As mentioned in a previous blog, the brain is very pliable and changes according to our life experiences. Those with repeated traumas, or a severe single trauma, can develop something called “trauma brain.” This is your brain’s way of protecting itself and protecting you. The problem is, you may feel like you’re going crazy and not realize that with help, it can be changed. There are also others that this is their normal way of functioning and think “that’s just who I am,” not realizing it is a byproduct of life experiences.


So what are some markers that you may have “trauma brain?”

  • Those with trauma brain have difficulty sitting still; it is often diagnosed as ADD. The brain interprets staying still as not safe; you must always be moving. This is not to say that all those with ADD have trauma brain, but many do.
  • Those with trauma brain are often hypervigilant. They may appear to be very sensitive to noises and movements around them.
  • They feel under stress all the time. This often shows up in the body: tense shoulders, aching neck, migraines.
  • They have trouble regulating their emotions. It takes a while to calm down after being upset. Others may call them “bipolar” (which is not accurate).
  • Difficulty concentrating. Again, this is due to the brain’s inability to rest. It has too many things to focus on and so it makes it hard to focus on one thing.


This is obviously not an exhaustive list and there can be other reasons for these symptoms. However, it can be a good place to start. So, you see yourself in a lot of these…what now? The first thing you can do is find a licensed counselor, preferable one with training in trauma. Next, mindfulness has been proven to be helpful in reshaping the brain in a more healthy way. There are many helpful apps that are currently out there. However, it is important to make this a daily practice. One time will not have the necessary effect. Finally, if mindfulness is difficult for any period of time, grounding techniques can be very useful. There are several ways of doing this, but a common one is find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Reshaping the brain to function in a more healthy manner is possible, but it does take time.