A Heart-Mind Interview: Trauma, Stress, and Teens

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In the first resource of this two-part video series, trauma-informed yoga therapist Nicole Marcia explores what it means to be trauma-informed and explains how supporting teens with a trauma-informed approach is strongly linked to Heart-Mind well-being. 

Emotional up's and down's are an unavoidable part of life, particularly in adolescence, when hormones run rampant and teens are faced with increasing independence and responsibility. But when emotional distress becomes chronic, it can be debilitating. Such is the case for teens who have experienced trauma[1]

Fortunately, there is much that you - a caring adult - can do to help the teens you care about thrive. In this short video, Nicole Marcia [2]explains how adopting trauma-informed practices can improve well-being for all teens, regardless of their trauma history. See below for key messages from the video interview, and be sure to check out this post from Heart-Mind Online [3]for the evidence behind a trauma-informed approach. 

Key Messages: 

  • Trauma-informed practices are for everyone - we are all trauma survivors to some extent
  • Being trauma informed means creating spaces and practices that support an experience of safety
  • Safety is important in relationships, communication, and the environment
  • Choice is a key component of a trauma-informed approach
  • Using language that invites, rather than instructs, is beneficial regardless of one's trauma history
  • Choice, freedom, empowerment, and compassion arise from engagement with a trauma-informed approach
  • Security is cultivated in safe and empowering relationships with trusted adults and peers
  • Practices to reduce stress (a main side-effect of trauma) include breathing and movement
  • Breathing and movement practices only take a few minutes to do and can take place in any comfortable environment, such as at home or school 
  • A trauma-informed approach directly supports Compassionate & Kind and Secure & Calm Heart-Mind qualities [4]

In the second part of this series, Nicole Marcia demonstrates a short seated movement and breathing practice for stress reduction, which is perfect to use with teens in the classroom. Also in this resource, Heart-Mind Online reports on promising evidence to support the use of movement and breathing practices for healing from trauma and chronic stress. 

Trauma manifests in our brains, bodies, and emotions, and can lead to serious negative health effects.

Trauma typically arises when our brains and bodies are overwhelmed from an unexpected, unwanted experience that we are unprepared for and cannot prevent or stop. Trauma can arise from a one-time event, like a car accident, or from repeated or prolonged exposure to adversity such as poverty or domestic violence. 

Nicole Marcia is a trauma-informed yoga therapist based in Vancouver, BC. Click "more" to learn more about her work and the services she provides. 

This easy-to-read post from Heart-Mind Online is full of evidence-informed facts on what trauma is, how it affects us, and what we can do about it. 

Click "more" to learn more about the 5 Heart-Mind Qualities. 

  • Secure and Calm

    Secure and calm describes the ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. To be secure and calm also means being able to cope with stress and pressure, and to bounce back from difficulties.
  • Gets Along with Others

    Getting along with others is the ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. Children with better abilities to regulate their emotions and behaviours have more friends and experience more positive playtime with their peers.
  • Alert and Engaged

    Being alert and engaged is the ability to manage and direct one's own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be 'present' and to exercise self-control.
  • Compassionate and Kind

    Being compassionate and kind is closely related to empathy. While empathy refers more generally to the ability to take the perspective of and to feel the emotions of another person, compassion goes one step further.
  • Solves Problems Peacefully

    Managing conflict effectively is about creating an atmosphere where violence and aggression are not likely. To resolve conflict means using empathy, problem-solving skills, understanding other points of view and coming up with ways to make things right in a fair way.