t that easy.

Trauma can result in a range of difference responses including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), leaving us with unwanted memories, nightmares, hypervigilance, and more. It can lead to anxiety and depression causing various challenges in our lives. Many trauma survivors turn to addiction as a coping mechanism.

Recognising the impact of trauma and exploring potential interventions helps manage symptoms effectively but healing takes more. Engaging with expert, qualified professionals is a pivotal step towards healing and personal growth. If you have experienced trauma and want to make a change its time to dedicate your energies into healing. Make sure you surround yourself with a network of individuals who can provide support and understanding, who will show you compassion. Embrace mindfulness practices to ease anxiety to become grounded in the present helping to facilitate emotional regulation.

Whilst the psychological consequences of trauma can be profound, the path to healing and recovery remains in reach. Having the knowledge about the brain’s response to trauma and combining it with effective strategies, we can embark on a journey towards recovery, enabling you to find a happya you. You are not alone on this journey.

Thank you for joining me at Happya. I trust you’ve gained some valuable insight into the connection between trauma and the brain. Until our next exploration of a Happya Life take care and show yourself the compassion you deserve.

with gratitude

Clare Deacon Happya HappyaCoach

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Clare Deacon

Clare Deacon, is a Trauma-Informed Positive Psychology Coach and Therapist helping transform people’s lives from being stuck, overwhelmed, and discontent, hindered by past trauma into being confident, energized, and focused ready to fulfil their potential. Clare is an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, public speaker, and podcast host. She holds a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching, is a qualified clinical hypnotherapist, EFT practitioner, and is qualified in counselling skills.

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