When Should you Seek Therapy for Trauma?

Defining Trauma

Trauma is your body’s response to an incident that was disturbing, distressing or life threatening. If you have encountered a traumatic event it is not abnormal to not have addressed the damage you received from this experience. Sometimes it is hard to recognize the symptoms from trauma because they can be subtle or severe. And not all trauma has to be a life threatening event or something extreme.  Being made fun of at school, losing your job, a fender bender can all be traumatic for some of us.

After an event you may feel as though you can’t live your life the same way you used to before the incident.  You keep trying to get back to your previous normal but you just can’t.   Leaving trauma untouched can create long term effects and other mental health issues.  It is important that you are able to recognize when you may need outside help battling unaddressed trauma in your life.

If you are experiencing any of the following it might be time to seek therapy.

Mental Effects of Trauma

If faced with some type of trauma you might be noticing a change in your thoughts or how you process different situations. For example, you could notice yourself becoming more forgetful or find yourself repeating things you have already said. At work you might have a harder time paying attention to the task assigned to you or communicating/collaborating with co-workers. Some other cognitive consequences you could be experiencing are flashbacks of the event or nightmares. These effects can be a direct result of your trauma and can be really frustrating, scary, and overwhelming.

Physical Effects of Trauma

Physical effects may be hard to identify because you don’t automatically match your nagging headache as a direct result of a traumatic event. But your body can tell you a lot by just looking at physical changes. Some physical effects of trauma are:

  • Fatigue
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle tension
  • Change of appetite
  • Getting sick more often
  • Strong startle response

Behavioral Effects of Trauma

Trauma can cause you to start behaving differently than you used to before the event. After experiencing a distressing incident paranoia might be at an all-time high. This could lead you to avoiding different places, people, or situations. You could find yourself becoming distant from family and friends or having a decreased hope for the future. Emotional difficulties can also be a direct result of behavioral changes. Examples of emotions you could be experiencing are anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, fear, depression, shock, etc.

Religious effects of Trauma

A traumatic experience can shatter and shake your religious beliefs. You might be experiencing a lot of doubt or questions towards God. When you feel as though your whole world is flipped upside down it is normal for you to question how something like this could happen. Your perception of His goodness or His plan might have changed due to the trauma you are facing.  Thankfully, you don’t have to tackle the confusion and uncertainty alone.

Next Steps

If you feel as though you might have trauma in your negatively impacting you, your relationships, job…Life then we can help.  The next natural step is to reach out by going to NewVisionCounseling.org or call (405) 921-7776 to start your journey towards healing today.

Living with Anxiety as a Christian

Anxiety can sometimes feel as though you have a giant cloud lingering over your head, no matter where you go it is there.  This might be something you have experienced for months or even years.  But living with anxiety is not something you have to do forever.  There are spiritual ways you can find freedom from your worries.

The Lord did not create you to live a life enslaved to your fears.  Sometimes when you have experienced anxiety for so long it starts to feel comfortable or normal.  You can begin to forget that anxiety is not a set part of your personality. This blog will go over spiritual steps you can take in order to cope with your anxiety.

Self-Care

Since your body has been given to you by God, it is your responsibility to take care of who you are mentally and physically.  This may sound like common sense but in our society it’s rare to find someone investing consistent time in true self care.  You may have read or heard the Scripture from 1st Corinthians 6:19-20 which says: 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore we can immediately debunk the myth that self care is selfish. God actually wants you to take care of yourself.  And since your body is a temple then taking care of yourself is an act of worship.  And, when we take care of ourselves consistently then anxiety can start decreasing.

Here are some ways you can show yourself love through self care:

  • Be still and off all devices- spend time alone and with God
  • Get your body moving
  • Feed your body spiritually- read God’s word, pray for others, practice gratitude daily
  • Feed your body physically- eat and drink foods and beverages that fuel your body to perform and move you to better health.
  • Create a routine that is healthy for you
  • Share your anxieties with trusted others
  • Schedule formal and informal activities that bring you joy

Choose to be Vulnerable

As Christians we can sometimes feel shame when wrestling with something like anxiety. It helps to remember that you are human and suffering is part of what we all go through in different seasons.  Sharing your struggles with others can build community that walk with you in the good and in the hard times. These relationships are vital because you won’t be alone.  You will be there for them and they can be there for you.  These friends and family can pray for you and surround you with their love, support and encouragement.

Give it to God

Anxiety can distract you from building a relationship with God.  It can tempt you to take your trust off of God and place it in your abilities.  Have you ever heard it said “If it’s gonna be it’s up to me?”  This mentality promises control and in the short term you may gain some sense of security.  In the long run trusting in your abilities over God and his becomes a crushing weight and a burden that can create anxiety, depression and a host of other issues.  Therefore, when faced with anxiety it is important to focus on the truths and promises that God has given you. Here are some examples given to us in the Bible:

  • God is for you, not against you
  • God is sufficient and gives sufficiently
  • God knows you and loves you deeply
  • He never leaves you or forsakes you
  • He is in control
  • He listens to you
  • No matter what happens on earth God’s love and you win out in the end…Guaranteed!

Become aware of your own worries in your life and give them to God in these practical ways.   God promises that no fear that you face is either too big or too small for our Lord. If its important to you then its important to God.

Next Step

When struggling with anxiety, you never have to walk alone. If you are looking for someone who can walk with you both spiritually and emotionally, at New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have trained therapists that can do just that. You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

Lower your Anxiety in 3 Minutes

Do you often find yourself in situations where anxious thoughts have taken over your mind? It could be while you are in the midst of people, at home by yourself, or maybe the feeling just lurks with you throughout the day. In these moments it can feel as though your body’s reactions and thoughts are uncontrollable. For example, having a fast heart rate or sweaty palms. It can be quite frustrating having your body respond in ways you don’t want it to, but there are methods to put your anxiety at ease.

In this blog, I will go through a 3 minute deep breathing technique to do 3 times a day. The 4-7-8 breathing technique helps increase the body and mind connection. The exercise will help you watch the anxiety go down like the ocean’s tide, slow but steady.

Steps:

Step 1: Position

Sit or stand in a position where you feel comfortable. You want to have your shoulders down and your body straight up, nice and tall. Next, you want to relax your eyes and place your tongue behind your top front teeth. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.

Step 2: Inhale 

Start to inhale for 4 seconds through your nose. Allow yourself to become aware of the air inflating your stomach as it moves closer to your spine.

Step 3: Hold your breath

After the 4 second inhale, hold your breath where it is at for 7 seconds.

Step 4: Exhale

Allow yourself to start exhaling slowly for an 8 count. Your exhale should be through your mouth and you will hear a “woosh” sound while doing it.

Step 5: Repeat

Repeat this cycle 3-4 times in a row. Don’t do more than 4 until you start to become more comfortable because it can cause you to become lightheaded. Remember that consistency is key, the more you practice the technique the more likely you will have positive results.

Call to Action:

If you found this to be helpful and are interested in finding new and effective ways to treat your anxiety we can help. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk beside you as you become the best version of yourself. You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org for help with anxiety or any other issues you are facing. We look forward to meeting you!

Rebuilding Your Life After Trauma

I recently worked with a client who experienced a great deal of trauma in his life.  The betrayal and pain he experienced from the people closest to him made him believe that he would never be able to move forward.  No matter what he did to get free he remained paralyzed by his past.  Fast forward to today.  He has created a new life for himself that he never thought was possible.  Through counseling and continuing to show up to life he has created something new.   He created a life full of hope, joy, and fresh beginnings.  A life he previously thought was only for other people who didn’t have severe trauma.  The good news… This is also possible for YOU!

When faced with trauma it can often feel as though you will be defined by it forever.  In this blog I will identify ways that you can create a beautiful life beyond the trauma that you have experienced.

Find Ways to Love Yourself

Trauma often does a good job at making you forget parts of yourself that you once loved. Discovering things that fill you up can help rebuild your life.  Imagine your perfect day from start to finish.  What would that look like for you?  Who is with you?  What activities are you engaging in?  After answering these questions, start to integrate these aspects into your everyday life.  Maybe it means playing a sport or an instrument, spending time with friends, or spending the day reading a good book.  Let yourself be present each day and find things that bring you joy.

Find a Community 

Finding a group of people who love and support you can make a huge difference when you have experienced traumatic events.  You need individuals in your life who are going to encourage and respect the journey you are on.  Think about the people who are feeding into your life right now.  Are they lifting you up?  If you answered no, then it is time to make some changes in your community.  Some ways you can do this are by joining a church group, finding a therapist, or looking for positive relationships to add into your life.

Embrace Forgiveness 

Forgiving someone or yourself can be an unbearably hard act that seems almost impossible at times.  Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or excusing the harm done to you, but it means letting go of feelings such as resentment or revenge that you might be holding on to.  As Christians we have been called to forgive one another because Jesus has forgiven us. Ephesians 4:32 says, Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  God never said that this would be easy, but it is a step in the direction of living a life of emotional and spiritual freedom.

Next Steps

If you have experienced trauma and are looking to build a life full of freedom, joy, and hope we are here to help.  At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have a team of therapists trained to walk with you.  You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or go to our website at NewVisionCounseilng.org to learn more about how we can best help you.

Coping with Reminders after a Loss

When walking through grief it is helpful to know that it is going to come and go like waves. One day the water might be up to your neck, feeling as though you can’t catch a breath and will drown. Other days the waves will feel much smaller. And just like the storms in the ocean, grief can be unpredictable. Even though it is unpredictable, there are ways you can be proactive in going through your grief journey.

Identifying Coping Strategies

One way to find useful coping skills is being able to identify your triggers. This could be something such as a person, place, song, or a special day.  For example, I have seen Christmas time being a trigger because it was so special for the mom and her daughter.  Knowing this was a trigger helped her be extra aware of the steps she needs to take around that time of year.  Steps to surround herself with friends and family that were sensitive to her sadness and knew how to love her in her pain.

During this blog, I will go through how having a written plan is helpful when faced with triggers.  This can help calm you down when you are clouded with unrelenting emotions.  Answering these 3 questions will help you identify useful coping strategies.

What can you do?

When faced with a difficult reminder of your loss, it can be important to know what you can do to help yourself.  Take a few moments now to think of actions that bring you any form of relief.  This could be as big or small as you want it to be.   Having these written down can help you quickly identify steps to take in situations where you are overwhelmed by grief.  Some examples are:

  • Reading a book or verse that brings you comfort
  • Writing in a journal
  • Exercising
  • Listening to music or a podcast
  • Eating a favorite food at a restaurant
  • Going outside to a special place

    Where can you go?

Next, be able to know places where you can go when faced with a trigger.  Having safe places is vital for your mental health.  This should be an area where you feel comforted and safe to express how you are feeling.  For some this could be a place of community such as their Church. For others, it might be a quiet location such as your favorite walking trail or a home with family and friends.

  Who can you talk to?

When grieving it sometimes feels like no one is there or no one will fully understand what you are facing.  Don’t let grief isolate you from the people who love and care about you.  In these moments embrace the individuals who will let you fully express how you are feeling. In this moment, write out a list of people you can call or visit when faced with difficult reminders.  If no one comes to mind or you don’t feel comfortable confiding with someone close to you there is another option.   For many struggling with grief, talking to a therapist can be a great next step.

If this is something you are interested in exploring as you navigate through your grief journey, you can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org. We would love to be someone you can talk to and walk with as you face new and lasting reminders of your loss. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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