How Mindfulness Can Help Trauma Survivors

Being a trauma survivor myself, mindfulness has always been integrated into my treatment.

Recently I was enrolled into a mindfulness based CBT group where I’ve met like minded people who are struggling with trauma and struggling staying present.

So, what is trauma and why is mindfulness so important in regards to it?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event.

Ultimately, any event might be considered traumatic if you have experienced and/or witnessed a threat to your life, your body, your moral integrity, or had a close encounter with violence or death.

So why would a trauma survivor want to be mindful when flashbacks may be running their daily lives?

There is an immense amount of data that supports mindfulness as a treatment for people diagnosed with PTSD.

In brains of people with PTSD, deregulation occurs in the area of the brain that is associated with emotional regulation and memory. In the brain, the amygdala represents a core fear system in the human body, which is involved in the expression of conditioned fear. When an person is suffering with PTSD, the amygdala becomes over activated.

Mindfulness meditation is correlated increase in gray matter in the hippocampus, a decrease of gray matter in the amygdala, and neuroimaging studies have found that mindfulness meditation also helps to activate the pre-frontal cortex.

Mindfulness can help people train themselves to get unstuck from a vicious cycle of negative thinking, often a cornerstone of trauma.

Reference

Wolkin, J., PhD, B. G. B., Pratt, M., Whitney-Coulter, A., Naidoo, U., Smookler, E., Staff, M., & Kira M. Newman and Janet Ho. (2018, June 8). The science of trauma, mindfulness, and PTSD. Mindful. Retrieved October 3, 2021, from https://www.mindful.org/the-science-of-trauma-mindfulness-ptsd/.

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