Everyone experiences hardships in life. When something big happens and overwhelms our capacity to cope, we can get traumatized.
According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Distressing events can bring about tremendous amounts of stress that we cannot handle. This often leads to feelings of helplessness, decreased sense of security, and a wide range of negative emotions. When we experience trauma, all areas of our lives are negatively impacted – our career, relationships, and sense of self-worth.
Sources of Trauma
There are a lot of theories on how trauma develops and where it stems from. Some believe it can be hereditary while some would say it is a mental and emotional cause. Whatever it may be, one thing is certain: we are unable to manage and handle the stress brought by life-changing stressors.
Some causes of psychological trauma include:
- Single events – examples include accidents, injuries, natural calamities
- Continuous events – examples include ongoing abuse, bullying, terminal illnesses
- Unexpected events – examples include death of a loved one, breakup with a significant other, hospitalizations
What Are The Symptoms Of Trauma?
We all react to trauma in different ways, with a vast range of emotional and physical reactions. All our responses to trauma are valid, there is no right or wrong way to feel or respond. Trauma leaves us struggling with unwanted emotions – frightened, helpless, devastated.
Here are the common symptoms of someone who has been traumatized:
Psychological reactions to trauma can vary greatly and are influenced by many factors such as family support, mental well-being, and environment. These include:
- Anger and irritability
- Fear and anxiety
- Shame, guilt, and self-blaming
- Depression and hopelessness
- Feeling dumb and disconnected
- Feeling withdrawn and isolating
Physical reactions to trauma, or somatization, are bodily symptoms or dysfunctions caused by underlying emotional distress:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Difficulty with sleeping
- Poor concentration
- Palpitations and difficulty of breathing
- Body aches and muscle tension
These signs and symptoms are things to watch out for in people who may be experiencing trauma.
Strategies To Overcome Trauma
Trauma is an emotional and physical issue that can be overcome with proper strategies. We can begin healing from trauma by practicing these tips:
1. Identify your trauma
Know what causes your distressing feelings. Removing the source of your trauma, or avoiding it, is the first step to healing. Take time to evaluate what you are feeling and what is causing it. Identify the people, things, experiences that are causing traumatic responses. Once these are identified, create strategies to minimize them.
2. Stop overthinking
You have to stop predicting or thinking about what will happen next. We can never be certain of what will happen next. Having the mindset of an overthinker can trigger your traumatic responses and will worsen your traumatizing symptoms.
3. Be patient
Healing from a major trauma takes time. It can always come back and haunt you in the form of dreams or flashbacks. We cannot just hide it in a corner of our mind because it can always resurface anytime. Healing is a slow process, so do not rush.
4. Do not isolate yourself
When you are traumatized, it may seem easier to isolate yourself instead of seeing other people. Isolation will only make it worse. Reach out and connect to friends and family. People may find it comforting to talk with friends and family, even if it is not about the trauma.
It is important to have someone by your side, look out for you, and listen to how you feel. Take part in social activities even when you do not want to because this is an important part of healing.
5. Take care of your health
Having a healthy body can help us cope better with stress and trauma. Lack of sleep can worsen trauma symptoms so make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Experts would recommend that exercise is one of the most effective ways to handle trauma. Move your body around for at least 30 minutes daily to get your muscles going. You can also include meditation exercises such as yoga or deep breathing exercises to reduce stress further.
6. Seek professional help
Recovering from trauma takes time, and everyone heals at different rates. If your physical and emotional symptoms become unbearable or worsen over time, they can interfere with your life and routine. By this time, seeking help from a professional who can help you deal with your trauma might be the next best idea.
Where To Seek Help
Find a mental health expert around your area who can help you. Luckily, here at MindShift Wellness Center, we have several experts who can help you with delayed responses to trauma. We create a safe and confidential environment for people dealing with trauma. We will help you understand your triggers and develop coping strategies to manage your symptoms of trauma.
Here at MindShift Wellness center, we will help you recover with our Trauma Therapy. To schedule a session at one of our many locations, call (714) 584-9700 or contact us using our online form.