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Daniella Saunders

Health Coach, Philosopher, Spiritual Counsellor

Enlightened_Health_RGB-01

Daniella Saunders

Health Coach, Philosopher, Spiritual Counsellor

Stress, Trauma and Emotional Health

Consultations are available for any aspect of emotional health including:

Emotional regulation: anxiety, fear, depression, panic, frustration, anger, stress reduction

Overcoming trauma: somatic release, emotion as a process, developing trust and intimacy, existential concerns, understanding mind, thought and memory

Life skills: assertiveness, healthy boundaries, creating change, dissolving unhelpful beliefs, life purpose

Moving beyond loss: bereavement, illness, finances, personal identity, relationships

Living with emotional challenges: parenting, finances, work, social interaction, adjusting to life, relationships

Stress, Trauma and Emotional Healing

The link between ongoing stress, emotions or unresolved psychological or emotional trauma is well documented.  Perhaps the most well known recent research is the 'ACE' study of adverse childhood experiences which clearly demonstrates a correlation between stressful or traumatic experiences and chronic illness including heart disease, cancer, depression, and shortened life span. In addition, there is a well recognised link between adverse childhood experiences and addictive behaviour.

People who have experienced such difficulties fall into 2 broad camps: those who already recognise that they have experienced trauma, and those who have no recognition of this fact. This is a phenomenon which is often seen on people who are in abusive or controlling relationships - there may be no conscious awareness of the problem or the behavioural patterns that often follow. One of the most common difficulties in resolving stress or trauma is that it is often invisible to the person experiencing it.  This is why having support from a suitably experienced coach who has this awareness can be invaluable.

Another fundamental issue which is often overlooked is the approach to resolving trauma or ongoing stress. The difference in view toward  mind and body in Eastern and Western cultures is central to how trauma is resolved. In general, Western cultures tend to focus on treating the mind as a separate entity to the body.  This can be seen in the discipline of psychology. But when the focus of healing is on controlling the mind, there is a tendency to ignore the extent to which body and mind are one organism. If unresolved stress or trauma continues to exist and to build up without physical release, health is likely to suffer as a result.

Ongoing Stress, Emotions and Illness

Here are a few examples of issues commonly found in people who have chronic conditions:

Unresolved grief or bereavement

History of childhood abuse

Dysfunctional family circumstances

Being bullied, either as a child or an adult

Life threatening illness or disability

Overwhelming life experiences and stressors

Ongoing and relentless stress

 

Emotions and the Stress Response

The stress response is a great way of your body protecting itself from impending danger.  It allows you to access the physical requirements needed to run away, fight your attacker, or remain unnoticed. ie fight, flight or freeze. However, the stress response can affect health if it remains active for a prolonged period of time.

In an acute situation the stress response produces highly desirable traits, you escape from the danger, and your body returns to normal. However, when this response remains switched on for a prolonged period of time, so the corresponding physical attributes, and this may create problems for your  health.

The autonomic nervous system controls physical processes which are largely unconscious including heart rate, digestive function, respiratory rate and vascular response.  It is divided into 2 main components: The sympathetic nervous system activates physiological changes in response to a perceived threat, and the parasympathetic nervous system restores the body back to homeostasis following a stress trigger.

Some effects of the acute stress response can be seen here:

The stress response and health

Long Term Effects on Health

If the stress response is switched on for a prolonged period of time because of emotional stress, it can begin to produce undesired physical effects, including:

  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Hypertension
  • Adrenal & metabolic dysfunction
  • Headaches
  • Blood sugar dysregulation
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Muscle pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Heightened emotional reactivity
  • Inflammatory disorders

If you are constantly experiencing  emotional stress then you become susceptible to all the long-term health problems which go hand-in-hand with an activated stress response.

So, gaining understanding about how your emotions work is a very important aspect of maintaining good long term health. Often it is the fear of our experiencing our emotions which can keep us stuck in a loop of anxiety.  Learning how to process your emotions and release them fully improves the physical effects of stress, and creates space for you to live life more fully.

The role of Soul-Connection in Overcoming Trauma, Loss and Overwhelm:

  • Addresses existential concerns, which are often overlooked in traditional therapies
  • Gives a sense of meaning to your experience
  • Helps you to understand and accept your circumstances, so that you can move beyond them more easily
  • Connects you with your higher purpose in life
  • Increases your ability to process difficult or overwhelming emotions
  • Provides an alternative way of understanding the nature of your mind and emotions; from within a spiritual, not intellectual context
  • Changes your perspective from thinking, through to a place of deep feeling and connection with life
Stress, Trauma and Chronic Illness

Managing Ongoing Emotional Stress

It is obviously sensible to initiate the parasympathetic response in order to counteract these harmful effects. The stress response and health can benefit by restoring homeostasis, and this in turn can be achieved by:

1. Changing perception of external events so that they no longer appear threatening, thus reducing the reaction to stress

2. Reducing or avoiding exposure to stress, where appropriate. This requires being able to accurately identify the cause of stress, which can be difficult in some instances. For example, if you have grown up in an abusive situation, the behaviour is normalised. Also, as a protective mechanism, your mind may repress the significance of the situation, creating a 'blind spot'.

3. Increasing exposure to situations which will stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This can be any form of relaxation  such as meditating, gardening, walking, or listening to calming music.

By switching off the stress response, and providing ample opportunity for homeostasis to occur, it becomes possible to improve your health  and well being.

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