Many people agree that traumatic events are turning points in their lives. These events often happen at the most unexpected times, and can be difficult to overcome. If you have experienced a traumatic event in the past, it is important to follow a few tips to help you maximize your recovery efforts and reclaim your life.
1. Learn about common emotional responses
By understanding more about the common physical and emotional responses that might occur after a truamatic event, you can recognize your reactions and symptoms. Common emotional responses include guilt, fear, anger, shame, helplessness, sadness, shock, and relief.
2. Don't judge your reaction
Knowing that people respond in different ways to various events is very important. There's not a "wrong" or "right" response to these life events. Be aware of your feelings and emotions and give yourself a wide latitude without judging those thoughts. Don't tell yourself that you should be feeling or thinking in a different way; it's healthy to allow emotions to run their course.
3. Validate your feelings
In addition to avoiding judgement, it is also important to recognize the various feelings that you are experiencing. This allows you to validate emotions as they arise. Don't ignore the feelings; it is better to allow yourself to feel instead of trying to block the emotions. Doing so can often quicken your recovery.
4. Avoid excessive thoughts about the event
There is a fine balance between allowing feelings to be present without dwelling on the thoughts too often. If you allow yourself to become preoccupied with the experience, you will likely experience higher levels of fear and anxiety about the event. When your thoughts turn back to the traumatic event, the nervous system responses kick in as if you were experiencing it again. So, be aware of your thoughts so you can decrease the time spent dwelling on the event.
5. Stay away from unhealthy coping strategies
Some people turn to unhealthy behavioral patterns when they are coping with a traumatic experience. Avoid overuse of drugs or alcohol to cope with the problem. These activities can create a slippery path to other problems in your life.
6. Maintain a normal routine
It might be tempting to hide away from the world when you are trying to recover after a traumatic experience. But it is important to let yourself experience your "normal" daily routine. Staying busy can be a good way to help you return to your regular lifestyle once again. Your daily structure is a familiar pattern that can support you as you work through the aftermath of a trumatic experience.
7. Talk to a professional
Many people turn to friends and family for emotional support, but sometimes these conversations aren't enough to overcome the trauma. Consider the benefits of talking with a professional therapist who can help you identify the skills and tools that are needed in your situation. Often, victims are able to recover from a traumatic event more quickly when they are working with a health professional to assist them during the recovery period.