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The body keeps the score: Why you should move your body

March 11, 2024

The body keeps the score: Why you should move your body

Have you ever heard of the book by renowned trauma expert Bessel Van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score? I did and it got me thinking about body movement and how it relates to trauma. 

Trauma is a topic I’ve become extremely passionate about over the past year thanks to my studies in this area with Dr Gabor Mate on his Compassionate Inquiry program.

In the article below I am going to talk about trauma and how if the body keeps the score, what we should do to move it. 

What is trauma?

Trauma isn't just about what happens to us externally; it's about the internal aftermath of those experiences. Dr. Gabor Mate beautifully encapsulates this concept by stating, "Trauma is not what happens to you, it’s what happens inside of you as a result." 

Our bodies serve as silent witnesses to the traumas we endure, retaining the score of these experiences long after our minds attempt to bury the memories. 

This inherent physiological response manifests in various ways, often surfacing unexpectedly through triggers that reignite past wounds.

Why trauma is a problem

The subconscious will not forget which is why we can feel triggered in the everyday by non-related events that make us feel the feelings we suppressed from that traumatic event. 

These feelings then trigger our autonomic nervous system into fight, flight, freeze or for some people fawning. 

Trauma creates a disconnection from the self, that disconnection moves us away from our wholeness, our true essence, by creating a shadow that blocks our light.

Now the kicker is that unprocessed trauma and the disconnection it has created from the self unless it is addressed will impede your ability to realise your truest potential and feel whole in life.

Navigating the Path to Healing

Acknowledging and addressing trauma is the first step towards healing and reclaiming our sense of self. One powerful approach involves shifting our focus from incessant mental activity to reconnecting with our bodies.

Activities for Reconnection:

  • Hiking: Nature serves as a sanctuary, grounding us and facilitating our healing journey.
  • Embodied Movement: Whether it's dance, yoga, or tai chi, embracing embodied movement (I have started Zumba) allows us to release tension and reconnect with joy.

I have even started playing soccer with the soccer mum’s (the mothers of the boys who play in my son’s team). 

Starting Your Healing Journey

If you find yourself trapped in your thoughts, yearning for a deeper connection with your body, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Experiment with Embodied Activities: Explore activities that bring you into the present moment and reconnect you with your body.
  2. Embrace Imperfection: Give yourself permission to be imperfect as you navigate this journey of self-discovery and healing.
  3. Practice Mindful Awareness: Stay curious about your body's messages and sensations, cultivating a compassionate relationship with yourself.

Final thoughts

Healing from trauma is a profound journey of self-discovery and resilience. 

By recognising how the body keeps the score and actively engaging in practices that reconnect us with our bodies, we pave the way towards wholeness. 

Remember, healing is not linear, but with each step forward, we honour our innate capacity for growth and transformation.

If you find you spend all your time in your head and it’s making you feel like it’s never enough and like you're never enough here is my invitation to you. 

What activity can you experiment with over the coming week that will take you out of your head and into your body? 

Give yourself permission to be terrible in the pursuit of trying something new and savour the magic of returning into the amazing vessel that carries you through life every day…your body.

Journal Prompts: 

Become curious about what your body has to say to you in these embodied experiences. 

  • When you’re in it, ask yourself what do you feel? 
  • Where do you feel it? 

As Gabor says, where there’s tension, pay attention. 

Become a witness, not a judge of what your body has to say. 

Create the space for awareness and your journey home to you has already begun.

Practical Resources: 

  • Podcasts: Dive into resources like "The Body Keeps the Score" podcast episode to gain insights into trauma recovery and reclaiming control over your life.
  • Professional Guidance: Consider booking a Breakthrough Call with a trauma-informed practitioner to explore personalised strategies for healing and unlocking your true potential.