The “science” part of Stress, Spirit and Science is mostly psychology, but with a healthy helping of physiology as well. When talking about stress and trauma, mind and body truly are inseparable. As Dr. Bessel van der Kolk titled his wonderfully informative book, The Body Keeps the Score, our bodies really do “keep score.” Stress and trauma produce physiological reactions that are practically indistinguishable from physical stress and trauma. For example, brain imaging of people with post-traumatic stress injuries and traumatic brain injuries look much the same. Our bodies produce the same hormones when we break a leg or receive horrible news. Physical injuries leave visible scars; broken hearts leave invisible ones.
Regarding emotional trauma as an injury, rather than as weakness, is one of the most powerful ways to help people accept the truth that they need time and gentleness to heal. In macho worlds such as public safety and business executive leadership,the myth persists that emotional trauma is weakness. But it is okay and acceptable to have an injury that will take time to heal. Everybody knows that even a professional athlete can’t just “power through” a serious injury – it takes time to heal.