A trauma is an emotional response to a disturbing event. It may be short-term or long-term that results from exposure to a specific incident or a series of events.
Traumatic events come in many forms – a plane crash, natural disaster, sexual assault, violent crime, global pandemic, or a terrorist attack. You may feel numb, intense shock, confusion, and fear, or overwhelmed by a host of conflicting emotions, sometimes all at once.
It’s quite normal to experience traumatic stress following a disturbing event. Everyone who experiences a stressful event will not develop trauma. Different people deal with traumatic experiences differently.
Common Signs and Symptoms of a Trauma
- Change in Personality and Mood
- Disturbed Sleep
- Change in Eating Patterns
- Panic Attacks
- Memory Lapse
- Becoming Unsociable
- Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviour
Here are the 5 ways to overcome a traumatic past
1. Reach Out to Friends and Family
Following a traumatic event, withdrawal from others and social activities is a common symptom. Talking face to face with another human can give you some relief. As soon as possible, open the lines of communication after your traumatic event. Reaching out to friends and family and letting them know what you’re going through might help, as they will understand you better and support you. Try to expand your social network.
2. Make Stress Reduction a Priority
Stress can damage you both physically and even psychologically. Stress, to a certain extent, can be considered good to perform things in a better manner, but when it crosses the limits, it will interfere with the trauma recovery process.
Just find out the things that work best for you to make you calm or relieve your stress, for example – listening to music, watching a movie, reading a book, petting an animal, chatting with a cherished friend, and doing your favorite hobby. You can also practice yoga, meditation, and deep breathing techniques to mitigate your stress.
3. Have a Balanced lifestyle
Eat Healthy – Junk foods can worsen the symptoms of trauma. Replace the processed foods with some real foods. Eat a nutrient-rich diet with lots of fruits and vegetables in it.
Exercise Regularly – Gentle stretching, walking, and deep breathing are all good choices. Exercise helps to burn off adrenaline and release endorphins which help to feel good and boost your mood. You should aim to exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
Sleep Well – Insomnia is another common symptom after trauma. Sleep deprivation makes you feel groggy and grumpy. A sleep of 7-9 hours a night is recommended for the proper functioning of your mind and body.
4. Join a Support Group
A traumatic injury impacts the psycho-social health of a patient. You may feel alone and withdrawn at times after a traumatic event. Support Groups offer survivors an opportunity to connect with other survivors and share their experiences. They create a safe space where you can be open about and feel better.
Benefits of Joining a Support Group
- Gaining support and hope
- Learning new skills for coping
- Developing new friendships
- Feeling more in control
- Becoming more self-confident
5. Seek Professional Help
Not everyone requires treatment for traumatic stress. Most people recover on their own with time, but few with more intense and persistent symptoms may need professional help. If you feel the symptoms are having a significant negative impact on your life, it’s time to meet a mental health professional – preferably a trauma specialist or a psychologist. They help you cope with trauma through evidence-based interventions such as Psychological First Aid (PFA) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).