Shake Off Stress – Releasing Trauma From Your Body With TRE (Trauma Releasing Exercises)

I’ve read that over the last 14 months there has been a significant increase in stress and mental health related emotional difficulties. I met a friend last night who said he had struggled during the lock downs and found his mental health had really taken a dive. Trauma will lodge itself in our body and a talk I attended online today about letting go of trauma spoke of how “dissociation is the essence of trauma”.

Dissociation is the floaty feeling of not being present in your body and feeling at a slight distance from what is happening around you. It is a pleasant feeling as it is the result of endorphins being pumped into the body when there is a threatening situation it is impossible to fight or run from……but this floaty sense of being ‘spaced out’ is in fact the bodies kindness to us when it thinks we are facing a life threatening situation…..we will not feel the pain of the tiger’s teeth as we are pumped full of endorphins and are no longer feeling our body or aware of our surroundings.

If we have experience trauma in the past that we could not fight or run from it can lead to this tendency to be distant from our body or to feel that meditation offers a safe space as we can zone out and feel a familiar sense of separating from our body into a mental state fo peace…but this is not embodied meditation, it is the after shock of trauma. If you’ve been bullied, called names, experienced minority stress as a result of being gay in an environment where it did not feel safe, then it is very likely you will, at times, have gone into this dissociated state just to survive. As an adult it will lead to a tendency to feel distant from your body and to be a bit ‘spaced out’ at times of stress.

The lecture I went to today was on a method for working with trauma and offers a simple way to start to release it. I’m going to train in it so I can use it with my clients and was looking for training courses when I found this site where they are sharing some lessons for free to help with Covid lock down related stress. If you are curious I really recomend giving it a look. We all have trauma in our body – name calling at school, the first day of going to school, an ice cream we dropped and never got to eat that for the child was a devastating loss! It doesn’t have to be earthquakes and war for the body to store it as trauma, anything that felt like a threat or overwhelmed us will register as trauma.

These exercises are very simple, and do not lead to regression into the traumatic memory, but instead allow the body to shake in order to let go of any stored trauma from the muscles and structure of the body. Animals will shake after a close encounter with a predator – they shake off the stress they have just experienced. Humans would do the same also, but we tend to be educated to hold it in, or fear losing face by shaking after a shock so hold ourselves tight. These exercise allow the body to shake and release anything that is held within the body.

I hope you enjoy giving them a try!

It’s said as we come out of freezing we have to feel the emotions that were there as we entered, so as we do trauma release practices old feelings may come up, and it is so important to know that it is ok to let them come and let them pass – in the way we learn to allow emotions to emerge as we meditate and give them kindness and space without holding on to them or rejecting them.
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