We have been raised in a society that fears the symptoms our bodies display. Pills are prescribed for anxiety and depression, ice cream and a new partner for a breakup. Body aches are quickly covered with Tylenol, the inability to feel with adrenaline sports or cutting, while the unfulfilled life is ‘filled’ with shopping.

Behind the Symptoms

However, symptoms can be viewed through a different lens; they are signalling something important to us. Each symptom we experience in our body, no matter whether it is physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, tells the story of an imbalance at a deeper level of who we are and holds the key to resolving it. This view can give a very different perception of our bodies and minds.

Symptoms are a bit like the dashboard lights on our vehicle. Especially as vehicles become more and more computerized, fewer of us have any idea of what is happening under the hood. Lights on the dash are to indicate a problem so that we can get the vehicle the proper care for the situation. When the ‘check engine soon’ light comes on, most people are pretty quick to get their vehicle to a repair shop. Many people do preventative maintenance on their vehicles by checking their oil before the light indicates they must. Our relationships with our own bodies could be quite different if we listened to them as well as we do our expensive posessions.

By learning to ‘read’ symptoms, as we do the lights on our dash, we can understand that our bodies have a lot to tell us about what is healthy for us and what areas of our being need extra care. Shifting our thinking away from fearing symptoms and towards understanding them, results in a more enjoyable experience of living in our bodies and a happier, healthier life.

Below is a list some of the common symptoms of trauma in adults and children.

Common Symptoms of Trauma

ages 0-2

  • low weight and digestive problems
  • fear separation from parent/caregiver
  • startle easily
  • poor muscle tone
  • resistant to physical contact
  • failure to recognize the face of primary caregiver

ages 3-6

  • resistant to being held
  • excessively clingy and whiney
  • persistent, frequent tantrums, sometimes escalating beyond the child’s control
  • bed wetting
  • poor sleep habits
  • problems with developmental milestones
  • indiscriminate displays of affection

age 7- 15

  • avoid eye contact with parent or caregiver
  • cruelty to animals
  • not affectionate unless they initiate
  • poor impulse control
  • difficulty with peer relationships
  • poor sleep habits
  • withdrawing from family and friends
  • depression


  • anxiety, fear and depression
  • muscle tension
  • difficulties in relationships
  • feeling sad or hopeless
  • feeling numb
  • stiffness and inflexibility
  • aches and pains
  • outbursts of anger and emotion

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Talk with Shawna