6 Ways to Bounce Back from Trauma
Trauma is an emotional response to an intense, frightening event that a person either experienced or witnessed. Trauma can involve events such as emotional distress, sexual assault, car accidents, natural disasters, or combat. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), about one in eleven people that have survived or witnessed trauma will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives.
The most common PTSD reactions include depression, anxiety, sudden mood swings, fear, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and sleeping problems. Also, if you survived or witnessed a traumatic event, you may be reexperiencing trauma through flashbacks and nightmares, and struggle with impulsive or self-harmful behavior.
At the same time, a you may develop the more subtle symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. These may include social withdrawal, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, or physical symptoms like aches and pains.
Feelings about a traumatic event may range from hopelessness and shame to anger and grief. You may also feel disoriented and disconnect from the world around you. These feelings often manifest as psychological, behavioral, and physical symptoms that severely affect our day-to-day activities and relationships.
How to Get Through Trauma?
Resilience, as the process of adapting well to stress, is at the core of mental and emotional health. Some people show resilience or the ability to bounce back after hard times easily while for the others the impact of the trauma may be overwhelming and recovery may be very slow or even impossible.
Developing resilience and bouncing back from trauma depends on many factors. It seems that resilient people have a strong sense of hope and faith in the fundamental goodness of the world. They can tolerate stress and painful emotions and have a strong sense of control over their own life.
Bouncing back from trauma is about finding ways to build a new, stronger self. So, here are some practices to build resilience.
1) Surround yourself with meaningful social support
This support may be from your family, friends, and people in support groups. Having another person who will listen and validate your feelings is one of the best ways to bounce back from a crisis.
2) Work on ways to boost your self-image and self-respect
Learn strategies to treat yourself with self-love and self-compassion. This will help you restore self-esteem after trauma and bounce back from the crisis more quickly. Psychotherapy approaches such as CBT and EMDR can help you address trauma and come to terms with negative emotions. Therapy can also help you replace negative thoughts and emotions with the positive ones that will encourage your personal growth and boost resilience.
3) Practice Reframing
Learn ways to overcome negative thinking patterns and change your mindset. This ability is called reframing – you learn to look at the situation in a new way that can minimize the effect of the trauma on your thoughts and emotions.
4) Express Gratitude
Acknowledge your blessings and have gratitude for each day. This exercise will help you stay focused on positive things in your life and boost optimism.
5) Visualize Positive Outcomes
Set goals for the future and visualize yourself accomplishing them. Focus on your strengths and visualize yourself as a resilient, healthy, and happy individual.
6) Practice Positive Affirmations
Practice positive self-talk. This will help you challenge negative thoughts and boost self-respect and self-love.