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Emotional Wellness

How to Maintain a Sense of Well-Being After A Traumatic Experience

Most people experience some form of trauma during their lives. In fact, more than 70% of people will have severe traumatic experiences that can benefit from therapy, coaching, or counseling. How you heal from trauma can help you find more happiness and peace in life, and the better you get at it, the more confidence and security you will feel going forward in life. You’ll also be in a better place to help others.

In the past, there has been a stigma around people who seek help with their mental health. Some people have even said that trauma is something that happens to other people, or is a sign that you’re weak. The reality is that trauma can happen to everyone, no matter how strong, fortunate, or experienced they may be. Fortunately, it is coming to be realized that seeking help is a sign of strength. If something that happened in the past is still bothering you after a year, it is a sign you may benefit from professional help.

Shocked robber victim crying at night street, panic attack, traumatic experience.
Trauma Can Happen to Everyone, No Matter How Strong, Fortunate, or Experience They Maybe (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Keep reading to find out how to empower yourself and heal from traumatic experiences.

We’re All a Little Traumatized

In a broad sense, trauma is a serious mental or emotional wound that doesn’t heal quickly.  When you are traumatized and do not recover, it eventually spills out and affects other aspects of your life. It can show up as troubled interpersonal relationships, difficulty at work, or one of those out-of-nowhere breakdowns.

Experiencing trauma and having a trauma response doesn’t always look extreme. Receiving a threat or being yelled at about a sensitive topic can produce a traumatic response. The more severe the experience, the worse the trauma, but even the so-called mild experiences deserve attention. When not properly taken care of, these seemingly small incidents can lead to long-term health consequences.

Pretty much everyone has had some difficult event in their life that impacted the way they see the world. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t experienced trauma to some degree.

One of the most common responses to trauma is to self-medicate. For some people, this means alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. For others, they go to church, meditate, or focus on spirituality. Some people use exercise as a form of self-medication. The endorphins and hormones released during exercise can have a powerful therapeutic effect.

Reduce or Replace Your Use of Alcohol

A glass of wine before bed can be very healthy. If you have had a really hard day at work, it can take the edge off and make your evening go easier. Celebrations, parties, and other special occasions are also a good time to indulge in your favorite drink. There are also times when we can be tempted to overindulge, and it can be hard to tell when you’ve crossed the line. 

There are safer ways to relieve stress or anxiety than alcohol. CBD oils are safe, and they don’t get you high, so it’s harder to become dependent on or abuse them. Two of my favorites are CBDistillery Product and  Kaleidoscope Boost, which I have come to know and trust. They provide extremely high-quality CBD oils and the dosing is always consistent. They are safe, legal, and have a solid reputation that makes it easy to take them with confidence. CBD products work best when combined with professional therapy and an overall healthy lifestyle. 

If you’re in the habit of using alcohol to deal with minor stressors, you may be tempted to use it to help with trauma. I would suggest a better way. When life gets especially hard, or you experience a traumatic event, seek relief from professional resources instead of self-medicating. I use the Wellness Wheel to help me keep my life balanced and running smoothly.

How to Tell if You’re Dealing With Trauma

Have you ever wondered what PTSD is, or what constitutes a traumatic event? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a mental condition that can occur after experiencing a traumatic event like violence, accidents, or other pain and fear-inducing events. Angry words can be enough. If someone uses hurtful language on you or is threatening, it can do lasting harm.

A tell-tale sign of an emotional wound in your mind is that it changes how you see the world in negative ways. Some very general signs of trauma are anxiety, shame, and self-isolation. We all experience these feelings from time to time without it meaning we’ve been traumatized.

A woman sitting on the floor while hugging herself.
Some General Signs of Trauma are Anxiety, Shame, and Self-Isolation (Image Source: Shutterstock)

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re wondering if you’re experiencing trauma, the answer is probably yes. The signs you need therapy can be difficult to spot, and many people have unrecognized trauma from their past. If it’s been a few years since your last therapy session you’re probably overdue and should make an appointment. It can’t do any harm and it may do you a world of good. If you don’t have a therapist, most jobs come with an Employee Assistance Plan, or EAP, that can get you evaluated for free.

Most therapists can train you in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, which is a popular way to help you overcome catastrophic thinking. This training can help you in everyday life, so you can use them all the time; even when you’re not with your therapist. CBT is also a useful tool to help you spot future sources of trauma.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a therapist, consider going to your best friend, a trusted parent or relative, or a spiritual advisor. The people who care about you most are a valuable resource for healing.

Help, Healing, and Healthy Responses

What is psychotherapy, and how is it different from other kinds of therapy? Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy where you spend a lot of time going over your life and your experiences. As you get a better understanding of yourself and the events of your life, you should be better able to heal.

There are many tools you may find useful as you practice managing your emotions. Taking up exercise to reduce anxiety and replacing drinking and comfort foods with healthier coping mechanisms is a good place to start. I like to use mindfulness-based stress reduction to supplement my exercise and other self-care activities. Psychotherapists can help you decide when and how to make these changes.

Man talking to a Psychologist.
Psychotherapy is a Form of Talk Therapy (ImageSource: Shutterstock)

Healing from trauma often requires forgiveness. Sometimes you need to forgive someone who hurt you, and sometimes you need to forgive yourself. A psychotherapist can help you uncover these needs, which are often hidden and difficult to see.

Social support is one of the most powerful tools you can use to overcome most kinds of trauma. It is not a replacement for professional therapy, but your social group can be very helpful in getting your life back to normal. In fact, many therapists will advise you to reach out to your friends and family. This can be difficult, so they have tools that can help make it easier.

Transforming Traumatic Experiences into Strength

How do you deal with trauma? There are many effective methods, using professional therapists is only one. You can also exercise, explore spirituality practices, meditate, and try many other methods.

Transforming Trauma Into Resilience and Strength – TEDx Talks

One of my favorite authors said, “I write to know what I think.” Writing is a powerful tool for self expression and discovery, in the same vein, journaling can also help improve mental health. When you keep a journal or a diary, it helps you sort out the events of your day and stay on top of things. I have found it’s easier for me to spot problems early when I am keeping up on my journal. It is a simple, but powerful technique. When you take a few minutes to pause, reflect, and write things down, it’s easier to spot when you’re upset. This can help you avoid bad behaviors and cultivate healthy habits that will make you strong.

I recommend you set aside some time every month for self-care and healing practices. See if you can build up to doing it every week. As you follow your personalized plan to heal and grow, you will find new routes to happiness and joy.

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