If you undergo extraordinarily stressful incidents that break your sense of security and well-being and make you feel vulnerable, you could be suffering from psychological and emotional trauma says Jonah Engler. It can leave you struggling with conflicting and disturbing emotions, high levels of anxiety, and memories that refuse to leave you. A feeling of numbness, inability to trust people, and disconnection from reality may also manifest. While a threat to life or safety may result in traumatic experiences, the perceived harm doesn’t need to be physical. Whether an event is traumatic depends not on the event but on your response to it. You are more likely to be traumatized the more helpless and scared you are.
Causes of Psychological and Emotional Trauma
You can experience emotional trauma if you are involved in a one-time event like an injury, accident, or violent attack, especially if it was unexpected or it happened when you were young. Continuous stress of fighting a life-threatening disease, living in a high-crime neighborhood, or repeated traumatic events like childhood abuse, domestic violence, or bullying may also result in psychological trauma. Other traumatic events may include the death of a loved one, an important relationship breaking down, a surgery, especially at an early age, or extreme humiliation or disappointing experience. You may also experience trauma by repeatedly seeing footage of horrific events on the news channels or social media even though you may not have been directly involved in them. However, as deep the trauma might be, you must get over it, resume control over your life, and become more emotionally stable. Some proven methods of surviving a traumatic experience:
Do Not Isolate Yourself
If you have experienced some trauma that has left you emotionally shocked and distressed, you mustn’t bottle up your feelings. You should not put yourself in seclusion hoping nobody will notice your helplessness, insecurity, and how frightened you are. It is the right time to reach out to members of your family and friends you can trust to listen to you and offer sound advice while keeping the matter confidential. You can also reach out to discuss the event with those who have experienced similar events since they are more likely to offer you advice on overcoming your trauma, observes Jonah Engler.
Seek Professional Assistance
Experiencing a traumatic event can cause intense stress that can cripple you psychologically. It is common for you to experience grief, sadness, fear, and depression that may be so extreme that it disturbs your regular life. If the feelings last for more than a month after the event, you should look out for a qualified and experienced mental health professional for assistance. It is important to appreciate that there is no shame in doing it, and it is as normal as seeking out a doctor to attend to a physical condition.
Join a Support Group
It can help to talk with people who have gone through the same or similar events to relieve the trauma and stress of a distressing event. You will get to know how other people are handling their trauma, and it will also help you appreciate that you are not the only one to be in this awful situation. You can ask your doctor about local support groups you can attend physically or scan the internet for online support groups you can join. If you look or ask around, you are sure to find a support group that can help you.
Face the Trauma
A popular method of dealing with trauma is to try and ignore the fact that it ever happened or attempt to forget it. However, the technique is rarely successful, and all you end up doing is driving your emotions underground. According to Jonah Engler, an important component of the recovery process is learning to come to terms with memories of your experience and the things that trigger them. You must face your emotions and feelings head-on and not try to avoid them. Only then will you be able to move forward.
Exercise to Stretch Your Muscles and Improve Your Breathing
It is not unusual for people to become withdrawn emotionally and physically after experiencing a traumatic event. However, experts suggest that one of the best methods of not letting trauma overcome you is exercise. You can practice gentle stretching, walking, deep breathing, yoga. Or if you want, you can make your workout plan more challenging. However, it is important not to overdo things because it is absolutely okay to rest if you feel exhausted.
Be Mindful of Your Body
Your body and mind will heal naturally with time, but you can assist the process by eating well. Resting as much as your body demands. Taking relaxing baths regularly, and following a set routine for waking up and going to bed. Sleeping in a cool dark room without any distractions like TV, mobile phones, laptop computers, etc., can help you get more restful sleep. Do things that make you happy, like listening to music, going out for a stroll, gardening, socializing with friends, etc.
Abstain From Alcohol
It can be tempting to down a drink to take the edge off your pain or grief. But while it may work to numb your emotions for some time. You will damage your body in the long run. If alcohol consumption becomes a habit. It may be difficult for you to wean yourself away from dependency says Jonah Engler.
A traumatic event can disrupt your life and mental peace. When trying to recover from the stress. Getting back to your usual routine can be one of the most effective things you can do. It may be difficult to begin with, but with little effort. Your day-to-day routine will help you re-establish a feeling of normalcy, and you can regain control over your life. You must also try to resolve the small conflicts as they arise. And not allow them to build and create more stress. Make a checklist of your tasks, decide on your priorities, break down big tasks into smaller ones. And keep checking off each item as you complete them for a better sense of fulfillment and confidence.