How Long-Term Stress Damages Your Energetic Body (and What You Can Do About It!)

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What few know: long-term stress damages your subtle body. The trauma is not only fixed in your physical body, but also in the energetic layer around it. In this article, energetic therapist Patricia Akkermans shows what the far-reaching consequences are and what you can do about it yourself. “When you are exposed to physical or emotional threats that are beyond your control, your cocoon of safety is damaged. You lose your enjoyment of life.”

It takes time and attention to restore the energetic layer when several chakras are out of balance.

What does post-traumatic stress do to you?

Long-term stress can cause post-traumatic stress* and this can damage your subtle (energetic) body. With post-traumatic stress, you lose a sense of emotional and physical security. It arises after an event in which you have been threatened, when something serious physically or mentally happens to you or when you witness such a threatening situation. It is normal to experience emotional stress and disruption for days or weeks afterwards. You can suffer from reliving, anxiety attacks, nightmares and sleeping problems, crying spells and fatigue.

Your subtle body: a cocoon of safety

Such a radical event also has a major impact on your subtle body (energetic). The consequences of this are underestimated or overlooked. What’s up with that? Every person has a subtle layer around them, which I call a ‘cocoon of safety’ for the sake of convenience. You feel relatively safe here. This allows you to engage in social life all day long without being constantly aware of the dangers that lurk.

In situations that you experience as risky, you clearly feel the limits of your cocoon. Crossing those boundaries feels like stepping out of your comfort zone or putting yourself in a dangerous situation. This can still feel relatively safe as long as you can influence it. You set the boundaries, according to your own wishes and at your own pace. You are in control.

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Physical trauma

But when you are exposed to physical or emotional threats beyond your control, your cocoon of safety is damaged. Think of sexual violence, assault, a robbery, an attack or accident. But also in case of serious illness and the sudden death of a loved one. The energy of the unexpected event breaks your cocoon and makes you feel naked and vulnerable. You lose your sense of open-mindedness. The trauma does not only take place in your physical body, but also in the fine material layer around it.

You lose your innocence

Such damage to your cocoon also occurs in situations where you may not immediately expect this, such as prolonged stress due to social or societal problems. There are situations in life that put people under stress for a long time. For example, due to money problems after a divorce or the loss of a job. Due to concerns about children or other relatives or tensions with neighbours. Stress can also arise from noise pollution, not only from people but also from wind turbines or data centers. Or stress due to a bad working climate…

This means that we are constantly on edge, because we are immersed in a situation over which we feel we have little or no influence. Danger lurks and where it comes from is not always predictable and therefore elusive. We feel unsafe, damaged at our base. We lose our open-mindedness and our enjoyment of life.

Triggers and hurt chakras

You experience this stress more strongly if you have a high degree of ‘uncertainty avoidance’ and a need for control. Which is highly triggered in certain situations. In the subtle body, the energetic layer is damaged at the level of the three lower chakras. Sometimes there was already a weak spot and the reason for the current stress triggers old situations where these chakras are already hurt. You experience powerlessness and fear. Themes such as self-preservation, security, power and self-will are related to the lower chakras. In response to a previous trauma you have blocked the energy there. You have lost touch with your sense of stability, trust and security.

Blocked energy: being in your head a lot

Blocked energy shows itself, for example, in feelings of fear, rigidity or passivity. As a result, you withdraw and isolate yourself. Also energetically you pull your energy away from your base by, for example, being too much in your head. Or by completely losing contact with your body.

What can you do yourself?

Energetic healing is aimed at (re)establishing a healthy balance: between your emotional inner world, by restoring contact with it, and the outer world (how you act). It takes time and attention to restore the energetic layer when several chakras are out of balance. Time can heal many wounds, also energetically. This can take months.

You can give yourself attention, for example, with grounding exercises such as yoga, meditation or breathing exercises. You can increase your body awareness: feel where emotions are stuck in your body, learn to embrace them and let go of your resistance to them. And you need to accept that life is unpredictable and let go of your excessive need for safety and security. Experiencing a healthy balance in your life is learning to let go, this gives us freedom. And freedom is the only condition for happiness (after Thich Nhat Hanh).

*Note: post-traumatic stress is different from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a serious condition that must be treated by an expert trauma therapist.

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