We often think of stress and trauma as innate, locked away in our mental and emotional vaults. Too often, these experiences can make us feel isolated, powerless, and hopeless. But what if there is a way to unlock the hidden trauma we carry within ourselves? In episode 215 of the Health Gig Podcast, host Doro Bush Koch interviews Christie Nix, co-founder of rREST, to discuss her unique approach to unlocking trauma and managing stress.
In this episode, Christie discussed the process of uncovering trauma and how individuals can work toward emotional clarity as part of their healing journey. She opened up about her own story, detailing how she eventually found holistic healing and was able to help others by becoming a part of rREST. She then shared some of the techniques she’s using, both personally and professionally, to help others in their own healing process.
Let’s take some time to walk through the 30-minute podcast and dissect the key takeaways Christie offered on how to break free from the shackles of trauma and find inner peace.
The Impact of Stress on our Health
Stress is a normal part of our lives, and surprisingly, it’s not always that bad. In fact, it allows us to cultivate emotional resilience and build the emotional capacity to cope with difficult situations. But there is a fine line between the stress that builds emotional strength and the kind of stress that drains our energy out. When stress becomes too much to handle, it can take a toll on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
“What never crossed my mind was the role that stress plays in our health, well-being, and energy…” Christie explained when she was struggling to understand the cause of her health problems. Despite being a yoga teacher, Reiki Master, and vegan, Christie was still experiencing unexplainable bouts of sinus and voice issues.
Christie decided to take a deeper look into the role of stress in her life and realized that even though we may be taking care of ourselves religiously when we don’t recognize the influential factor that stress brings to our health, “we’re doing ourselves a disservice.”
With this in mind, she emphasizes the importance of managing our own stress. And it is not just about applying strategies to control our emotions and identifying the triggers that set us off. But what she and rREST believe is the importance of digging deep down into our history and understanding why we respond to circumstances the way we do.
Discovering our Big T and Small Ts
There’s an unexplored layer beneath our reactions, a hidden past event that shapes how we cope with the present. And to better understand ourselves, Christie believes that we must first uncover these lingering memories of our childhood. In the podcast, Christie shared how her mentors, Dr. Mitra Ray and Dr. Cindy Scholes, helped her unravel what she had gone through in her childhood. And it was in that eureka moment that she realized how a forgotten experience held her back from achieving the healthy life she had been dreaming of.
As children, our lives are often sewn together by traumas that shape us into the people we become. During their conversation, Christie explains the difference between ‘big T trauma’ and ‘little t trauma’ and how rREST can help in discovering those traumas and use them towards healing.
The Unspoken Big T
“We’re all about childhood trauma, and one of the biggest concerns we get with people like they’re super intrigued to have rREST on, but they’re so afraid of what’s going to come out of the closet. And those are the big T traumas.”
Big T Trauma refers to major traumatic events that are often left unspoken. It’s the deeply traumatic experiences, which we chose to block out from our memories or buried so deep down in our subconscious mind.
For many people, discussing their big T can feel overwhelming and embarrassing. They may worry about being judged or misunderstood, or they may feel as though talking about their trauma will only bring up more pain.
It may not be easy to uncover these big T traumas, however, Christie’s message is clear – It starts with the belief that we are all worthy of healing.
Coming from a personal experience of losing a friend, Christie did not recognize herself dealing with trauma until she had her first therapy session at rREST. She explained that it was only then that she was able to recognize her own “Big T.” And although she did not actually witness it, her young mind retained and stored away the disheartening feelings of losing her friend forever.
The Unrecognized Small t
On the other side of the coin, there are also childhood traumas that are often unrecognized or overlooked. These events can include everyday stressors, such as fighting with a friend, going to school, or even the disappointment of not getting something you desire. Now, we don’t recognize these affect us because, unlike the Big Ts, they aren’t as horrendous as they are. Unknowingly, they are circumstances that are as important because they are responsible for how we respond most of the time.
As Christie mentioned, “It’s all these little things that we experienced day-to-day … how it plays a role in how we handle our stress today.”
Apparently, these small Ts are the reason why most of the time we inadvertently attempt to resolve grown-up issues with childish coping strategies that only result in bigger stress and emotional turmoil. And by understanding these issues, we can begin to make sense of our emotions and better understand our own responses.
Importance of Unlocking our Traumas
It’s natural for us to want to sweep our traumatic experiences under the rug and just get on with life. We often think that burying the hurt and moving on can be the best thing for ourselves and others around us.
But, Christie emphasizes that it’s okay to acknowledge the traumas and have conversations about them. It allows us to take ownership of our stories, with gentleness and compassion for ourselves. In fact, talking about them can be a powerful release –to let out all of those emotions and also see that trauma from a different perspective, perhaps even finding new strength in the process.
“With rREST, we want everyone to know that there is nothing wrong with anyone. The reason we respond is because of human experience. There’s nothing wrong with anyone. It goes back to what happened to you.” Christie emphasized.
Having self-awareness about how our past circumstances shaped who we are, allows us to have emotional clarity. And by having clarity, we get to understand how to manage them, and eventually unlock new experiences that will lead to our fullest potential. As Christie mentioned, “Everyone’s so stressed that you can’t think of a sudden when a stressor is gone. There’s clarity and there’s focus so that you can move forward and think about what you really want.”
Freeing Your Inner Child with Ho’oponopono
After gaining emotional clarity, Christie was dedicated to helping others find the same peace. She then partnered with Dr. Mitra Ray and Dr. Cindy Scholes to create rREST– a program based on releasing childhood trauma and channeling that hurt into something positive.
Now that Christie is also one of the coaches, she also imparts one of the different techniques she’s using. One of them is the Hawaiian healing practice called Ho’oponopono.
This method gives you a bird’s eye perspective on what you have gone through in your childhood. It allows you to walk up to that younger version of yourselves, pick them up with a gentle smile, hug them, and say four simple phrases: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you”
And with time and practice, this will allow you to slowly start letting go of the unhealthy patterns and find your peace. Although Christie understands that healing is a process, she highlights that it is possible to achieve this sense of peace and fulfillment when both your body and mind are ready.
“There are times when something comes up where it is difficult for the client, but we make sure that our coaches are ready for that moment so that they can hold space. To heal that moment.”
Manage Your Stress with rREST
Christie’s journey to developing rREST was her own way of finding her true self. And now, she dedicates her time to helping others experience the same. She hopes that with rREST, people will find the emotional clarity to help them understand and manage their stress.
What’s different about their approach is the understanding of how our past experiences affect our responses and actions. These traumas might shape our past, but it does not define our future. With that as a key, we get to become more aware and create a better relationship with ourselves.