Stress: It’s Not in Your Head, it’s in Your Nervous System
When it comes to stress people often like to tell you it is all in your head but that is not true. Stress is not as simple as people try to act like it is.
Research has actually shown that stress response memory makes a home for itself in your nervous system. When we go through something stressful out ANS is engaged, this is the part of our nervous system that is responsible for things like breathing that we do unconsciously. You see, we have a sympathetic branch known as the ‘fight or flight’ this is activated when stress hormones are released from your adrenal glands.
According to Peter A. Levine, a trauma expert when it comes to psychotherapy trauma happens when the biological process is overwhelmed and a person is not able to release and process the stressful event they have gone through. While it is possible to avoid a traumatic response by discharging the energy that is building up some people are unable to do so. When this happens the stress response itself remains in the tissue of the body. Then, when something happens that does not pose a serious threat the traumatic memory comes back up.
Research has actually shown that stress response memory makes a home for itself in your nervous system.
Things like this cause the body to release more stress hormones and the nervous system literally responds to the small things as if it is on the same scale as the traumatizing event was. This is not something a person can simply control. There is no way to make it stop by merely thinking. A present day trigger can cause these stored memories to resurface with ease. Learning why our body reacts in this way is important.
When we know what is going on inside of our bodies we are no longer isolated like we were before; we become aware. The best way to make it through these sorts of things is to retrain the body. You can do this by meditating, deep breathing, and a number of other ways. Anything that might help to release oxytocin is useful as well. By acknowledging your trauma you are well on your way to healing.
There is so much more to trauma that we do not often hear about. Stress can come from a lot of different places and we are not simply stuck in our minds obsessing over something. There are lots of mechanisms by which healing can and will occur if you let it.