This post contains some of the best childhood trauma quotes that will make you feel less alone.
Childhood Trauma Quotes
1. “Abuse is never contained to a present moment, it lingers across a person’s lifetime and has pervasive long-term ramifications.” ― Lorraine Nilon
2. “Abuse is never deserved, it is an exploitation of innocence and physical disadvantage, which is perceived as an opportunity by the abuser.” ― Lorraine Nilon
3. “After a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment.” – Judith Lewis Herman
4. “An unacknowledged trauma is like a wound that never heals over and may start to bleed again at any time.” – Alice Miller
5. “As noted, since we store our memories physically in our body, we are depositing our trauma physically in our body.” ― Kenny Weiss
6. “Children are not things to be molded, but people to be unfolded.” – Jess Lair
7. “Children grow up wounded due to someone’s emotional recklessness. We become adults who stay longer than they should, in relationships that offer very little in return.” ― Elelwani Anita Ravhuhali
Related: How To Break Free From Emotional Abuse? (& Stop Attracting Abusive Partners)
8. “Dissociation is the common response of children to repetitive, overwhelming trauma and holds the untenable knowledge out of awareness. The losses and the emotions engendered by the assaults on soul and body cannot, however be held indefinitely. In the absence of effective restorative experiences, the reactions to trauma will find expression. As the child gets older, he will turn the rage in upon himself or act it out on others, else it all will turn into madness.” ― Judith Spencer
9. “Emotional abuse can leave a victim feeling like a shell of a person, separated from the true essence of who they naturally are. It also leads to a victim feeling tormented and tortured by their own emotions.” ― Lorraine Nilon
10. “Emotional abuse is designed to undermine another’s sense of self.
It is deliberate humiliation, with the intent to seize control of how others feel about themselves.” ― Lorraine Nilon
11. “Even if you’ve accumulated a house full of nice things and the picture of your life fits inside a beautiful frame, if you have experienced trauma but haven’t excavated it, the wounded parts of you will affect everything you’ve managed to build.” – Oprah Winfrey
12. “Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery and emotional acceptance of the truth in the individual and unique history of our childhood.”― Alice Miller
13. “Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery and emotional acceptance of the truth in the individual and unique history of our childhood.” – Alice Miller
14. “For those of us who haven’t been taught how to deal with our trauma, we get stuck living in the worst day ever. The intense feelings of those moments replay themselves throughout our life because, in an effort to heal, we unintentionally and proactively seek them out and re-inflict them upon ourselves.” ― Kenny Weiss
Related: How To Break The Cycle Of Abuse? Top 10 Powerful Strategies To Stop Being An Abusive Person
15. “I also believe that forgiveness is appropriate only when parents do something to earn it. Toxic parents, especially the more abusive ones, need to acknowledge what happened, take responsibility, and show a willingness to make amends. If you unilaterally absolve parents who continue to treat you badly, who deny much of your reality and feelings, and who continue to project blame onto you, you may seriously impede the emotional work you need to do.” ― Susan Forward
16. “I realized that I was living my life backwards. I had to be a grown-up when I’d been a little boy, and now I was tending to the little boy who’d never had the chance to properly play… Had I not had the childhood I did, would these traits not be so at the forefront of my personality? Who knows? All I know is that I am the product of all the experiences I have had, good and bad.” ― Alan Cumming
17. “I see-sawed between feeling like a ten-year-old, unloved and abandoned, and a bone-tired person of a hundred.” ― Faith Scott
18. “If unloving mothers were able to see their behavious as abusive, they either would stop behaving that way or they would get help for their dysfunction. But many cannot: instead, they deny it, to themselves, their families, and the world at large, in order to avoid a sense of guilt, to avoid having to make changes in their lives, or to avoid the bruising awareness that they, too, were unloved children.” ― Victoria Secunda
Related: Healing From Childhood Emotional Neglect In 6 Steps (+FREE Worksheets PDF)
19. “If you are told from the time you are one month that you’re no good and you’re not smart and you can’t do it and you don’t have an opinion of your own and you pick the wrong friends and you don’t study the right way and you don’t wear the right clothes and you don’t look nice, at some point you’re going to start believing it. And if you believe it, you’re going to need a mommy to tell you what to do. And that’s abuse. Not to let your child grow up to be an independent, respected human being.” ― Victoria Secunda
20. “In order to survive her tumultuous childhood, Mary created another Fat Mary, a companion and consoler, who took away her hurts, fears, and questions and kept them safe until Mary was older and mature enough to process the abuse and neglect she had endured.” ― Maria Nhambu
21. “Just as verbally and physically abused children internalize blame, so do incest victims. However, in incest, the blame is compounded by the shame. The belief that ‘it’s all my fault’ is never more intense than with the incest victim. This belief fosters strong feelings of self-loathing and shame. In addition to having somehow to cope with the actual incest, the victim must now guard against being caught and exposed as a ‘dirty, disgusting’ person” ― Susan Forward
Related: Childhood Emotional Neglect Test
22. “Many abused children cling to the hope that growing up will bring escape and freedom. But the personality formed in the environment of coercive control is not well adapted to adult life. The survivor is left with fundamental problems in basic trust, autonomy, and initiative. She approaches the task of early adulthood――establishing independence and intimacy――burdened by major impairments in self-care, in cognition and in memory, in identity, and in the capacity to form stable relationships. She is still a prisoner of her childhood; attempting to create a new life, she reencounters the trauma.” ― Judith Lewis Herman
23. “Many daughters live out their lives avoiding or abiding or arguing with their mothers-burying the long-ago injury or insult or childhood deprivation under a blanket of forgetfulness-and not confronting it head-on. It’s humiliating to remember the ways in which one demeaned oneself in order to prevent being in a mother’s bad graces, the willingness to do anything in order to not be rejected, when rejection felt like death.” ― Victoria Secunda
24. “Most adult children of toxic parents grow up feeling tremendous confusion about what love means and how it’s supposed to feel. Their parents did extremely unloving things to them in the name of love. They came to understand love as something chaotic, dramatic, confusing, and often painful – something they had to give up their own dreams and desires for.” – Susan Forward
25. “Most of us learn in childhood to “cope”–which is to say ignore, numb, manage, or reinterpret reality. We do it to survive, but our relational instincts get bent in the process.” ― W. Allen Morris
26. “Not every adult is emotionally equipped to nurture and raise children, and we cannot afford to sweep these conversations under the rug anymore.” ― Elelwani Anita Ravhuhali
27. “One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” – Aldous Huxley
28. “People are afraid to heal because their entire identity is centered around the trauma they’ve experienced. They have no idea who they are outside of trauma and that unknown is terrifying.” – Ebonee Davis
Related: Are You An Adult Child of A Dysfunctional Family? 8 Dysfunctional Family Roles (& How To Overcome Them)
29. “Perhaps there was no more detrimental consequence of our childhood abandonment than being forced to habitually hide our authentic selves. Many of us come out of childhood believing that what we have to say is as uninteresting to others as it was to our parents.” – Pete Walker
30. “Persons in dysfunctional families characteristically do not feel because they learned from a young age that not feeling is necessary for psychic survival. Family members generally learn it is too painful to feel the hurt or to experience the fear that comes from feelings of rage, abandonment, moments of terror, and memories of horror.” ― Kathleen Heide
31. “Sexual abuse is an experience, not a definition to be encased in; you are far greater than any experience suffered through the insidiousness of indifference in the form of pedophilia. Reaching out for help is not a weakness, it is strength and courage in action. Recovery is not easy nor is it a quick process however, all souls are worth the effort required. Who you have come to believe you are can be very divergent from who your
naturally are.” ― Lorraine Nilon
32. “Soul Abuse is the destruction of a victim’s awareness of the strength within their soul. It stems from the abuser’s intention to corrupt another’s understanding of their own significance. ” ― Lorraine Nilon
33. “The fetus is biochemically connected to the mother, and her external, internal, physical, and mental health affect the overall development of the fetus. Stress and depression during pregnancy have been proven to have long-term and even permanent effects on the offspring. Such effects include a vulnerability to chronic anxiety, elevated fear, propensity to addictions, and poor impulse control.” ― Darius Cikanavicius
34. “The greater a child’s terror, and the earlier it is experienced, the harder it becomes to develop a strong and healthy sense of self.”― Nathaniel Branden
Related: Covert Verbal Abuse: What Is It & How To Recover From Verbal Abuse
35. “The sad thing that many of us empaths don’t realize is that often our desire to heal others is a disguised cry for help for our own healing. Because many of us weren’t taught how to value or nurture ourselves at a young age, we tend to unconsciously seek out our own healing in the healing of others.” ― Mateo Sol
36. “The true gut reaction is when we make a decision and we know in our gut it was the right thing to do. There is no negativity or fear of unknowns. We don’t question our decision. When it’s a trauma gut reaction, we know something doesn’t feel right. We make a decision based on that, but we second-guess ourselves.” ― Kenny Weiss
37. “Trauma happens to us. When it does, our authentic self and power is taken from us.” ― Kenny Weiss
38. “Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams healing can begin.” ― Danielle Bernock
39. “Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become experts at ignoring their gut feelings and numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.” – Bessel van der Kolk
40. “Triggers are like little psychic explosions that crash through avoidance and bring the dissociated, avoided trauma suddenly, unexpectedly, back into consciousness.” – Carolyn Spring
Related: Take The Childhood Trauma Test (ACE Score Test)
41. “Unaddressed trauma survives in a vacuum, fueling our thoughts and behaviors, so we inadvertently re-create the same feelings we had when we first experienced the trauma. We call this the Worst Day Cycle.” ― Kenny Weiss
42. “Unresolved trauma can take a significant toll on your physical health. Unresolved childhood trauma is particularly insidious, with effects that are both gradual and cumulative.” ― Arielle Schwartz
43. “We deny, suppress, repress, and minimize our trauma to preserve our self-concept. By doing so, we set ourselves up for repeating the cycle again.” ― Kenny Weiss
44. “We forget in order to survive our childhoods, when we are totally dependent on our parents’ goodwill; but to recover from such childhoods, we must begin by remembering-the bad and the good.” ― Victoria Secunda
45. “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” – Alexander Den Heijer
46. “When we become an expert in our trauma history and know how we self-victimize and drop into denial, we have an opportunity to create a new reality with a new neural pathway in our brain.” ― Kenny Weiss
Related: Top 35 Quotes About Adverse Childhood Experiences That Will Make You Feel Seen
47. “When we imagine the birth of a child, any child, we see a world that is safe. We envision a home filled with kindness and nurturance. While this home may not be perfect, it is a place where a child is able to learn and grow with curiosity and joy. Childhood trauma is a betrayal of this unspoken promise. ” – Arielle Schwartz
48. “Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a response to traumatic events that were ongoing or repeated. With childhood trauma, these events occurred in your early years and were likely to be unpredictable, chaotic, or terrifying. You may have had parents or caregivers who abused, neglected, or abandoned you repeatedly, or you may have seen repeated traumatic events. The “complex” aspect of C-PTSD means that the trauma was at an early enough age or was repeated often enough that it affected your emotional development.” – Arielle Schwartz
49. “Childhood trauma and attachment wounds can lead you to feel emotionally unstable, especially if you have felt abandoned, rejected, threatened, or out of control. You might often feel overcome by irritability, anger, or rage. Without help, such emotional suffering can develop into urges to hurt yourself or others.” – Arielle Schwartz
50. “Developmental trauma is often understood in the mental health community to be a result of chronic maltreatment by a caregiver. But that is too simplistic an interpretation. Trauma’s complex influence on development is sometimes, but not always, tied to faulty parenting. It can also be caused by medical procedures, birth difficulties, frightening events, and caregiving failures that have nothing to do with maltreatment.” – Kathy L. Kain & Stephen J. Terrell
51. “Working with adults with severe early trauma histories almost always includes a process of sorting through complex and interrelated symptoms. This category of client often experiences what initially appear to be straightforward and separate physical issues: high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, or diabetes, for example. But we now know that developmental trauma can trigger these somatic symptoms and conditions.” – Kathy L. Kain & Stephen J. Terrell
52. “Many survivors of childhood trauma carry a deep existential loneliness or sense of despair. There can be an overpowering senselessness or lack of reason that accompanies trauma and abuse. As a result, you may have lost faith in people or in a higher power. These overwhelming feelings of hopelessness can interfere with your ability to find a sense of purpose or meaning in your life.” – Arielle Schwartz
53. “Because developmental trauma occurs prior to, and during, the times of our most rapid development, its effects impact every area of our developing selves and imprint us in sometimes unique ways.” – Kathy L. Kain & Stephen J. Terrell
54. “The most common source of developmental trauma is fairly straightforward: When we were young, bad things happened, and those who should have been there to help and care for us did not come to our rescue or help us to navigate the situation.” – Kathy L. Kain & Stephen J. Terrell
55. “Childhood trauma can leave you feeling like you are at war with yourself. You might have a fierce inner critic, a strong need to be perfect, or a young part of you who feels small and powerless. Parts-work therapy recognizes that unresolved traumatic events from childhood can be held by parts of yourself until you have an opportunity to attend to your feelings and memories.” – Arielle Schwartz
56. “Childhood trauma can cause health challenges in adulthood, including digestive problems, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune and chronic pain conditions. Like somatic psychology, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) focuses on the mind–body connection, this time with an emphasis on nutrition, massage therapy, relaxation strategies, exercise, meditation, and yoga.” – Arielle Schwartz
57. “As a result of childhood trauma, you may have felt that no one could handle your feelings or that no one would respond to you in a loving and supportive way. You may have learned to push away feelings of rejection, hurt, or anger. Now, as an adult, you might continue to distance yourself from your feelings or deny your needs. But these emotions may still build up inside of you: You might feel irritable or you might blow up in explosive anger and hurt or scare others. Feelings of shame and embarrassment may then fuel your inner critic and initiate a vicious cycle that reinforces the urge to further push away your emotions.” – Arielle Schwartz
58. “Emotional dysregulation is common among survivors of childhood trauma. In part, this is because we learn how to regulate our emotions during childhood. Children require healthy, caring, and attentive adults to help them develop their social and emotional intelligence. It is the job of a parent to help children feel safe enough to express uncomfortable feelings. When children feel supported, they learn that stressful moments are only temporary and that they can resolve into positive experiences of empowerment or deepened connections in relationships. However, when parents are emotionally overwhelmed, they fail to help their children develop a healthy emotional landscape. Within this unsafe territory, children become explosive or cut off from their feelings. In some cases, children become hyper-aware of their parents’ distress or are compelled to take care of their parents’ emotional needs.” – Arielle Schwartz
59. “Childhood trauma can lead to ineffective relationship patterns, such as blaming, criticizing, or unnecessarily withdrawing from loved ones. You might experience difficulty in feeling close to others. Or, in contrast, you might feel afraid of being alone.” – Arielle Schwartz
60. “Having a history of childhood trauma can make you more prone to misperceiving the intentions and emotions of others. For example, you might think that your partner is angry with you when, in fact, the person is actually upset about an unrelated event, such as one that happened at work.” – Arielle Schwartz
61. “Childhood trauma can lead to difficulties with emotional and sexual intimacy with partners. You might have issues receiving loving touch from a partner, or you might feel the urge to run away from a loved one who wants to be close to you because it brings up memories of being abused as a child. You might feel fearful of abandonment and irrationally jealous during times of normal, healthy separation. You might override your own boundaries physically or emotionally to avoid disappointing others or develop patterns of codependence, which can result in your sacrificing your own needs for the sake of the relationship.” – Arielle Schwartz
62. “It can be difficult to tolerate the discomfort of shame, anger, and hurt that often accompanies childhood trauma. An adult survivor may struggle with perfectionism, unrelenting self-criticism, and addictions. ”– Arielle Schwartz
63. “In general, human beings are wired for survival. We all have a built-in tendency to pay more attention to disturbing experiences than to positive ones, as a means of guaranteeing that survival. But when you have a history of childhood trauma, this tendency to scan your environment for threats is even stronger. Your capacity to vigilantly observe your environment was necessary to keep you safe as a child. While it is important to attend to the pain of your past, you can also learn how to offset this negative survival tendency by focusing your attention on positive emotions and memories. ”– Arielle Schwartz
Healing From Childhood Trauma Quotes
64. “Growing up with a history of childhood trauma can lead you to focus on your pain and problems, while simultaneously ignoring the ways you are strong and resilient. ”– Arielle Schwartz
65. “The most important thing to know about the symptoms of C-PTSD is that they are learned behaviors that can be unlearned with practice. Childhood trauma is relational trauma, which means that the wounds have to do with how we connect to others. New learning and growth is often best supported in the context of therapy. Within this healing relationship, you can experience reparative relational experiences while building new, healthy coping strategies.” – Arielle Schwartz
66. “You can reclaim your life from the suffering of childhood trauma.” – Arielle Schwartz
67. “I encourage you to recognize that reclaiming your life from childhood trauma requires a longterm commitment to yourself and to the healing process. Your symptoms are the result of traumatic injuries that occurred over an extended period. It is important to be realistic about the timeline for healing.” – Arielle Schwartz
68. “To recover, you need to learn how to support yourself – to meet your unmet developmental needs on each level that is relevant to your experience of childhood trauma.” – Pete Walker
69. “Healing from childhood trauma is also a long gradual process because recovering your full selfexpression requires a great deal of practice. Being yourself can be intimidating and flashbackinducing. Healthy self-assertion was punished like a capital crime in many dysfunctional families. Expressing yourself in ways that your parents forbade typically triggers intense flashbacks at first. This can cause you to lose sight of how this practice gradually reduces the chronic pain of remaining invisible.”– Pete Walker
70. “Remember that reclaiming your life from childhood trauma requires a longterm commitment to yourself and to the healing process. My hope is that this awareness can help you reconnect to self-compassion, rather than leave you feeling discouraged or hopeless.” – Arielle Schwartz
71. “Since childhood traumas are relational wounds, having a positive experience of a healing relationship can help restore your faith in the goodness of other people. In time, therapy can help you build your capacity to hold yourself and your pain lovingly.”– Arielle Schwartz
72. “De-minimization is a crucial aspect of confronting denial. It is the process by which a person deconstructs the defense of “making light” of his childhood trauma. The lifelong process of de-minimizing the impact of childhood trauma is like peeling a very slippery and caustic onion. The outer layer for some is the stark physical evidence of abuse, e.g., sexual abuse or excessive corporal punishment. Subsequent layers involve verbal, spiritual and emotional abuse. Core layers have to do with verbal, spiritual and emotional neglect.”– Pete Walker
73. “Deep level recovery from childhood trauma requires a normalization of depression, a renunciation of the habit of reflexively reacting to it. Central to this is the development of a self-compassionate mindfulness. Once again, mindfulness is the practice of staying in your body – the practice of staying fully present to all of your internal experience.”– Pete Walker
74. “Adulthood is an attempt to become the antithesis of the wounded child within us.” ― Stewart Stafford
75. “Always remember, if you have been diagnosed with PTSD, it is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is proof of your strength, because you have survived!” – Michel Templet
76. “Forgiveness is created by the restitution of the abuser; of the wrongdoer. It is not something to be squeeeeeezed out of the victim in a further act of conscience-corrupting abuse.” ― Stefan Molyneux
77. “Getting mad at yourself for slipping back into old habits is like getting mad at yourself for shivering when it’s cold. It’s just what we’re wired to do. It’s not a ‘failing’. New habits are ‘new’ because we don’t have a lot of practice YET. We’re not good at them YET.” – Glenn Doyle
78. “Healing comes in waves. On some days, you will drown. On other days, you will float. On some days, you will feel broken. And on other days, you will feel renewed. This is a reminder to be patient with yourself.” – Unknown
Related: Shadow Work For Self-Love (+FREE Shadow Work PDF Download)
79. “Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.” – Akshay Dubey
80. “Healing from trauma can also mean strength and joy. The goal of healing is not a papering-over of changes in an effort to preserve or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life – warts wisdom, and all – with courage.” – Catherine Woodiwiss
81. “Healing happens when you’re triggered and you’re able to move through the pain, the pattern, the story and walk your way to a different ending.” – Vienna Pharaon
82. “Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” – Rachel Naomi Remen
83. “Healing means releasing yourself from the version of you that you created for survival.” – Unknown
84. “Instead of saying, ‘I’m damaged, I’m broken, I have trust issues.’ I say ‘I’m healing, I’m rediscovering myself, I’m starting over’.” – Horacio Jones
85. “People can forgive toxic parents, but they should do it at the conclusion—not at the beginning—of their emotional housecleaning. People need to get angry about what happened to them. They need to grieve over the fact that they never had the parental love they yearned for. They need to stop diminishing or discounting the damage that was done to them.” ― Susan Forward
Related: Why Is Trauma Therapy So Hard? (+Best Trauma Healing Exercises To Support Your Recovery)
86. “People think healing looks like having huge visible breakthroughs when really, it’s just a series of small decisions that reprogram your subconscious mind. One healthy activity at a time is a great starting point.” – Unknown
87. “Remember, tears are like rivers that start in one place and flow to another – they can help carry you to healing.” – Susan Forward
88. “Slowly but surely, you will learn to behave as you would have wished to behave but were too wounded to know how.” ― Marianne Williamson
89. “So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality.” – Ellen Bass
90. “Sometimes, the hardest part of the journey is simply believing you’re worthy of the trip.” – Unknown
91. “The paradox of trauma is that it has both the power to destroy and the power to transform and resurrect.” – Peter Levine
92. “The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.” – Unknown
93. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
94. “There is no one way to recover and heal from any trauma. Each survivor chooses their path or stumbles across it.” – Laurie Matthew
Related: 7 Trauma Release Exercises To Support Your Recovery After Trauma
95. “There is no timestamp on trauma. There isn’t a formula that you can insert yourself into to get from horror to healed. Be patient. Take up space. Let your journey be the balm.” – Dawn Serra
96. “To the extent that we project responsibility for a dysfunction outside ourselves, we cannot change it. Wherever the wound came from, however many years ago, its healing lies not in the past but in the present. Your subconscious will continue to trigger the wound for along as it takes- a iffy years old experiencing a five year olds pain- until you allow it to be healed.” ― Marianne Williamson
97. “Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you do choose.” – Michelle Rosenthal
98. “We are often loyal to our suffering, our regrets, our losses, focusing on the trauma of what happened to me… But is that what defines you?” – Donna Jackson Nakazawa
99. “We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time.” – Brené Brown
100. “We repeat what we don’t repair.” – Christine Langley-Obaugh
101. “When we recognize that we are not responsible for our childhood deprivations, and that we are entitled to feel anger (but not to act on it – awareness is not a license to kill), then we are able to let go of that anger and not be controlled by it.” ― Victoria Secunda
102. “Wounds won’t heal the way you want them to. They heal the way they need to.” – Dele Olanubi
Related: Undermothered: How to Mother Yourself Using These Practical 10 Strategies?
Top 5 Trauma Exercises to Support Your Healing
The purpose of the following exercises is to help you connect with and develop a deeper relationship with yourself—a relationship based on an awareness of your senses and physical being.
Try out one exercise at a time rather than attempting to do them all at once, and give yourself a couple of weeks before you decide how you feel about them.
#1. Breath Work Exercise
Breath work helps you manage stress of all levels and varieties and bring you back to the present moment.
1. Try doing this exercise lying down on the ground and notice how that provides a sensation of being grounded to the earth.
2. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your heart.
3. Inhale deeply through your nose as you silently count to three.
4. Exhale through your mouth as you silently count to six.
5. Repeat this six more times, and then see if you can work up to a four-count inhale, followed by an eight-count exhale, and then five-count inhale, followed by a ten-count exhale.
Once you’re done, notice how you feel calmer and more present.
#2. Survival Energy Exercise
After the traumatic event, you might feel as though you weren’t in charge of or able to defend yourself from danger in the past.
The following exercise will help you access these feelings of helplessness, and help you release them and restore equilibrium.
The exercise is ideally performed with a trusted person. If that is not possible, you can perform the first part of this exercise on your own, pushing against a wall.
1. Have your trusted person brace themselves against a wall as you push against their hands for 10 to 60 seconds.
2. Once you’re done, close your eyes and notice how you feel physically and emotionally.
3. Repeat pushing and noticing your feelings in two or three more times.
4. For the second part of this exercise, trade places and let the other person push you against the wall.
5. Notice your sensations and feelings.
#3. Self-Soothing Exercise
The goal of this exercise is to help you calm the nervous system and create boundaries and safety in the body.
Physical and emotional boundaries go hand and hand. They help us protect ourselves and define what is acceptable.
Set a timer for three or five minutes and notice how you feel at the end of that time period.
1. Put on some soothing music and allow yourself to connect with the sound.
2. Wrap your arms around yourself and hold your body. Notice what it feels like.
3. Place one hand on your heart and the other hand on your stomach.
4. Close your eyes and feel your breath rise and fall as you breathe deeply.
5. Release all judgment and simply sit with the sensations.
#4. Free-Flow Dance Exercise
This exercise will help you sense your body in time and space and change the stories you may be telling yourself about your body after experiencing inflexibility and rigidity in response to trauma.
1. Give yourself the space and permission to experience spontaneous body movements.
2. Put on whatever music that will inspire you to move with freedom.
3. For three minutes, experience free-flowing movement. Observe how you feel both emotionally and physically.
4. Eventually, work your way up to five and then ten minutes.
Practicing these exercises is like building muscles.
At first, the changes might be subtle. But over time, you will build muscle memory and discover the strength that you never thought you had before.
#5. Release Deep Chronic Muscular Tension
Stand with one foot forward. Put your full weight on that foot, and rise up on the toes of that foot. You may hold onto something for balance.
Allow your back foot to leave the ground and stand there for a few minutes. Repeat x10 on each foot.