3 Methods of Coping with Trauma
Trauma takes many forms, and its impact can be pervasive. In fact, some people survive the initial trauma just fine only to be stricken with mental and emotional scars for years to come. Because of the way trauma works, overcoming its impact is easier said than done. Many people will benefit from support after a traumatic event. This support will give them the tools they need to keep moving forward with life.
Understand the Nature of Trauma
Trauma is something people experience after stressful or difficult circumstances. It can happen after a near-death experience or any experience where serious harm is threatened or occurs. Although most people feel like trauma must be connected to physical injury, this is not always the case. You may experience trauma and never need a trip to the doctor's office. Instead, trauma is about the psychological loss of control. Trauma may be felt very strongly after the event, but its effects can continue to wax and wane for years following the initial incident.
Know the Signs that You Need Help
Because trauma has a psychological impact, it can affect each person in unexpected ways. In some cases, the severity of the trauma may not seem to coincide with the severity of the symptoms. This is what makes trauma so sinister. A traumatic event may not even cause physical damage, but it can create a lifelong psychological impact. Therefore, please understand the signs that your trauma needs treatment. You may experience anxiety or fear, which may be more pronounced or uncontrollable in certain situations. Some people experience flashbacks or start to have physical symptoms like headaches, sleep disruption, and more. Anger, irritability, guilt, and doubt are also very common. If you experience any of these symptoms, then you may need help. There is no shame in needing help, and it is important to recognize that you deserve this support. Here are three coping mechanisms to consider for your next step.
Keep Yourself Talking After Trauma
The first way to cope with trauma is staying open. Many people tend to withdraw after a trauma. They may close off emotionally to others. They might stop participating in normal life activities. When this happens, it gives the trauma time to fester. Being isolated only amplifies negative thoughts and feelings. When you spend time talking about how you feel to others, it can be a freeing and validating experience. You never have to experience your trauma alone. If you do not have friends or family members who are willing to be there for you, consider working with a grief counsellor. A grief counsellor will listen to you while also helping you develop other coping mechanisms as well.
Work with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
A second option is to try cognitive behavioral therapy. This is a special kind of therapy that helps people take back control of their thoughts and actions. When working with cognitive behavioral therapy, you will first learn to identify different patterns of thought. Then, you will trace those patterns of thought to various behaviors. By making this connection and identifying problematic thought processes, you can better circumvent negative outcomes. In essence, you will train your mind to stop thinking negatively and adjust your behavior accordingly. This can be a very powerful tool for strong trauma symptoms. A qualified grief counsellor can help you move forward with this coping tool.
Take Time to Learn Your Triggers
The third coping mechanism is to understand your triggers. Trauma is highly individualized. In other words, what affects you may not affect someone else. Even people who live through the same traumatic event will experience their trauma distinctly. Therefore, there is no universal approach to overcoming your trauma. Instead, you have to learn to deconstruct your individual experience and learn your trauma triggers. You need to know the things that set off your anxiety or depression. It could be sounds or smells that remind you of the initial trauma. It might be certain situations. Some people are triggered by people, feelings, places, and more. If you can figure out the things that cause you the most stress or anxiety, then you can take measures to mitigate your exposure.
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