Trauma Awareness Month. 5 Ways to Heal from Trauma
Trauma is a psychological response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. A traumatized person can feel a range of emotions both immediately after the event and in the long term. They may feel shocked, overwhelmed, helpless, or have difficulty processing their experiences. Trauma can also cause physical symptoms such as racing heartbeat, fatigue, and nightmares.
Experiences that may be traumatic include:
· Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse
· Living with a family member with mental health or substance use disorders
· Childhood neglect
· Sudden, unexplained separation from a loved one
· Racism, discrimination, and oppression
· Violence in the community, war, or terrorism
Recovering from trauma does not mean forgetting your experience or not feeling any emotional pain when reminded of the event. Recovery means becoming less distressed and having more confidence in your ability to cope as time goes on. The following tips can help you heal from the trauma:
1. Do not isolate, lean on your loved ones
Connecting to others face to face will help you heal, make an effort to maintain your relationships and avoid spending too much time alone.
2. Get moving
Exercising for half an hour or more helps improve physical and emotional well-being. Add a mindfulness element by focusing on your body movements while doing exercises such as rock climbing, boxing, weight training, or yoga. These are great ways to divert your attention from negative thoughts.
3. Face your feelings
Allow yourself to feel what you feel when you feel it. Journaling is a common way to manage stress and move through complex events. Try to get in touch with what you are feeling, allow yourself to experience it entirely for a few moments, then notice how it passes.
4. Prioritize self-care
Do your best to get plenty of sleep, eat a well-balanced diet, avoid alcohol and drugs, and try relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. Schedule time for activities that bring you joy.
5. Find a new purpose
It might be volunteering, teaching a class, or rescuing animals. Knowing that you are making the lives of others easier in some way will give you a sense of fulfillment, lessen feelings of helplessness, and remind you of your strengths.
Recovering from trauma takes time, and everyone heals at their own pace. However, if months have passed and you are still having trouble coping with work or with relationships, it is important that you seek timely professional support. There are skilled counselors and psychotherapists who can help you to recover from a traumatic event.
Mental Health Counselor Intern