Stress & trauma

What is Stress?

Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. Stress is a normal part of life and our bodies respond physically, emotionally, and psychologically. We experience stress as a result of both positive and negative events in our life. Positive stress (i.e. when someone gets married, has a baby, or gets a promotion), is called “eustress” and can serve to keep us energized, motivated, and alert. We also experience stress due to demands and painful life events. When we have prolonged exposure to this kind of stress, without relief, we experience “distress”. This chronic state of distress takes a toll on the body.

The Stress Response

Our body’s reaction to stress

The “fight or flight” response is our physiological reaction to extremely stressful events or experiences. It is an automatic innate survival response that helps us react quickly to life-threatening situations. The hormonal and physiological changes in the brain and body, equip the body with increased energy, heightened sensitivity and acuity to either fight the threat or flee to safety. This survival mechanism is meant to be a short –term reaction which is followed by the body’s return to equilibrium and restoration. However, traumatic experiences and/or chronic stress can activate our “fight or flight” continuously disrupting our mental, physical, physiological, emotional, and spiritual functioning. This chronic state of discomfort or dis-ease is at the root of physical and mental illness.

The Effects of Stress

Your Mood:






Lack of Concentration


Lack of Motivation







Your Body:


Muscle Tension

Headaches, Backaches, Pain


Stomach pain

Nausea, Indigestion, Heartburn, Ulcers


Bowel issues

Irritable Bowel, Diarrhea, Constipation


Heart Palpitations / Chest Pain


High Blood Pressure


High Cholesterol


Skin Conditions

Eczema, Acne


Sleep Disturbance


Decreased Libido


Dysfunction of the Reproductive System


Endocrine Issues

High Blood Sugar / Diabetes

Your Behavior:


Social Withdrawal


Self Medicating

Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs


Outbursts / Difficulty controlling temper


Impulsivity or procrastination


Eating Disturbance

Over and Under-Eating


Reduced Physical Activity

What is Trauma?

Trauma is an emotional response to an event that causes us distress and threatens our sense of safety. 

Trauma-Informed Care

How It Helps

Trauma informed care encourages practices that facilitate a culture of safety, empowerment, and healing. GIFT’s mission and values are beautifully aligned with the Guiding Principles for Trauma-Informed Care. We have made a commitment to care for ourselves, each other, our clients, and our community by adhering to these principles.

The Principles of Trauma-Informed Care


At GIFT, we believe that healing can only occur in a safe environment. Your physical and emotional safety is our highest priority. When we have a felt-sense of safety, we can shift out of the sympathetic stress/survival response, relax, rebalance, reconnect to ourselves, connect with others, learn, grow, and heal.


Trust is a fundamental aspect of health. Trauma disrupts our sense of trust in ourselves and others. We have selected a team of culturally-sensitive practitioners that are trustworthy and transparent. We work to develop trust by letting you know what to expect; being consistent; communicating respectfully, directly, and honestly; providing a nonjudgmental environment; taking accountability for our errors or oversights (we are all human), creating safe boundaries. We also encourage self-trust through empowering you to identify your needs, make your own choices, use your voice, and honor yourself.


Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, taking more control of your life, and claiming your rights. We empower you to tap into your resilience, build upon your strengths, learn skills and practices to reduce stress and navigate life’s challenges. Through the empowerment process, you grow in self-awareness, self-compassion, assertiveness, boundary setting, and decision making so that you are free to live more intentionally, authentically, and joyfully.


Our choices matter. The power to choose is the creative force behind living a living a healthy and meaningful life. In each moment we have the freedom to choose what we think, what we believe, how we respond, how we express ourselves, which relationships we nurture, what we put in our bodies, how we invest our energy and resources, how we move, and so on. It is estimated that we make 35,000 choices in a day. These choices threaded together over time is your life. At GIFT, we believe in living your best life. We also believe you know yourself better than anyone; therefore, we empower you to choose what is right for you in each moment, and we support you in acting towards creating your healthiest self and best life.


We heal together. We believe developing a collaborative partnership facilitates healing. We strive to generously and actively listen to you so that we can deeply and accurately understand your perspective. We want you to feel seen, heard, understood, and supported. We do not take the position of expert. Instead, we create an egalitarian relationship where we can guide you to awareness through our reflections, questions, and mind-body practices. Then we collaborate with you to create a wellness plan that supports your short and long-term health vision, intentions, and goals.

“Your identity is not equivalent to your biography.”

– John O’Donahue

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We strive to meet each client where they are, to help embark on their healing journey and to provide a safe and secure environment.