The source of trauma can be anything from surviving an accident, military combat, witnessing a violent crime, or experiencing abuse as a child. Trauma can be one of the biggest hurdles to face during recovery, where everyday feels like an emotional roller coaster and memories from the past refuse to leave you. Someone who has experienced trauma may look healthy from the outside and seem to be functioning normally in their life, but inside they are grappling with a myriad of unpleasant emotions and other overwhelming symptoms. For many trauma survivors, these unresolved issues lead to abuse of drugs or alcohol. This is the reason why it’s so important to deal with trauma in recovery. The following are eight tips that can help you begin to heal your traumatic past during the recovery process.
Remember that what you’re going through is normal.
It may be especially hard to remember this one when you’re experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, depression, irritability, and other symptoms that make you feel like you’re going crazy. The truth is that these are the normal reactions of a person who has experienced some type of trauma. It’s better know as post traumatic stress symptoms.
2. Don’t try to hide or deny what you’re going through.
Some trauma survivors feel ashamed of what they’re experiencing or try to deny it. This is the worst thing you can do to yourself. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only person dealing with the symptoms, but the truth is there are thousands of others going through similar experiences. Reach out to a therapist, support group, or other trusted network where you feel comfortable enough to talk about your feelings and experiences.
3. Take care of yourself.
Make an extra effort to take care of your mental health by setting aside time to meditate, do yoga, go for walks, or listen to relaxing music. Be sure to also eat well and get enough sleep if you can. Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel more relaxed and at peace, even if it seems silly. This could mean sleeping with a nightlight on or establishing some other bedtime routine.
4. Stick to your normal daily activities.
Trauma can often put your life into a state of chaos. Sticking to your normal daily activities and routine can help you feel more grounded and secure as you continue to work on dealing with the trauma and the rest of your recovery process.
5. Take care of your physical health.
This is an important part of recovery as well. Making time for regular exercise and eating a balanced diet can make you feel physically and mentally strong enough to tackle the work of recovery.
6. Remember that you’re not just a victim.
Take back a feeling of being in control of your life by taking action in regards to your trauma if possible. This can mean prosecuting the person who committed a crime or abuse. If that is too overwhelming, writing what you’d like to say to that person or persons in a journal can feel empowering. A journal is also a safe place to explore your feelings surrounding the trauma.
7. Learn your triggers.
By recognizing what your specific emotional triggers are and learning how to cope with them in a healthy way, you begin to take back control of your life after a trauma. a trigger can be a place, person, sight, sound, or even a smell. Pay attention to what happens to you when faced with a trigger and talk yourself through it.