Stress, everyone faces it, but for trauma survivors stress can worsen an already tough mental and emotional state. That’s why every trauma survivor must focus on building resilience—the ability to cope with and bounce back from difficult situations. Below are a few tips on how you can build resilience that will last a lifetime:
- Face reality. The first step to building resilience is accepting whatever reality you’re facing. If you’ve lost loved ones or faced domestic abuse, don’t bury your head in the sand—accept that truth of the situation. By facing reality, a trauma survivor is better able to cope with any circumstance that comes their way.
- Be flexible. Whether you’re facing a major trauma or an everyday stressor, flexibility is key to coping and surviving. Be willing to adjust your life and goals so that you can cope with the new situation you’re facing. For example, if you have an emergency expense, you might consider working longer hours or taking a second job to pay it off. It’s this type of flexibility that will help you bounce back.
- Take action. Building resilience after a traumatic event requires that you become a problem solver and be willing to take action. It’s easy to complain or feel bad about your challenges, but it’s much more productive to seek out a solution. Practice searching for solutions, because it’s a habit that will serve you well.
- Have a purpose. Everyone, not just trauma survivors, should have a personal mission statement. What is your purpose on this planet? Whether your personal mission is to provide for your family, become financially independent, or to serve others, it will go a long way in helping your bounce back from traumatic events. By staying focused on your personal life purpose, you’re less likely to get stopped by difficult challenges.
- Get a team. This can’t be said enough—no man is an island. While it’s natural that some trauma survivors may want to be alone after experiencing a traumatic event, it’s not helpful to healing. Don’t isolate yourself. Working with friends, family, and a trauma counselor you can begin to build resilience and eventually recover.
- Nurture yourself. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Eat healthy, surround yourself with supportive people, and get the help you need to process the powerful emotions that often accompany trauma. Make no mistake, self-care is critical to building and maintaining resilience.
Being resilient doesn’t mean that you’re a solid rock that’s never affected by trauma, it just means that you have the tools to recover quickly.