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The Impact of Generational Trauma on Your Intellectual Health (And What You Can Do About It)

Generational trauma is something we all have experienced in one way or another. From childhood to adulthood, we carry those traumatic experiences throughout our personal relationships and within our professional careers. As members of Sigma Chi Psi and Gamma Sigma Gamma, you know how important that connection between personal and professional lives can be for your health. When it comes to intellectual health, it starts with being open to learning new things, expanding your problem-solving skills, enhancing your self-awareness, and improving your communication skills. It also helps to be mindful of current events that affect you and your community societally, economically, and politically. Here are a few ways that generational trauma negatively impacts your intellectual health and what you can do about it.

How Generational Trauma Can Impact Your Intellectual Health

Poor Mental and Physical Health

If you’ve ever been stressed and unable to concentrate on school or work, then you know how your decision-making is affected when you don’t take care of yourself. The mental symptoms of trauma can include anxiety disorders, hypervigilance, PTSD, mistrust, insomnia, and self-esteem issues. Physical trauma symptoms often present in the immune system as an overactive or underactive bodily dysfunction that can turn into autoimmune diseases and hereditary illnesses. Because trauma alters the microglia, the brain’s immune system, it frays the nerve endings that cause anxiety, depression, memory loss, and even dementia in some cases. These changes become hereditary, passing through generations both genetically and behaviorally. It affects how we think about ourselves, others, and our environment.

Difficulty Learning

How you learn and how well you comprehend what you’ve learned is essential to your education, but the effects of trauma can hinder your ability to do so. Research shows trauma can cause learning disabilities and learning disorders like ADHD, dyslexia, and more. This makes learning more difficult and affects your self-confidence and vulnerability to other mental and physical health issues. There are long-term effects that a history of trauma in your family history can have, including substance abuse and self-harm. These issues eventually prevent your ability to think clearly and make your life plans and goals happen.

Similar to the difficulty of learning new things, there’s another issue growing more pervasive in this country. Cognitive dissonance is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes in relation to behavioral decisions and attitude changes. It is detrimental to our overall health when we cannot learn from new people, perspectives, ideas, or experiences.

Isolation From Others

As members of a sorority or fraternity, you know how important that connection among your community is to build a strong network and feel supported throughout your education and career. Generational trauma can often manifest in habits that cause a disconnection from those who could help us build authentic relationships and grow as individuals. Social isolation is associated with a 50% higher risk of depression, dementia, and other serious mental issues.

What Can You Do About It?

Talk About It

You give power to the problem when you don’t talk about what is wrong. You take your power back when you can talk about what can go right. Talking about issues we’re facing helps release suppressed feelings of isolation and loneliness. It creates a sense of community with people you trust, such as your fellow sorority and fraternity members. It can help you begin to heal and find solutions to behaviors you’re looking to change. You may be surprised who in your sorority, fraternity, organization, workplace, or family and friends circle can relate to your struggle and be a guide to helping you.

Educate Yourself

There is a world of information available to you online. The key is to learn how to educate yourself. You need to know how to find reputable and professional resources that have verifiable facts and researched insights to help you heal your trauma, improve your behavior, and create better habits over time.

Find Support

Therapy is one of the best options to start unpacking generational trauma and can be a catalyst to healing and improving your health, intellectually and otherwise. There are qualified and certified therapists available in various specialties. They can provide a tangible action plan that gives you a sense of purpose and a more desirable outcome than if you dealt with unpacking the trauma on your own.

Now that you know how generational trauma can affect your intellectual health and what you can do about it, you should take some time to learn more about Gamma Sigma Gamma and Sigma Chi Psi. We are on a mission to provide online students with a way to create connections, make positive change, support social justice, and build on inclusivity.

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