There are two categories of coping after a trauma: avoidant
coping and active coping.
As I touched on previously, avoidant coping means you
avoid facing painful memories by minimizing the impact they
had upon you, through emotional numbing, isolating your-
self, and dissociating.
Active coping, in contrast, means that you deal direct-
ly with healing the trauma and your underlying feelings
about yourself and about life. This usually involves going to
trauma-focused talk therapy (psychotherapy) with a qualified
therapist who knows how to deal with post-trauma symptoms.
If you have many choices for a therapist, then go with one
who specializes in trauma recovery.
Studies also show that being active in terms of exercising
your body is helpful in healing the symptoms. Exercise is ca-
thartic and can build self-confidence. Just be sure that the
workout program you choose isn’t in itself stressful, as that
will increase your cortisol, adrenaline, and histamine levels.
∗ Active-cognitive coping means meditating, or changing
your mind about how you view life so that it’s more
∗ Active-behavioral coping means dealing with emotional
pain through activities, including exercise like yoga .
Gentle and restorative yoga provides a wonderful healing
outlet for trauma survivors. Yoga is the exercise program most
often recommended to heal post-traumatic symptoms and to
reduce stress hormones and the experience of stress.
If the idea of yoga classes conjures visions of you standing
in a room full of skinny, flexible 20-year-olds . . . well, there’s a
reason for that. As you’ll read in this chapter, yoga is an amaz-
ing weight-loss and youth-enhancing tool.
However, studies show that you don’t have to pound it
out with frantic sun salutations and fast-paced warrior poses in
order to gain benefits from yoga. In fact, as you’ll read, gentle
and restorative yoga is proving beneficial in healing the mind
Besides, there’s a lot of evidence that doing stressful exer-
cise—including yoga—is counterproductive. Stressful exercise
is competitive or brings up fear and triggers the adrenal glands
to produce the stress hormone cortisol. This, in turn, causes
the body to store food as fat, particularly in the stomach. Stress
makes the brain and body think that you are in danger, and
that famine is on the way. So, it holds on to every calorie as
This part of the puzzle was revolutionary to me. I’d exer-
cise daily, and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t losing weight.
Well, it was because my exercise program was too stressful and
was triggering cortisol production.
Gentle exercise is actually a better method for weight loss,
because little or no cortisol is produced. So your body becomes
more “fuel-efficient” in terms of burning off the food you eat.
I once read an article in a women’s magazine called “Ap-
ply Your Makeup to Achieve That Just-Got-Out-of-Yoga-Class
Glow.” I laughed, because the article so misses the point of
yoga. The reason why yoga gives a natural, not-made-up glow
is because this ancient form of stretching circulates oxygen
and blood within your body.
Apart from the aesthetic benefits of yoga is its remarkable
ability to heal the effects of stress and trauma.
~excerpt from the book “Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle” by Doreen Virtue