Trauma can be a challenging experience to overcome and can have lasting effects on your overall functioning and well-being. After experiencing trauma, you may struggle to find yourself again or become completely overwhelmed by the emotional wreckage that trauma has caused in your life. It is important to gain support by speaking with friends, loved ones, or a professional therapist if your trauma feels too intense to process alone. Below are some helpful tips to help you reduce the negative effects of trauma on your own until you are ready to take the next step to get help from others.
Define What You Want to be Different
This is a great first step because it helps you identify what is wrong and hurting along with setting goals of what you want to see in you and your life in the future. When you are suffering from trauma, this task can seem almost impossible to do by yourself. However, if you are able to do this you can find tremendous benefits. If you are not then you may find yourself in the almost impossible position of trying to hit a target when you don’t know where it is or what it looks like.
Identify Your Triggers
Another step in processing trauma is to identify your triggers. An example of a trigger is a sound, smell, environment, or any other outside stimuli that wreaks havoc on your nervous system and takes you back to a traumatic place. Triggers elicit intense emotional reactions and can be difficult to cope with. Maybe a certain person causes your mind to go back to a horrible accident, or you hear a song that completely enmeshes your senses with fear and dread because it reminds you of your traumatic experience. Triggers are unique to everyone, so the way you choose to cope with yours is a personal decision. Once you have identified your triggers, you can begin to learn healthy coping skills and set plans for times when you are experiencing severe emotional distress.
Engage in Physical Activities
Exercise helps to reduce stress levels and activates the release of endorphins in the body, which improve mood and overall functioning. Regular physical activity such as walking, jogging, or yoga can help you relax and process negative emotions and thoughts. Just thirty minutes of exercise daily can markedly reduce your symptoms and help you create a healthier outlook for both your inner thought life and your outward perception of experiences. Things may seem hopeless, but getting fresh air or taking your dog on a walk are scientifically proven ways to boost your resiliency.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques can help reduce the amount of distress you experience when you are triggered by your trauma. This can be achieved by listening to relaxing music, practicing deep breathing exercises, meditating, or engaging in progressive muscle relaxation. Another great way to help you feel supported is to spend time with your pet. Knowing they are there to cuddle and accept you exactly as you are can be comforting and calming. When overwhelming thoughts and sensations take over your mind and body, remember that you are in control and you have the power to bring yourself back to reality. It can be scary and overwhelming, but over time, these techniques help reduce the intensity of your negative side effects.
Mindfulness exercises help you remain present and avoid negative thoughts about the past or future. Focusing on sensations such as your breathing pattern, the sound of your heartbeat, or feeling the wind on your skin can help focus and calm your mind. Traumatic triggers can transfer your body and mind back into a dangerous place, but you have the power to bring your mind back into a safe place. Initially, it can be difficult for your mind to focus, but you will eventually learn to control your thoughts and remain present in the moment rather than thinking of your past traumatic experiences.
Traumatic experiences not only change the way you process memories, emotions, and experiences but can also cause abnormal physiological effects on the mind, body, and soul. Brain scans of individuals who have experienced trauma show a remarkable difference in activity and chemistry in various regions of the brain. Understanding how serious trauma can be and how it affects your life is an important step to begin processing trauma on your own. Give yourself grace in these moments and realize that your trauma is a real thing that your body and mind have endured. Becoming educated in trauma aftermath can help you gain insight into why you are feeling the way you do. Reading books or articles that focus on healing can help prepare you for restoration.
If you find this message beneficial but realize you need professional help processing and working through your trauma, New Vision Counseling and Consulting is here to help guide you through your healing journey. Our compassionate and empathetic team of therapists is specifically trained to process trauma and will help you develop ways of coping and working through the pain that are right for you. We are here to provide a helping hand when you are hurting. We individualize treatment plans and goals based on your personal needs and lifestyle. We will provide the tools that are necessary for a healthy future full of healing and the ability to create a life with relationships that you want to be a part of. If you are ready to have someone who cares and is trained to help you then we are here for you and can be reached at (405) 921-7776