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Reframing fear

Living through challenges can leave a later challenge of letting go of the emotion driven memory and storing it in long term, less emotional centers of the brain. Talking about the challenging or fearful event sometimes can help reprocess the memory and move it from the amygdala, emotional center of the brain, into less emotional memory storage areas. Talk may not help if is just a reminder or reinforcement of the difficult memory. Reframing it from a different perspective of what was learned or what was good - if only that it is over - is likely to be more helpful to move the emotional memory into a different type of long term memory storage.

A tip Mr. Rogers shared from his childhood:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” - Fred Rogers (youtube)

Trauma can become a body memory and lead to muscle tightness that may not be realized as connected to the memories. Therapy and physical stretches and massage both may be needed to help retrain the body tension. See: PTSD Symptoms: Body Armor, (aehuppert).

Disruption of sleep with bad dreams may be more common for people with trauma history or under severe stress. During REM stages of sleep the body naturally is paralyzed, literally not able to move, except for the Rapid Eye Movements (REM) which led to the name. Dreams seem to be a time for us to process memory into long term storage and the emotion center the amygdala is where the more traumatic memories are stored. (See: The Nightmare of Sleep Paralysis, NOVA, PBS) Dreaming or therapy may help move the memories into longer term storage that is less emotional, or in unresolved trauma (such as cPTSD or PTSD) the same dream or memory may reoccur.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a meditative therapy technique that may help process emotional memories into less emotional long term storage. EMDR and some other therapy techniques are discussed in Peace is recovering from trauma.

EMDR therapy can use different ways to stimulate the right and left sides of the brain rhythmically to help reach a deeper meditative state of relaxation and then the therapist may ask questions about the trauma memory and what you are thinking about it. Meditative sound therapy uses sounds to stimulate the right and left side of the brain, that work with headphones or in a small enclosed space such as a car that has speakers on the right and left side of the car. I found BrainSync helpful, Slim Naturally guided Meditation for Weight Loss includes a section addressing the physical effects of chewing and swallowing which helped me realize that my eating too much was in part self harm, displaced anger, and eating instead of talking about my concerns. -- We don't know what we don't know until we learn it.

Children frequently frame things with themselves as the center, the cause, as if deserving of the event - because they didn't at that time have a larger picture of the world. Young children have themselves and their own perspective as the center of their world. Adults generally have learned as they grew up that other people have different beliefs, interests, ways of doing things, etcetera, and that we are all different, everyone else in the world aren't all thinking the same things as each other.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./


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