Define and isolate the traumatic experience
It is often in our ‘normal’ daily routines that we find comfort. We wake up, go to school, work, play soccer with friends, take out families, eat food, and sleep – all these are things that need to be repeated so that you can relax your mind and body.
But some experiences are events that may have been frightening or negative.
—— name it, label it, then look at it! ——#trauma therapy.
You must identify the trauma first before trying to deal with it. Don’t worry about how other people will perceive this incident but rather ask yourself if there is anything about this situation that needs to be healed.
Consider what has happened and try to make sense of it. Think back to when this incident occurred and decide if this was an event that needed to happen. Had you previously resolved this issue? Does acting now really help put your life back together after something bad happens?
These are questions that only you can answer. By asking them, you will know exactly where to focus your energy: either coming up with a resolution or practising self-compassion.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say that you found out that someone who works for you has been violating their employment agreement. You might feel angry/irritated/outraged…or maybe not.
If you don’t feel any emotion beyond mild irritation
Seek to understand the psychological origins of the trauma
Understanding the root cause of your traumatic experience is an essential first step towards healing, both metaphorically and literally. By identifying what triggered your initial disaster or devastating life change, you can more easily recognize similar patterns in other people’s lives and avoid falling into their old traps.
In order to do this, you must learn some basic psychology terms that will help you delve deeper into the mental process behind the triggering event.
These include cognitive restructuring techniques like thought tracking and mindfulness, which we will discuss later. For now, however, it is useful to know how things get psychologically “trapped” in our minds and how this affects our day-to-day living.
Consider the example of pain. We all feel pain, but when something triggers us to feel pain (i.e., another person cuts us off on the road, for instance) it becomes our priority to deal with that situation. Our mind automatically takes up the issue and fills our thoughts with feelings of fear, stress, anxiety, and helplessness.
We then spend the rest of the time focusing on these fears and stresses instead of paying attention to the actual physical sensations we are feeling.
This is why someone who experiences chronic pain has such difficulty ignoring his/her bodily warnings and managing their stressors. The body knows better than the mind whether the danger is imminent.
Physically recovering from the trauma
It is very important to remember that you are not weak just because you have feelings of sadness or helplessness.
These emotions can be helpful if you let them, but you should not feel shy or uncomfortable about letting them take over.
It’s healthy for you! The hardest part about recovering from trauma is dealing with your grief physically.
You will be fine as long as you realize it is normal to experience pain and depression at times. You may need help from a doctor, therapist, friend, or family member to get through this process.
Also, try to sleep when you can. Having extra time asleep reduces stress and helps heal your body.
Meditation is a practice with many benefits, including the reduction of stress and anxiety. In fact, research has shown that greater meditative experience is correlated with lower levels of stress.
There are several types of meditation, each with its own benefit. If you don’t want to practice meditating, there are ways you can practice it by yourself.
These techniques all involve training your mind to be aware of something else, either through consciously controlling your thoughts or deliberately focusing on things outside of yourself.
Consistency is the key to success in mediation. So start by setting a schedule for yourself. Meditate every day (including weekends).
Also, try to change up your routine. Don’ why not have a weekly session where you share what was most helpful that week? You could keep track of your scores on a calendar.
Anyone can do it, even if you just focus on your breathing. It doesn’t require much equipment or time out of the way. These days, you can find guided meditations online and on apps like Google home.
They’re easy to use and give you a starting place- sometimes more than you need to work up confidence.
Yoga is one of the best ways to relax and unwind from daily stress. Even if you’re not very good at yoga, trying some simple poses can help boost your mood.
Yoga combines stretching with breathing exercises. It helps to loosen your muscles and ease tension. You also learn to focus on your breath, which can lead to relaxation beyond yoga.
There are many different types of yoga, so try them all to see what fits you. Busy people often benefit most from yoga when it is taught in a class setting.
However, you can practice yoga at home, which may mean less time spent preparing or cleaning up after classes. There are hundreds of videos online for free learning how to do basic poses.
Perhaps the most helpful part of practising yoga at home is downloading a meditation app. These apps have dozens of sessions each designed to calm the mind and body.
You can read more about incorporating yoga into your life here > start with the basics.
Connect with a therapist
A trauma counsellor can help you manage your stress, restore your sense of joy and peace, and process any negative emotions that arise from what you have experienced. Ask family members or friends to look for therapists in their networks who are trained in therapeutic techniques.
To find a qualified therapist, search online for groups in your area that offer therapy services. Chances are good there is at least one agency near you that offers affordable counselling sessions.
You also may be able to get free quotes from several therapists so you can find one that matches your budget. To locate a certified therapist, type into the address bar of your browser the names of several hospitals or medical centres in your area.
You can ask them if they provide therapist referrals and see if anyone gets interviewed as part of his/her application. Also check out my Therapy Site, where you can read about different types of treatments and strategies as well as access articles and videos that will help you handle your problems better.
With healthy eating habits, you can improve your health, decrease symptoms of disease, feel better overall, and get more energy into your life.
Certain foods offer benefits that may promote healing or protect you from stress and disorder.
You should always eat fresh fruits and vegetables since these are rich in nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, and other antioxidants.
You can start with 1-2 servings (1 bowl) of fruit and 2-3 servings (2 cups) of vegetables per day.
Fruit includes berries, apples, oranges, pears, and others. Vegetables include green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, escarole, and others.
These types of foods also make a great snack. You can have them after school or before work, or save some for when you’re sick.
The fibre in veggies helps keep you full, so you don’t need to eat too much food. Each type of vegetable has its own unique composition of proteins, carbs, and fats.
Lean protein sources like fish and poultry contain less fat than meat sources. While we often think about leanness when it comes to meat, any type of meat can be high in fat depending on how it is prepared.
Lowering your intake of saturated fatty acids is important, as many of these contribute to heart disease. Overall, try to limit yourself to ~2
Get enough sleep
Recovery is tough. While therapy can help you deal with the psychological effects of trauma, you also need to address the physical symptoms causing distress. One way I have found helpful for this is by ensuring I get sufficient rest at night.
During treatment, my doctors would keep me in the hospital about twice per week for two weeks. I often felt so sick from the drugs they gave me that I would spend the whole time sleeping. The nurses would bring me apples or pears to eat since they knew I was vegetarian.
One morning, though, one of them brought me her homemade breakfast — fried eggs with what she told me was a special mix of herbs. I tasted it and realized that it was indeed delicious! She must have known how much I loved eggs (and vegetables) because she took extra care to make sure I enjoyed them.
This woman’s small action made me realize something important: even someone who has suffered an incredible amount of trauma needs to be cared for and treated as well as possible. No person who asks for help should feel any less deserving of respect and love than anyone else.
Manage your stress
If you’ve ever had an experience where you felt extremely overwhelmed or in danger, it can be difficult to get back into normal life.
When you are exposed to stressful experiences, your body reacts by releasing certain chemicals (known as hormones) that help you focus attention on safety over time.
However, when these substances leak too quickly, you can have a “hyper-responsive” state of mind. This condition is similar to panic disorder, in which you feel constantly anxious about things beyond your control.
To make matters worse, chronic exposure to stress can also cause structural changes in your brain that may decrease its ability to function normally.
Studies show that prolonged stress has been linked to memory loss, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, it is not surprising that repeated trauma exposures can trigger significant symptoms of mental illness.
If you’re trying to treat someone who is experiencing acute stress, be aware that their level of intolerance may prevent you from helping them overcome this trauma.