Healing from Trauma – Embodiment

One of the most important ways I figured out what was right for me was learning to listen to my body. The body possesses an instinct that moves towards wholeness and a sense of its own integrity. This can be seen with things such as wound healing, where a cut will heal because the body has a sense of what is right for it. The difference between pleasure and pain is one of the most primitive life instincts, even possessed by bacteria. These instincts can lead us to what is good for us and away from what is bad.

There are several things can go awry with this process. One is that dissociation can make it impossible to know what is good and what is not. If we are stuck in our heads we are dissociated from our body, and cannot know what is good for us or what is not good. This is a common consequence of trauma.

Another issue is the presence of super stimuli We do not live in the environment that we evolved for, and can be led astray by these super stimuli. They are in effect too much of a good thing. Examples of these include fast food and pornography. The problem with super stimuli is that they may have unhealthy consequences. In addition, they can desensitize us to healthy stimuli. Also they can create an addictive spiral requires more and more stimulation to create the same effect. This is known as the hedonic treadmill

One can learn to distinguish between the feeling in the body of healthy stimuli vs. super stimuli. Notice the difference between how one feels when eating fast food vs. eating a meal that is truly nourishing. Likewise one can notice the difference between connected sex and pornography. These super-stimuli can be okay in moderation for some people like any vice, but one must be very careful that they do not spiral out of control.

Coming into connection with the body can be a gradual process. This is where titration can be important. Relationship is also important in this process as it is easier to heal in the presence of a supportive other.

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