Can mindfulness help with complex trauma?



The short answer is, “Yes, it can.”
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Mindfulness for Healing from Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder || by Senior Staff Writer, Shirley Davis
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All human beings have a tendency to relive trauma even decades after it has ended. Those living with the effects of complex post-traumatic stress disorder tend to ruminate and live their lives in a morass of flashbacks and pain.
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Mindfulness is an ability that is vital to helping a person heal from traumatic events of the past. It is the ability for a person to be fully present and not overly reactive to what’s going on around us.
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Mindfulness is a quality that all people possess, it is not something that needs to be learned, we just need to learn to use it. Yet, while mindfulness is inborn it must be cultivated through the motions of sitting, walking, moving, and standing in a meditative and purposeful way.
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When we are living in the now, our histories are relegated back to where they belong, in the past. Notice that I did not say that the past goes away, that is a physical impossibility unless there is damage to the brain. No, the past fades because of the training of the mind to stay in the now and focus on where one is, when, and how one is feeling at that moment.
When practicing mindfulness it is almost impossible to have a flashback intrude into the mind of something traumatic from the person’s history. The whole exercise of mindfulness is to concentrate on the sensations of the senses in the now and not to allow memories or emotions from trauma-time to have free rein.
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It is quite a relief to have the past not intrude into today’s thoughts. The stress relief and feelings of warmth, safety, and comfort are undeniable and lead to lowered blood pressure, better heart health, and an overall sense of well-being.
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Dissociation means that one becomes detached from the physical and emotional experiences of today, thereby causing survivors to get lost in the past through flashbacks or intrusive memories and thoughts. Grounding is the end result of practicing mindfulness to help one live in the present and not during the time the trauma occurred. Grounding lifts the brain fog that encapsulates the brain when healing from complex trauma allowing relaxation to flood in.
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Grounding works by decreasing the strong signals of the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain, thus relieving the stress and fear responses. By focusing on grounding, a person can regain their equilibrium and find peace. Grounding is especially helpful when one is having a flashback as by using the five senses, it pulls you back into the present where there is safety and calmness.
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Mindfulness, in a grounded state, makes it harder to feel disconnected and dissociated from the here and now making it MORE possible to enjoy the present in safety.
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Instead of causing the survivor to forget or push troublesome thoughts away, mindfulness brings them out of the past and into the present where they are dealt with safely. By focusing on allowing themselves to become grounded – survivors can create greater harmony between reality and consciousness.
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Instead of forgetting what happened in the past, survivors through using mindfulness can instead change the dialogue of what they are saying to themselves internally. Thus, the critic within learns through mindfulness to acknowledge it is okay to make mistakes but reliving and living within them is not.
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It is much easier to care for oneself when one has a loving relationship with themselves. Mindfulness helps to connect the dots within the mind of survivors allowing them to see themselves through the lens of the reality that everyone makes mistakes and has their quirks, and that’s okay too.
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The Mayo Clinic states that the overall, the evidence supports the effects of mindfulness in the following conditions:
•Anxiety
•Pain
•Stress
•Insomnia
•Depression
•Asthma
•Fibromyalgia
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Mindfulness helps one experience their thoughts and emotions with greater acceptance and balance allowing for the following:
•Improved attention
•Improved sleep
•A decrease in job burnout
•Improved diabetes control
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Overall, one’s outlook and experience of life are enhanced and aided by the practice of mindfulness.
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Mindfulness helps to make safety feel more possible.
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Athena (who presented in this video) is a mindfulness newbie. Attending the 2019 MPM Circle helped her find more inner strength and peace.

The CPTSD Foundation Mindfulness, Prayer, and Meditation Circle was designed, by Athena and Veronica, with you in mind. MPM Circle was created to be a place where you can come together with others in a safe atmosphere and learn how the practice of mindfulness can be an integral part of your healing journey.

You can email veronica (at) cptsdfoundation (dot) org with any questions you have about creating a mindfulness practice for yourself. It can be as simple as breathing.

Source: Youtube