Five Healthy Strategies For Coping With Trauma
Trauma can impact you on every level, physical, psychological and emotional, that’s why it’s important to find healthy strategies for coping. Below we explore five healthy strategies for coping with trauma:
Tip #1 – Accept Reality
One of the most common symptoms of trauma is denial of what really happened and how it’s impacting you. While this may offer temporary relief from the stress of trauma, if not dealt with properly, the reality of the traumatic event will intrude upon your life in unexpected and unpleasant ways. Instead of denial, discuss the experience in a journal, with a mental health professional and/or family and friends. By facing the reality of the traumatic event you will begin to decrease its negative impact on your life.
Tip #2 – Slow Down
Trauma puts stress on your mind and body, that’s why it’s important that you take a ‘one day at a time’ attitude. Don’t try to take on too much work or responsibilities right after the traumatic event or when you’re suffering the most. Instead, take it slow, give yourself room to breathe, grieve, rest, and recover. Trying to do too much can worsen the negative impacts of trauma.
Tip #3 – Don’t Self-Medicate
Traumatic events can be so painful that you may be tempted to self-medicate with food, alcohol or drugs. Don’t do it! Self-medicating can worsen the effects of trauma and prolong the time to recovery. If you’re experiencing high levels of anxiety or depression due to trauma, speak with a mental health professional. They can provide counseling and/or medication to help you cope.
Tip #4 – Stay In Touch
While it’s tempting to close yourself off from others after a traumatic event, staying active in your social circles can go a long way to helping you recover. Try to visit with or speak to friends and/or family at least a few times a week. Even a short telephone conversation or Internet chat can help you combat the negative effects of trauma.
Tip #5 – Eat Right
Don’t skip meals or eat too many sweet or high-fat foods. While comfort foods may make you feel better temporarily, they can damage your health over the long run. As part of your recovery, be sure to schedule healthy meals and snacks that have a large amount of vegetables and that are low in sugar, salt, and fat.
If you’re feeling anxious, depressed or easily upset after a traumatic event, understand that these are normal reactions. But if these symptoms are prolonged or recurrent, you may want to speak with a mental health expert with experience treating trauma survivors.