7 Tips for Trauma Survivors to Process and Let Go the Past
October 8 2019 - In the US, around 70% of adults have experienced one traumatic event in their lives.
Trauma happens when someone experiences something which leaves them feeling helpless, horrified, or afraid.
When this happens, it can be difficult to cope with life. In fact, letting go can be one of the most difficult parts of living life after a trauma.
Here are several suggestions for trauma survivors to help them move on.
1. Acknowledge Your Trauma
Burying your head in the sand doesn't work when it comes to dealing with trauma. The overwhelming feelings you're experiencing won't just go away.
Trauma can result in many physical symptoms such as constipation, headaches, mood swings, depression, self-blame, nightmares, and more.
If you don't deal with your trauma, you may be more at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.
To acknowledge your trauma, it's recommended that you speak to a professional, especially in extreme cases.
However, you can gently look towards your own thoughts to figure out more about yourself and learn how to proceed.
Without working on your mental health, you won't be able to just let go of the trauma. Find out more, here.
2. Speak to a Professional
If you're unsure of whether you can handle your trauma alone, speak to your doctor to receive a referral to a therapist.
A doctor may also be able to prescribe you with medicine which can help you cope with a few of the effects of living with trauma, such as depression or insomnia.
Meanwhile, you may be able to start a talking therapy such as CBT. This therapy aims to change the way both act and think.
A CBT course that is focused on trauma will provide you with techniques to come to terms with living after trauma.
Consider looking for CBT therapy in your area or try buying a book to work through on your own if your trauma isn't as severe.
3. Build a Healthy Exercise Routine
Exercise provides the body with endorphins. Amazingly, just by doing a 20-minute work every day, you can help repair your nervous system.
Exercise can add years to your life and help you get strong and in shape.
If you are overweight, consider going swimming as this reduces the impact on your joints. For those who want a cheaper alternative, try running and why not download an app to encourage you?
Walking is also a form of exercise, but you need to be moving quickly enough that you are out of breath when you stop. This is not a light stroll!
If you're self-conscious, turn on a YouTube video and get moving in the house. There are many beginners to expert level videos.
Yoga is another great exercise to try. It will help you relax and stretch your body to help you burn calories.
Why not play music while you're working out to pump up your mood and get you feeling good?
4. Eat Well
When it comes to dealing with our emotions, we can quickly and easily slide into bad habits.
Indulging in chocolate or chips is easy when we feel we deserve it. But, this can have a detrimental effect on our health and make us feel worse.
In order to deal with your trauma, get your eating in order too. Focus on developing the hobby of cooking.
Invest in Tupperware which you can use to store food and freeze for later. Then, make a meal plan and create meals you'll love.
Why not try oatmeal in the morning, apple and grapes for a mid-morning snack, a bean salad for lunch, and a hearty stew for dinner with a side of wholemeal bread?
Make sure you're eating enough calories, it's recommended women eat around 2,000 to maintain their weight and men eat 2,500. But, choose healthy sources for these calories and cut out junk food.
5. Meet New People and Spend Time with Others
Isolating yourself can be a result of trauma. You may feel that being alone is better for you.
But, this is your brain playing tricks on you. Getting out there - meeting new people, and laughing are some of the best ways you can heal.
You don't need to talk about your trauma unless you think it may help. Consider joining a group class where people discuss their issues.
Alternatively, do something completely different from your trauma. Why not take up a cooking class, a dance class, join a book club, or a workout class?
If you want to speak to someone about the issues you are facing, why not turn to a loved one, a religious leader in your community, a doctor, or a counselor?
6. Learn Stress Relief Techniques
Nowadays, everyone knows the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. It feels difficult to escape and just another thing to add to our "must-do" lists.
But, if you haven't given it a go yet, figure out first whether it's right for you by downloading apps such as Headspace and Calm. Or, by following a YouTube tutorial.
These techniques can work wonders for many. But, if they're not right for you, don't simply give up - there are hundreds of other breathing techniques to try.
Once you've found a technique that works for you, you'll be able to reduce your heart rate, relieve stress, and feel calm.
An interesting breathing technique to try is to breath in four times, hold it for four, breath out for four, and hold this for four. Think of this as a cycle.
7. Focus on a Good Night's Sleep
Although living with trauma can result in conditions such as insomnia or just a poor night's sleep, it's important to thwart this.
Develop a calming nighttime routine in which you stop using screens two hours before sleep, drink chamomile tea an hour before bed, read a book and listen to calming music.
Perhaps you can listen to a hypnosis video just before sleep or a meditation app. Instead of lying in bed, worrying about why you're not sleeping, take the pressure off by focusing entirely on your breathing.
If you can't fall asleep, focus on the comfort of being in bed and try to enter a deep state of relaxation.
Tips for Trauma Survivors Involve Looking After Yourself
The best advice there is for trauma survivors is to be kind to yourself and try to live a healthy lifestyle.
You should make an appointment to speak to a professional. Over time and with some work, you should find that your experience of trauma is easier to live with.
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