We’ve all experienced some trauma, but did you know childhood trauma can affect your physical and mental health? Trauma can take many forms, from experiencing a natural disaster to enduring years of abuse or neglect. Even if the traumatic event happened long ago, the effects may still linger and make you physically sick. This article will explore how childhood trauma can manifest in adulthood and how to prevent it from affecting your well-being.
What is Childhood Trauma?
Childhood trauma is any event that causes extreme stress, fear, anxiety, or grief during a person’s childhood development. These stressful events can include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; neglect; being exposed to domestic violence; witnessing a traumatic event; living with substance abuse in the home; or separation or divorce of parents.
Not everyone who experiences these events will develop trauma-related symptoms. Whether or not a person develops physical or emotional trauma-related issues depends mainly on the individual’s perception of the situation.
How Does Childhood Trauma Affect Adults?
For those who do develop trauma-related symptoms as adults, they often manifest as depression and anxiety. But research shows that childhood trauma can also lead to physical health problems, such as high blood pressure, stroke, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders.
Studies indicate that people who experience complex long-term childhood traumas are at an even greater risk for developing physical illnesses later in life than those who experience single traumas. This is because long-term stress has a more significant negative impact on both psychological and physiological functions than short-term stress does.
How Can You Prevent Childhood Trauma From Affecting Your Health?
It is never too late to work toward healing from past traumas. If you feel like your childhood traumas are still affecting your life today, whether it be emotionally or physically, there are several steps you can take toward recovery.
1.Reach out for help
The first step toward healing is identifying sources of support and comfort, so you don’t have to deal with issues alone. Talk therapy with a professional therapist is one way to begin processing feelings related to past traumas and making positive changes in your life now. Other sources of support include joining a support group with people who share similar experiences or seeking advice from trusted friends or family members.
2. Practice self-compassion
Self-compassion involves giving yourself acceptance and understanding instead of judgment when things get tough emotionally or physically due to past traumas resurfacing. It allows you to practice empathy toward yourself by recognizing difficult emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them.
3.Create healthy coping strategies
Coping skills can cultivate resilience when we encounter negative situations from our past or present. They provide an alternate way of managing distress instead of seeking destructive solutions such as using drugs and alcohol, lashing out in anger, or simply avoiding the issue altogether.
There are many different ways to develop coping skills. Some people develop thinking patterns that can help them reframe problems in a more positive light, while others find relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises helpful.
4.Develop healthy connections
Connecting with supportive people who understand and accept you for who you are is essential to healing from past traumas. You don’t have to go through it alone. It can also be beneficial to find ways to give back or help others, as volunteering and helping others has been linked to improved mental health.
5. Focus on self-care
Taking care of ourselves physically is integral to our overall wellness – from getting restful sleep each night (adults should aim for no less than 7 hours) to eating balanced meals regularly. Doing so provides us with the necessary fuel to tackle tasks and ensures that we get essential vitamins and nutrients to help increase immunity. Exercising daily strengthens not only the body and mind but also boosts moods.
Childhood trauma can have a lasting impact on our physical and mental health. Recognizing the effects of trauma and taking steps to heal, such as reaching out for help and developing healthy coping strategies, can be beneficial in the long run. Above all else, practice self-care and kindness towards yourself. With the right attitude and a little effort, it is possible to move past the events of our childhoods and thrive.