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What is the impact of chronic stress and trauma?

When you experience stress or trauma, your sympathetic nervous system is preparing you to deal with a certain “threat”. Your body's so-called fight/flight/freeze response kicks in, ready to tackle anything from being irritated to facing violence. Evolution has not caught up with our modern society, resulting in your brain making no distinction between you being attacked by a lion or working on a deadline.

Long after a “threatening” event occurred you can still feel tense, become quicker agitated or feel anxious. Especially, when the “threat” is chronic (like work stress or neglect) or traumatic (like an accident or rape). You reside, as it were, in a state of readiness, ready to fight or flight. Your stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, keep your body prepared for action, even when there is no longer a need for it.

Being on alert at all times is not only tiring but also has serious health impacts like: high blood pressure, tensed muscles (causing back pain, headache), anxiety, depression, and it weakens your immune system, metabolism and libido.

Consequently, childhood trauma still impacts the way our body and mind functions today.


The main function of your brain and body is to keep you alive. It constantly scans if you are safe or in danger. Your brain gets this information from 3 sources:

  • your surrounding

  • your thoughts

  • your body

Whether you live with a hostile partner, have worry thoughts or a tense body, your brain interprets this as an unsafe situation and protects you by putting you in a fight/flight/freeze state.

The fight state creates irritation and anger, the flight state anxiety and the freeze state makes you numb and depressed.

To deactivate your survival response you will have to create safety. Anything that helps you feel calm is a good start, like walking, exercise, yoga, socialising, or music. When that is not enough, you might want to focus on your thought or body.

I use a body-based technique called Tension Releasing Exercises, that permanently releases stored body tension.

To change your thinking I use Quantum Energy Coaching, to change the way you view yourself, others and stressful situations.