The Effects of Unrelenting Stress and Past Traumas on the Mind-Body
In the preceding articles in this series, I discussed how past traumas impact our emotional and physical health. First, I demonstrated how childhood trauma is associated with various disease risks as evidenced by the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study. Next, I explained how the body and mind hold onto past trauma which can also lead to unwanted mental and bodily symptoms.
Chronic states of stress, at any time, can further fuel mood and physical disorders. This is particularly pertinent in today’s world. Just as it seems that we are coming out of one trauma, we next find ourselves emersed in global turmoil and continued societal divisions and uncertainty. This unrelenting stream of the stress hormone cortisol can perpetuate unwanted brain structural changes compounding mind-body disturbances.
Current trauma could be mitigated and the current mental health crisis could be lessened if we aimed to heal past traumas and considered all the aspects of PTG (Post Traumatic Growth) from an integrative perspective. This would be based on a cohesive strategy that includes both brain health support and the factors of wellness that embrace mind, body, spirit, relationships, and various socioeconomic issues.
Unfortunately, we aren’t there yet in medicine or as a society. Furthermore, there is still one thing that seems to be so prevalent and accepted in our life that no one is considering it as a major contributor to all our issues. It is an overlooked contagion.
It is fear.
If we are to fuel PTG and heal the mind-body with integrative medicine, we need to look at this contributing root cause. A fearful environment creates a stressful, dark world with the absence of hope and belief in the ability to heal. That is just bad medicine and not a way to live.
Mindset as Medicine: The Power of Belief and Hope to Heal
Recently, I was published in the Townsend Letter, a peer-reviewed journal for integrative medicine practitioners and consumers.
In the article, I weave through how the prevalence of fear in our world may be as damaging, if not worse, than the things we are most afraid of.
I explain that those with mental health/anxiety disorders are extremely vulnerable to complications contracting the virus. Furthermore, in some studies that considered mental health, “anxiety and fear-related disorders” were considered one of the strongest risk associations.
Topics reviewed in my article include:
- The current sad state of healthcare
- The emergence of caring about health
- The big losses for integrative medicine and the “Divided States of America”
- The right and wrong focus for achieving health
- The feardemic
- Missing the truly vulnerable
- The power of belief, hope, and mindset as medicine
I believe that by not looking at the multifaceted factors of health, we are missing the mark to achieve optimized wellness. “Integrative medicine” that centers only on superficial lifestyle and diet culture approaches will not get us to the true level of wholeness that we desire any more than conventional care that treats the symptoms. If we don’t change our messaging, we are at risk of repeating the same cycle again in the future and continuing to create collateral damage.
This means we need to concentrate on hope and believe that things are moving toward the better. This is hard to do in a time when most people’s amygdala’s are hijacked and stuck in an addictive cycle of fear, but it’s not impossible.
PTG is characterized by meaning-making and finding purpose. Right now, we could view this time as an opportunity to prioritize wellness, natural and holistic approaches, and integrative medicine to heal at the deepest levels.
If we don’t start doing something different, more mental health sufferers could emerge from delayed reactions to the current trauma on top of their old wounds of the past. In “Mindset as Medicine: How the Power of Belief and Hope Can Heal,” I state:
As naturopathic and functional medicine practitioners, we can merge the biochemical with the psychological aspects of health. Tools such as essential oils and mind-body practices are some components I use to assist with the “emotional reset” and to help clients cope with chronic stressors. However, these modalities must rest upon the foundation of managing a clinician’s and a patient’s mindset to be truly effective and long-lasting.
We can’t wave a magic wand and make the virus go away, but we do have the power to take back control of our minds. We can focus on our values to live our best lives. We can aim to honor our patients and clients and seek to positively influence their health span trajectory with, dare I say it, a little hope.
First, it may take a little “physician heal thyself.”
We have to do something different. Fear doesn’t work. It can literally be a major risk factor in the very thing we are supposed to be afraid of.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Click here to read the full article.
So, How Do We Heal?
In my previous articles, I discussed how using lifestyle, holistic, and naturopathic and functional medicine can help to rewire the brain for healing. This is based on the concept of neuroplasticity, the ability for the brain to form new connections to create change in its circuitry.
I often implement a combination of these integrative medicine tools to assist with changing my clients’ brain pathways and to support holistic healing of the mind-body connection. This is done alongside conventional therapy and standard of care. I also aim to correct biochemical, psychological, and/or physical imbalances in cognitive functioning as we are retraining their brain patterning.
Once all these aspects are considered, it is much easier for one to feel hopeful and believe in the positive.
As mentioned, essential oils are a big part of this process in my work to help jump through the fear hurdle.
Coming Up: More on Mind-Body Medicine and Essential Oils to Support Hope and Belief
Speaking of essential oils, over the past few weeks, I’ve been privileged to appear on a couple of podcasts that I will be sharing with you.
In them I discuss the concept of mind-body medicine, using essential oils, and the power of spirituality and purpose in healing.
I’ll provide the details in an upcoming post.
Feel free to comment on this post and share it widely.
Click here to learn more about my approach to whole-person, mind-body care and stay tuned for an upcoming opportunity that can support you in holistic mind-body-heart-soul healing. (Join my newsletter to learn more.)
Free resources and more education are also available to you here.
If you struggle with mental health, please reach out for professional mental health support.
You may also wish to consider implementing holistic resources and partnering with a naturopathic doctor.
For example, I offer mind-body support for general mood issues using a functional medicine and wellness-oriented approach.
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.