💪 IMMUNE SUPPORT #8: REIGNITING TRAUMA (Afsha Malik)
Immune Support #8: Reigniting Trauma (Afsha Malik). My dear friend, Afsha Malik’s has offered a profoundly wise reflection on the global pandemic which we are all experiencing. Traumatic experiences can leave a long-term impact on our health both mentally and physically and may even leave alter our DNA in areas responsible for immune functions and memory. Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) is associated with poorer health… particularly from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease.
Understanding how traumatic experiences – past and present – can trigger us and our loved ones and having coping strategies to manage our responses is fundamental to protecting our immune system and mental health in the current circumstances if we are to emerge stronger, whole and more resilient.
In the weeks and months to come, I think we’ll be hearing much more on the effects that Covid-19 is having (and will have) not only on our physical health but just as importantly, on our mental and spiritual health too.
Afsha has brought her wisdom and grace into my life and I’m honoured to share it with you here.
With every crisis, there is danger and opportunity. The danger is the fear and panic . But the opportunity is that we can use this time to be better people on the other side of this. And when I personally started to hear about the pandemic I was seeing this as a transformative and rebalancing opportunity. For self and for the world. I felt relaxed and calm. But as I realised the impact of this virus on our services, I could feel a triggering of fear.
People respond in different ways depending on how they were programmed in childhood. And in times of crisis, there is a huge risk that we go back to having a trauma response instead of a considered, informed response.
The event occurring is serious, but our response (individually, politically and collectively) will determine the outcome. While all those in charge of making decisions and providing vital services do their job, we must do what we can, and that would be remaining relaxed and compassionate.
Feel without self-judgement
When feelings are intense we start to believe we ARE the feeling. But remember you are not that which you feel. It’s just a feeling, acknowledge it, feel it without self- judgement and breathe it out. We are facing the reality of death and suffering, not just on a human level, but much greater, but we now must try and focus on what we ARE now, who we choose to be and what we can do now.
Honour your own reaction, it will swing like a pendulum. Some days, you will be in a position to hold peace and calm for others, other days it may be best for you to focus on grounding yourself first.
Not one of us is doing anything wrong. It’s ok if you have a freakout moment. It’s normal. But we can be really mindful about tracking our body. The body will give us clues that we are going off centre. And that’s when we can see clearly what we need to do
Reigniting trauma – dousing the flames
For those of you feeling this too, I hope you will find your way back to “zen” too. Here are some of the ways I was quickly able to change the direction:
- Seek support: talk to a loved one or a friend. If you see a therapist, now may be a good time to link up. If you are part of a community, a club, a faith group seek to build a new style of non-physical socialising. Reach out to people you know will help you.
- Switch off Social Media and reduce the time listening to the news: The media is sensationalist…detach from the drama. Be aware of the information you need to keep up with what we need to do but then turn away and look at the green grass, the sun, the flowers the trees!
- Limit time of social group chats: You don’t need to hear all perspectives from too many different sources. Listening to everyone’s opinions, hypothesis and theories will take you into overload and you will shut down. Chose less, less, less not more, more, more.
- Create periods of stillness in the day, just quiet time.
- Write feelings in a journal and reflect back.
- Self-forgiveness: I’ve learnt that only by not judging myself, I will not judge others and will truly be able to forgive others. By being kind to myself, I am more able to be kind to others. So, it’s ok to feel scared and in that fear say or do things that you wouldn’t normally – in this time it’s normal – its a sign of being human. Just as long as you reflect back and try and change that. This is the time for love, not fear.
- Getting busy DOING something meaningful to help others. Any little thing. Controlling what I can and letting go of what I cannot. Even using the skills developed through the years of healing and passing those on to others now is a gift. Also using time to concentrate on the things that remain…that are in your control… clean and declutter, call and chat to people you haven’t for a long time. We have an opportunity to be creative, more resourceful, be more adaptable, do things that we thought we couldn’t do. Be aware of ways you could be helpful.
- Reframing: this time is about letting go of control and allowing surrender and flow. In a world that has set us up to be “in control,” this is very hard. Many religions give us the skills we need to trust…use those skills developed now. As we trust and accept, we can see that however hard these changes are, this transformation we are going through is being done FOR us.
- Every problem comes with its own solution: The lessons that this virus brings have the ability to be transformative, not just individually but systematically. Where we hold our values, how we treat others, how we help prop up the systems that are unjust, how we ignore the people in the world that suffer just that. And in the meantime, it allows us to really LOOK at ourselves, our own shadow side, our relationships and actually work on fixing them.
Read Afsha’s full post here. Thank you so much Afsha.
Afsha Malik is a Health, Wellbeing and Movement Therapist. She founded Bloom to promote long term health through a gentle, balanced heart-based approach to exercise and food by focussing on positive mindsets and self-awareness.
At Bloom, the focus is on creating an environment of balance in the body and mind, which then enables the body to do what it does best – HEAL. Afsha uses a more gentle form of exercise and movement, kinder to the body, nourishing for the mind, sustainable for our lives.
She created Bloom to be a motivational, educational and advisory package all-in-one and she works with individuals and organisations to empower people either through education or through exercise and food awareness.
If any of the issues in Afsha’s post resonate with you, or you are looking to seek some clarity on your health and lifestyle goals, click below to discover how health coaching takes out the overwhelm and makes difficult changes easier.
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