Colleen Gallagher on How to Heal Trauma
Some Considerations to Heal from Trauma

When it comes to how to heal from trauma, we must start with understanding. Many people do not know that trauma lives within the body – not just the memory within the mind. Trauma is caused by a stressful occurrence “that is outside the range of usual human experience,” which is markedly distressing to almost anyone. Anything that causes us to get into an emotionally disrupted state is an activation of trauma. By stress activating the nervous system to respond to whatever event just occurred, this indicates that unresolved trauma is still present in the body.

The stressful reaction in the present moment does not necessarily mean the response is from the traumatic event itself. This can become quite confusing when practicing yoga, teaching yoga, or living a yogic lifestyle. The slightest shift in tone, correcting someone during their practice, the language we use, the movement we sequence together all matter in allowing the nervous system to slow down or become self-regulated to release trapped trauma through stored emotions in the body. As yoga practitioners or yoga facilitators, how do we begin to create spaces and learn how to heal from trauma through love, personal development and become more aware of our bodies?

We Are Always in a State of Practice

We know we are always in a state of practice. When we show up to our mat, it is a time for us to practice moving through what lies within us to create a more expansive and stronger muscle memory as our natural state. Think of your body as your vehicle that houses your mind. Your body stores memories. It carries within it the Soul that connects you to the presence of something greater. It holds your beating heart.

And the practice of yoga, we are awakening, activating and releasing various muscles and organs in our body so that they can move in greater harmony together. We must begin to accept and acknowledge that we have gone through trauma or will go through trauma within our lives. It’s a non-negotiable to have a practice where we know how to get in tune with our bodies to create a life filled with love and happiness.

Steps to Self-Healing

One of the first steps in beginning to heal ourselves is to own our power. This is a topic I dig into in my third book, An Uncompromised Life. Many of us have no idea what it’s like to feel powerful or in control of our own lives. We have given up our power to societal structures and systems for so long, thinking there is no other way than what the mainstream within our respective county has presented to us as the average life.

Naturally, we have created muscle memory within our bodies to do things like recess, when we may want to stay inside and read a book or paint. We naturally turn away from the creative side of our mind because the curricula in America’s public education systems focus on subjects like math, science, English, and history. The majority of Americans go through public school, so we forget to even think about whether we are learning what we want to learn as an individual or if we are being forced into a system to learn something.

An Uncompromised Life Book Cover

Learning How to Ask Ourselves Questions to Promote Healing

Second, we are not taught about how our emotional state influences our behavior. We are not taught that what happens within our homes, from seeing our parents fight to experiencing physical abuse to feeling unseen or unheard will massively impact us later in life as this trauma is stored within the body. From a young age this memory is stored within us to accept this as normal behavior from the world.

We must begin to constantly ask ourselves this question, “Is whatever I am doing or whoever I am choosing to be right now truly what I want to do or be?”

So often we have the muscle memory within our bodies to be around friends who we don’t even like because we are avoiding being alone, as we’ve become afraid of the beauty to be who we are. It is through owning our power by beginning to know who we truly are and love ourselves for us that we will start to heal from trauma.

The best way to start doing this is by becoming in tune with your body through a practice like yoga to see where certain parts of your body are tenser and tighter, as this represents where you are storing trapped emotions or trauma in the body. Then, through a practice like yoga, releasing the tightness and tension in the body allows you to release the trauma.

Consciously Create Your Life

The second part of healing yourself from trauma through love that I talk about in my book, An Uncompromised Life, is that you must start consciously creating your life instead of doing your life. As mentioned already, most people show up and do yoga, do their work out, do their life, do the date, do the dinner, do the grocery store or do the bed. But is that what you want to create in your life?

Every time you do something where your body is sending you a signal of “No I, don’t’ want to do this,” but you do it anyway, you are recreating and reliving past trauma instead of focusing on how to heal trauma.

You have the opportunity to pause, to love yourself for who you truly are, to stop whatever action your about to take and ask yourself, “What do I desire?” This frees you up to create your life from a place of pure desire. Often, people I speak with run on autopilot, meaning they do things without thinking, believing that they cannot slow down to become in tune with how the body communicates.

I walk through this in Episode 31 of The Colleen Gallagher Podcast. A great question to ask yourself to help you to slow down your life would be, “Is whatever I am about to do going to allow me to create a life I am proud to live and feel better in the way I live my life?” If the answer is yes, do it. If the answer is no, don’t do it. Then observe how to come up with a creative solution where you begin to create your life instead of doing it thinking there is no other option.

Creation is a form of love; it’s how children are brought into this world. Doing your life on autopilot is a form of self-hatred and only causes more trauma to be stored within the body.

Journaling Exercises Focused on Creating Your Life

Lastly, as I suggest in my book, buy yourself a journal and write out your answers to the following questions. We transform our lives when we heal ourselves, and then the world heals through us. This begins, though, by the questions we ask ourselves. So we can start to change our paradigm and the way we experience our life.

In truth, the neurons in our brain and the muscle memory in our bodies guide us to act on doing our life only by the habits we are used to instead of intentionally creating it. To heal from trauma and live a life we love, we must begin to develop ourselves by owning our power. This starts with bringing into awareness what we are “doing” in our life that is not working, so that we can begin to create a life by design. This is the key to empowering ourselves to live the most magical life filled with love beyond our wildest dreams.

Deck of cards on the ocean focused on how to heal trauma

These hand-drawn affirmation cards by Colleen Gallagher are intended to unify spirituality and business, creativity and monetization, and the mind and heart.

Questions for Journaling

  • What things do you repeatedly do in your life that do not bring you joy, and how can you change these?
  • Where in your body do you experience the most pain, stiffness, or tightness? Ask your body what it needs to feel free and liberated. The answers will come.
  • If you could create the most amazing life filled with infinite abundance and love, what would that look like?
  • Write down the last 10 times you became emotionally activated through stress, anger, frustration, annoyance, et cetera.
  • Then ask yourself, “What consistent pattern actives my emotional disruption?” Begin to see how the story of your core trauma will begin to unravel.
  • Ask: If I experienced emotional or physical trauma in my life, what emotions do I use to avoid facing that trauma? You will then begin to see what experiences you use give energy to low vibration emotions to cause physical reactions in your body of anger, pain, avoidance, et cetera. The moment we begin to bring awareness to this, we allow the pattern to release and reform.
  • What are practices I can begin to do to make self-love and personal development a daily part of my life?

Meditate on Discovering Self-Love

Finally, I suggest listening to a free meditation I offer on my podcast in Episode 55. This will help guide you on your journey of learning how to heal from trauma and turning within to discover your inner self-love, release trapped trauma and develop yourself and life to become something beyond your wildest dreams.

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