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  • Alainnah Knight

Why 'Going Slow' Is The Fastest Way To Heal Through Trauma

Did you know that when working through trauma, the fastest way to heal is to go slow? Notice if there is any resistance within you coming up when reading that! We often want to hurry through things, hurry to get to places, hurry to the next best thing, and so on. This sense of urgency and rushing can be a result of trauma, or being in a state of fight or flight. When healing through trauma, we may also experience a sense of urgency in wanting to heal. We may want to speed up the process and go double-time on the 'work' we are doing to heal. As much as we may be putting in all the good work, if we are unable to slow down and create safety within ourselves, that work will most likely be short-term. Let's talk about a few reasons why going slow is the best thing you can do to heal trauma.


What's The Point Of Going Slow To Heal Trauma?

Sunrise slowly rising above Arches in Moab, Utah

Safety and Regulation

Our nervous system can become dysregulated after going through trauma, leaving us in a state of fight or flight. When we are in this state, our nervous system believes that we are in a state of survival and are ready to react for safety, no matter the measures this may mean for us. Although this response may have been helpful during the trauma, you may be noticing that it is no longer helpful and is now impacting your life. Slowing down to build safety and regulation within the nervous system is crucial to healing through trauma. Practicing grounding techniques, meeting basic needs (fueling your body, hydrating, getting adequate sleep, moving your body, etc), and building coping skills are great places to start building safety and regulation.


Building Resilience

Resilience is your ability to adapt and recover after a stressor, trauma, or life event has occurred. Building resilience is a skill and should be practiced at all times, not just when you need it. Building resilience includes building emotional regulation skills, increasing your self-confidence, developing a positive community and connections, and meeting your basic needs. Going slow with building resilience allows you to build a sturdy foundation, rather than suddenly having to cope with intense emotions and feelings.


Processing Fragmented Memories

Often our minds will block out the memory of painful experiences, however, that does not mean that our bodies are not still holding the painful memory. Trauma work involves processing and integrating fragmented memories and emotions. Going slow allows us to go at a pace that allows the mind and body to connect, promoting a deeper understanding and integration of the experience. The secondary consciousness will often want to take over with storytelling, or meaning-making if the memory is present. When we take a second to access the primary consciousness, we can access the feeling and sensation that also arises, allowing the body and mind to further process and integrate the experience in a safe place.


Avoiding Re-Traumatization

Rushing through trauma work can inadvertently re-traumatize us by overwhelming our systems with intense emotions and memories. Going slow when working with trauma can help us expand the window of tolerance, which is the range of arousal in which we can effectively process and integrate our experiences without becoming too overwhelmed. We can also begin to notice when we are leaving our window of tolerance, allowing us to be aware of when we need a coping mechanism or grounding technique, ultimately bringing more awareness to the body.


Building Trust

Trauma can create a ripple in our trust in ourselves, others, and the world around us. When we go slow in trauma work, we foster a trusting environment and relationship that allows us to create safe boundaries, have autonomy, and explore parts of ourselves with unconditional positive regard, which are all essential for healing through trauma. Our nervous systems must be able to fully trust, not just our minds.


Body Awareness

Body awareness in healing through trauma is SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT! We often lose connection with our body when enduring a traumatic experience, what some people may call an "out-of-body experience." Our body is incredibly intelligent and offers us so many signals throughout the day, which can be easy to ignore when we are not aware of our body. Building body awareness builds a relationship with yourself through becoming aware of the physiological responses that you can honor for your body. This takes slowing down, listening, and acknowledging.


Lastly,

Going slow in healing through trauma allows us to build safety, regulate our emotions, avoid re-traumatization, build resilience, integrate our experiences, rebuild trust, and cultivate awareness within our bodies. While it may seem counterintuitive to some, going slow prioritizes our well-being and results in long-term, life-changing results when healing through trauma



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