4 Ways to Heal From Childhood Trauma

  • About 60 percent of people report some kind of abuse or trauma in their childhood.
  • Trauma is a huge block when it comes to improving your performance. The good news is that you can heal trauma for good and become stronger for it.
  • You can take the quiz below to measure how traumatic your childhood has been.
  • Neurofeedback, EMDR therapy, psychedelic therapy, and meditation are all powerful ways to process your trauma and heal from it.

Trauma is uncomfortable to bring up in conversation. You don’t often hear about it, despite the fact that 60 percent of adults report some kind of abuse or trauma in their childhood. [1][2] You hear even less about tools to heal trauma — to uncover it, face it, feel the pain associated with it, and then let it go.

Ways to heal emotional trauma

Here are four ways to work through emotional pain and let go of a traumatic past.

1) Neurofeedback for immediate results

Neurofeedback is probably the most efficient way to face trauma and learn more about your emotions and how your brain works. That’s how 40 Years of Zen got its name: by the end of the five days of intensive neurofeedback, your brain waves resemble those of a lifelong Zen monk.

In neurofeedback, you have electrodes connected to your head that show you your own brain activity in real time. Using that data, you can train yourself to have higher alpha waves — the calm, focused brain waves you create during deep meditation.[8]

Forgiveness is the fastest way to let go of painful experiences and permanently boost alpha waves, and it’s a big component of 40 Years of Zen. Facing trauma, feeling the pain, finding forgiveness, and letting it go, all with the guidance of neurofeedback and qualified therapists, rewires your brain.[9] And because of the neurofeedback, you can watch your brain release trauma and get stronger in real time. Neurofeedback is one of the most powerful biohacks available.

2) EMDR Therapy to rewire your response to triggers

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy helps you find triggers that cause a traumatic pattern or loop in your brain activity, and trains you to recalibrate your brain and process the event that caused the trigger.

In an EMDR session, you watch a light move from left to right at specific speeds. The eye movement puts your brain in a state where you can uncover and face distressing events much more easily. A therapist helps guide you through the events, process them, and rewire your brain response for the better.

It’s still not clear exactly how or why EMDR works, but a wide body of research has found that it’s effective at healing emotional trauma in the long-term.[10]

3) Psychedelic therapy

In her recent Bulletproof Radio podcast episode [iTunes], Winters talks about overcoming her difficult start to life. Winters scored a 10/10 on the ACE questionnaire, meaning she had the most traumatic childhood measurable. She credits psychedelics as one of the three biggest things that helped her heal.

“An experience with Psilocybin cubensis (hallucinogenic mushrooms)…[helped] to lift me up and see what was around me, to see the possibility of my own healing,” she says.

Psychedelics can change how you look at the world in a lasting and deeply healing way. Clinical studies have found that psychedelic experiences with mushrooms or LSD, combined with psychotherapy, can reverse treatment-resistant depression long-term after only one or two sessions.[11]

Psychedelics also permanently increase people’s openness scores, which correlates with increased creativity,[12][13] and 70% of people who took psychedelics for the first time rated the experience as one of the five most meaningful experiences of their lives, on par with the birth of a child.[14]

Of course, psychedelics are illegal in many places. Unless you go to Amsterdam or South America, your best hope of legal psychedelic therapy is to join one of the many clinical studies on psychedelics and trauma happening in the U.S. Be sure you know the benefits and risks of psychedelics before using them.

4) Meditation (especially alongside psychotherapy)

Meditation is an amazing biohack. It’s free, you can do it anywhere and any time, and it really works for building a stronger brain and becoming more aware of your emotions.

Meditating regularly relieves chronic stress and boosts alpha brain waves, which are associated with calm focus and happiness.[15] Meditation also increases emotional regulation, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and creativity, all things that trauma decreases.[16][17]

Increased emotional self-awareness and higher alpha waves make it easier for you to uncover negative brain loops caused by trauma, see them for what they are, and rewire your response. For a particularly intense meditative experience, try a 10-day silent meditation retreat.

Many people report that these retreats are both the most difficult and most healing experiences of their lives. Bonus? They’re typically free.

For maximum growth and help navigating your trauma, pair meditation with psychotherapy. A good therapist will guide you through your emotions and help you heal.



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