(The direct effects of Stress and Trauma on your Health, and what to do about it.)
Stress feeds on stress; lack of sleep often causes unhealthy food cravings and mood swings.
The most common cause of Autoimmune Diseases is STRESS. It almost seems too simple to be true.
"What about chemicals, food, vaccinations? Are you telling me that my worries caused my Fibromyalgia?"
Well, stress is not only the worry you feel when your wallet is empty or when your boss keeps moving the deadline closer and closer to today. Stress is your body's reaction to a challenge or demand.
There are two main types of stress:
- The internal or intangible stress like mental stress and emotional stress,
- The external or material stress like chemical stress and physical stress.
To understand these types further, take a look at the table below:
Now you can see that you are exposed to these stressors most of the time.
What makes this stress manifest in a specific section of the population as an autoimmune disease is a frequency and severity of the stress in their life, the health of their immune system, sensitivity to stress, predispositions, family DNA and history, and other factors.
Being exposed to stress so often starts a vicious cycle in motion: one type of stress can start another type of stress. For example:
Emotional stress of feeling lonely → mental stress of thinking “I am not good enough” → chemical stress of eating processed food for comfort → physical stress of lack of sleep → chemical stress of sugary drink for energy → mental stress on the way to work…→ …and so on, and so forth...
You can easily recognize that the stressors existing outside of you or the material, tangible stressors are easier to manage and change. You can:
- Change detergents and cleaning supplies and be good for a month!
- Get a water filter and be good for weeks!
- Get rid of your TV and your sleep will improve immediately ;)
- Turn off your router at night.
- Change your diet to whole foods and organic and feel better in a day!
Stressors inside of you, intangible, non-material stressors are much harder to change! First, you have to be aware of those stressors to be able to make something about it. Some of the stressors that are the hardest to get rid of are:
- Repeating thought patterns.
- Emotional Triggers.
- Unresolved Trauma.
- Limiting Beliefs.
- Coping mechanisms.
Stressors inside of you, like repressed emotions and limiting beliefs, reside mostly outside of your waking consciousness and awareness. To recognize them, you have to actually do some WORK.
The first step to recognizing the emotional and mental stressors is knowing where did the internal stressor come from? How were beliefs, thought and emotional patterns, and triggers FORMED in the first place?
The origin of your beliefs thought patterns, emotional triggers, and self-sabotage lies in:
- Your upbringing and how you were parented,
- The socialization process you went through,
- The cultural values you were brought up in,
- The religion your family indoctrinated you in.
The environment you grew up in and the events in your life shaped how you think, and by extension, who you are today.
As you were able to conclude by now, trauma (in its different forms) has something significant to do with the many types and kinds of stress we experience in our life.
But what is trauma, really?
Trauma is simply stress without resolution. It makes you feel unsafe and out of control. A traumatic event is ANY event that makes you experience stress and you cannot resolve it right away. In Conclusion, traumatic events are not only accidents, deaths, rape, murder, losing a house in a fire, and other similar, extreme, visible events. Traumatic events are also:
- Reaching out for your mum’s love and protection in the moment of fear (waking up from a nightmare) and finding her disapproval and frustration instead (because you woke her up in the middle of the night, and she has an important meeting in the morning).
- Being laughed at and made fun of by your classmates when you were presenting something or giving a speech.
- Not having your feelings validated and being told: “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about”.
- Being stuck in between parents during a dispute or divorce and feeling like you cannot choose sides, because you will be punished either way, but still being pressured by both parents to choose a side.
- Being punished for having fun while your drunk dad has a crappy mood and cannot stand your joy and laughter.
You can recall memories of those above-mentioned events because they happened after you reached a certain age, but trauma also occurs in your infancy and also during the time you were in your mother’s womb! The electrical impulses and chemical signals (stress hormones, etc.) were produced in your body during those developmental stages. Your body felt sensations and emotions even when you were just an embryo.
Stress influences every single cell in a body, including your mother’s eggs and your father’s sperm that you came from! Some of the very early trauma includes:
- Feeling attacked when the umbilical cord was cut.
- Feeling assaulted when you were vaccinated.
- Feeling abandoned when mom wouldn’t pick you up from the crib in a timely fashion.
- Feeling unloved when you refused food because you felt full and mom was still forcing food into your mouth.
- Feeling unsafe when mom was worrying about money.
- Feeling threatened when mom fought/argued with dad.
- Feeling attacked when mom was given drugs during delivery.
- Feeling out of control when mom fell down the stairs.
In addition to the trauma that happens in your life, you are also (to some extent) experiencing or expressing the trauma your parents, grandparents, and ancestors experienced.
“Traumatic experiences in childhood increase the risk of developing behavioral and psychiatric disorders later in life. It is also known that the consequences of trauma can likewise be observed in the children of people affected even if those children have themselves not experienced any trauma”.
Science Daily: “Not only trauma but also the reversal of trauma is inherited”, June 23, 2016
How can you inherit trauma? Is it possible?
The newest research in epigenetics tells us that people inherit gene changes from traumas that our ancestors experienced. Trauma does not affect the DNA sequencing itself, but the actual function of the genes. When trauma occurs, our bodies make a physiological change to better manage the stress. Our bodies adapt, and survival mechanisms (unconscious behaviors) emerge. This adaptive change can then be passed down to our children in our DNA preparing them to deal with similar trauma. This is how we survived thousands of years as a species. The not-so-good news about this wonderful, natural process is that we inherit our ancestors’ trauma, and that also means their fears, their anger, their grief, their shutdowns.
We are literally an expression of our ancestral DNA.
“At the molecular level, these behavioral alterations are associated with an increased level of the glucocorticoid receptor in the hippocampus -- a brain area essential for cognitive processes and that contributes to stress responses. This altered expression results from an epigenetic dysregulation of the gene for the receptor that binds stress hormones like cortisone. The activity of this gene is normally reduced by DNA methylation, an epigenetic mark that silences genes. Traumatic experiences lead to the removal of some of these DNA methylation marks which results in an increase in gene activity and an increased production of the glucocorticoid receptor”.
Science Daily: “Not only trauma but also the reversal of trauma is inherited”, June 23, 2016
The bad news:
- Only some people link their unexplained fears, depression, anxiety, grief, sadness, and similar emotion with the emotional states of our parents and grandparents (or even our collective, social traumas like holocaust, slavery or tribal genocide).
- Instead, we believe that WE are the problem, that something is wrong with us!
- And this is the worst part: our unconscious patterns (survival mechanisms) can be passed on to our future generations. Our children can suffer from our unhealed pain and hurt.
The Good News:
You can heal your and your ancestors’ trauma!
Yes! You have the power to end the trauma and self-sabotaging patterns your family has been experiencing in the past! Some say that the unresolved pain will be passed onto future generations until someone will have the courage to feel it. There are many techniques and modalities that will guide you through completing trauma, both ancestral and yours. My favorite is the Metaphysical Anatomy Technique, which is the basis of my Total Life Transformation Program.
Some techniques used in trauma release/completion and emotional healing include:
- Metaphysical Anatomy Technique
- Family Constellations
- EFT Tapping
- Neuro Emotional Technique
- Somatic Experiencing
- Holotropic Breathwork
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
- Psychedelic Therapy
- The Emotion Code
How does trauma cause Autoimmunity?
When trauma occurs, our bodies make a physiological change to better manage the stress. Our bodies adapt, and survival mechanisms (unconscious behaviors) emerge.
Remember that each technique of releasing trauma was designed around certain concepts in psychology, biology, and metaphysics. Because MAT is my favorite technique for completing trauma, healing, and personal growth, I will be describing the technique, definitions and language of MAT from now on.
Examples for Autoimmunity (Examples from Evette Rose’s book “Metaphysical Anatomy Vol. 1”):
- You often feel attacked and are always in defense mode (fight and flight). This results in the body always fighting or resisting anything and anyone that might seem suspicious. Your immune system suffers due to emotional exhaustion.
- You were often under a great deal of scrutiny. You could never do anything right and felt punished and attacked by people who should have guided and supported you. Your perception and understanding of what safety feels like has been affected by emotional abuse. In order to feel safe, you subconsciously abused yourself (autoaggression=autoimmunity).
- Your existence didn’t feel important enough because you were suppressed and silenced. You were programmed that kind and giving people should never create conflict. Expression of emotions was disapproved by the influential people in your life. You learned that in order to feel included in your family, you have to suppress yourself, and could never fight for your own rights. Conflict with others was internalized.
At this moment you might wonder: "Do I need to know exactly what traumatic event caused my ailment?"
The good news is that you don't need to know what event caused your emotional trauma, or who did you inherit it from. In fact, you don't even need to relive the traumatic event you are now aware of in order to heal it. That could traumatize you further and deepen your emotional wounds. The more you know about it, the deeper and more thorough healing can be done on it, but ultimately, the way you feel is a doorway to trauma completion.
The key to resolving trauma is EMOTION!
Emotion is a sensation in the body. It is composed of neurochemical signals that make you “feel” a certain way. The moment you assign meaning to an emotion, you create a feeling. One specific emotion, like guilt, can be connected to numerous individual memories. You can recall many memories when you felt guilt, so how are you supposed to know exactly which event was traumatic enough to cause your DNA to change? That is the reason why we work with emotions, rather than memories when we are releasing trauma.
The reason why ailments are persistent and difficult to heal is that having a certain ailment keeps you safe.
Yes, I know this fact is hard to swallow, but let me explain. There is a secondary gain involved with experiencing a certain ailment or block. Your subconscious mind does not use logic and reason, and even though you consciously want to heal or move on, you end up self-sabotaging your efforts.
- Secondary Gain: the hidden, unconscious benefit coming from an otherwise “negative” behavior or action. This might include: staying safe from abandonment by sabotaging new romantic relationships or staying safe from failure by sabotaging one’s success.
- Self-sabotage: any action that is delaying your growth and healing you want to achieve on a conscious level. On an unconscious level, there is no such thing as self-sabotage; all sabotaging behaviors are actually keeping you safe from perceived danger.
So what can you do to start releasing trauma, to finally make progress in your healing?
Your body's job is to keep you safe. You know that your body will heal on its own, it the environment is right and when you don't interfere with its natural healing processes. When you cut your finger you do not have to tell your body to start producing white blood cells and new skin cells to close out the wound- your body does it on its own! S
So what interfered with your body's ability to heal? What emotional trauma (and the neurochemical signals) caused it to stay "sick"?
First, you need to know how the root cause trauma made you feel. What was the first initial emotion (or combination of neurochemical signals) that was not resolved?
1. Find out your secondary gain:
Ask yourself what is the benefit of not healing this problem? What would be the worst thing that can happen if you heal this problem now?
2. Explore family trauma:
What traumatic events is your family not talking about? Was your family involved in accidents, violent disputes or wars? Were there any victims of violence in your family?
3. Talk to your disease
If your ailment had a voice, what would it say to you? Would it have any requests? How would it behave? What would it ask you to do?
Once you know what happened or how you felt at the time of experiencing trauma, you can release it. Everything is ENERGY! The “stuck” emotion (the neurochemical signal turning survival instincts on) is a form of energy. To release one type of energy you use another type to direct and guide it “out”. The key to a successful release is INTENTION; focused energy cuts through problems like a laser.
Energies used to release trauma:
- Writing about it (transferring the energy of that stuck emotion onto paper) and then burning the paper down (releasing it to the Ether, the Universe, back to God, etc.),
- Visualizing the energy (in your mind's eye) and using your imagination to visualize it being either transferred to a ball of light, having it dissolve in light, having angels take it from you, etc.,
- Use of crystals or magnets to “suck” up the emotion like a sponge,
- Pranayama- using the breath to bring life force to the emotion and removing it with an outbreath.
You have to be careful not to disassociate from trauma instead of releasing it. Dissociation can be helpful in the initial moments after trauma, for example, to get you out to safety after an accident. Releasing trauma is what enables you to heal, and disassociating, bypassing and ignoring the problem will never get you better for good.
Releasing vs. Disassociating
- Letting go of an emotion
- The emotion has no subconscious power
- You move on
- Lasting change
- You learn something
- Suppressing an emotion
- The emotion continues to influence you
- It comes back in a different form
- Temporary relief
- You will learn something
How the Metaphysical Anatomy Technique can help?
MAT is a powerful yet gentle personal development technique based on trauma release. What makes this technique different from most trauma release therapies is the fact that in MAT session you do not need to relive your trauma! In fact, clients can often resolve trauma easily by identifying its hidden benefit of, also known as secondary gain.
MAT session can and does dissolve the trauma from the body, the brain, and the limbic system. The client becomes free from emotional blocks, and the trauma is released, allowing the positive emotional resources to resurface. The client starts to make better decisions subconsciously, this time not in avoidance of perceived threat, nor providing hidden benefits, but in accordance with her own true desires. Life harmonizes and client evolves into a more free, responsible, authentic version of herself.
I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. I thought (thanks to Functional Medicine) that my Hashi was caused by:
- my in utero exposure to radiation
- antibiotic use and destruction of the gut microbiome
- gluten in diet
During my MAT sessions, I found out the emotional trauma that predisposed my sensitivity to the above-mentioned events, that in the end caused my autoimmunity. That trauma was:
- my grandmother's stress during WW2 (having to stay low and quiet to survive),
- my experience with humiliation in early childhood,
- my self-sabotaging pattern of overgiving and the inability to say "no" in many situations (poor personal boundaries).
After having just 2 MAT sessions done on me, I experienced:
- better inflammatory markers (better blood test results),
- less severe consequences of accidental gluten exposure,
- emotional upliftment and personal confidence,
- better relations with my own mother.
Having that positive experience, I couldn't help myself but to incorporate MAT in my coaching and build a MAT based Life Transforming program for other women like me.
I wholeheartedly believe that finding out what stuck emotion is preventing your symptoms from healing, gently releasing that emotion, and inviting the suppressed positive resources to surface is the secret to finally healing on a very deep level.
We make over 80% of our decisions from our subconscious mind. How long will you keep on letting the wounded you make decisions based on fear, pain, and anger? How long will you allow yourself to suffer?
As my gift to you, I incorporated one full MAT session in my coaching program as well. To read more about it and to apply for coaching, visit my website.
Let me know what questions you might have about trauma, stress, emotions or the subconscious mind in the comments below.
Other Sources: “THE GHOST IN OUR GENES: LEGAL AND ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF EPIGENETICS” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3034450/