How to overcome past trauma and live with peace

Trauma

If you’ve experienced a highly stressful event or series of events, you are traumatised. Traumatic experience includes a feeling of helplessness, horror, and serious injury or the threat of one.

Trauma can deeply affect your  memories which may include recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the event. Frequent repeated dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event and flashbacks.

What could be the reasons for trauma?

  • If you experienced domestic or family violence, dating violence.
  • If you witnessed community violence such as shooting, mugging, burglary, assault, bullying.
  • If you have been through sexual or physical abuse.
  • Sometimes natural disasters such as a hurricane, flood, fire or earthquake can be traumatic.
  • Experiencing a serious car accident can cause trauma.
  • Unexpected or violent death of someone close suicide, accident can be traumatic.

If you experienced childhood trauma, you will be at more risk of depression, anxiety, distorted thinking, personality problems, and lower levels of self esteem. You may be more prone to social and psychological vulnerability for developing psychiatric disorders after experiencing childhood trauma.

After the traumatic event responses can last for weeks to months before you start to feel normal again. Most people feel better within 3-4 months after a traumatic event. If the condition becomes worse and lasts more than one month after the event, then you may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Although there is no cure for Trauma or PTSD, the symptoms can be effectively managed to help you work and function normally. The best treatment for PTSD is a combination of medication and therapy.

If you ignore the trauma for a long period , you may  experience nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, phobias, substance abuse, panic attacks, anger, depression, irritability, or hopelessness. The condition can become worse and symptoms may move towards physical health problems such as gastrointestinal distress, or extreme fatigue and reduced immunity .

The following steps may help you to move to an effective self manage trauma .

  1. Make a promise to let go. Letting go of the past is not easy because most of the time we don’t realize how much it causes problems. There may be incidents that happened in the past that you need to forgive ourselves for. Most people are attached to the traumatic past because they don’t appreciate their present. Reframing your relationship with your past requires you to stop thinking of how things should be and accept them for what they are. As the Dalai Lama said, “Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.”
  1. Be more proactive to take responsibility. As a responsible person you need  to consciously make good decisions, conduct behaviors that seek to improve self and help others. You need to accept the consequences of your  actions and decisions. A strong sense of responsibility can help you in trauma since it gives birth to innovation, resilience, courage, achievement, and generosity
  1. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness practices can help you to increase your ability to manage emotions, reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help you to focus your attention, as well as observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness can help you in self-control, increased tolerance, flexibility, improved concentration, mental clarity, emotional intelligence. It also helps you to relate to others and make you kind, accepting and compassionate.
  1. Practice self-compassion. This allows you to hold yourself, giving the support and comfort needed to bear the pain, while helping you grow and transform. Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward self when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring pain or lash yourself with self-criticism

Bonding with friends and family

You can ease the feeling of stress from traumatic events by stepping back, taking control of your life, and focusing on what is needed. You need to Strengthen your bond with family, friends, and community. Reassessing personal goals and coming up with a plan to reach them with the help of friends and family can help you get past trauma.

Strong bonds between family members can provide you support and help you celebrate achievements while providing comfort when needed.  Make time to communicate with those you love most. Spending more time interacting with members of your family and friends can build character and improve self-esteem. 

Physical exercise and Trauma

Exercise helps the nervous system restore balance by removing adrenaline and releasing endorphins through physical movement. Endorphins help you combat depression that may develop as a result of the traumatic event. You can start with walking alone or with friends and family. You can also take part in sports you like by joining a nearby club.

Apps for Trauma 

CPT Coach was designed for Veterans and military Service members who have, or may have, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This app provides users with education about PTSD, information about professional care, a self-assessment for PTSD, opportunities to find support, and tools that can help users manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD.  This app can be used by anyone who is in treatment as well as those who are not.

Trauma Recovery Coach 

They work with trauma survivors as peers, mentors, guides and educators with the goal of helping you understand the recovery process, reconnect with yourself and the world while using your strengths to build a life you love living. Trauma coaches can help you to deal with different types of trauma. They guide you to heal wounds and return back to the life you want. Coaches  inject hope and discover ways to make you enjoy the present. So getting a trauma coach can be a good decision.

Nature is the best healer for trauma 

Nature gives you solitude, a healing environment, and helps you regain your focus. Nature is not a stand alone treatment for PTSD. However, if you have been exposed to a traumatic event, nature works great in combination with therapy and treatment. The awe felt in nature can dramatically reduce symptoms of PTSD, according to UC Berkeley research that tracked psychological and physiological changes in war veterans. 

Growing flowers, trees and vegetables, getting a bird feeder and taking in the sights and sounds around you will relax you. If planting isn’t your thing, you can also connect to nature through stories, art and sound recordings. Watching videos, films or TV programmes about nature can also connect you with and reflect on nature.

How connecting with nature can make you spiritual and help against trauma

  1. Walking in nature with plants and animals and closely observing them. 
  2. Imagining the earth as a great spirit. 
  3. Feeling the spirit of the vast sky. 
  4. Noticing the spirit of your ancestors.

Building self confidence after experiencing trauma is crucial

Allow yourself time to focus on what you need, your thoughts and experience, and acknowledge that your thoughts are sometimes a reflection of your past traumatic experiences. When faced with a stressful situation accept it instead of blaming yourself. Building self confidence is crucial after trauma since it can help you better understand self and act prudently.

What to do in order to build self confidence

  1.  Take care of your appearance. When you look good, you feel good.
  2. Learn new things
  3. Challenge yourself physically. 
  4. Stay connected.
  5. Seek help.

Some tips for self-care to get over trauma

Self-care helps you maintain a healthy relationship with yourself so that you can transmit the positive vibes to others. Self care is not being selfish since you cannot give to others what you don’t have yourself. 

When you practice self-care you create positive feelings, which boosts confidence and self-esteem leaving you with increased positive energy to support yourself as well as your loved ones. Self-care starts with tending to your own needs.

  1. Live a healthy life by eating healthy foods. Get enough sleep and exercise regularly and also  avoid drugs, alcohol and tobacco. 
  2. Practice a good routine in life. 
  3. Connect with friends to build your sense of belonging. 
  4. Do what you enjoy every day.
  5. Ask for help and accept it when it is offered

Indulging in hobby to boost self-confidence 

Hobbies can build confidence, self-esteem and reduce your stress. For example, developing a hobby during a traumatic period can help build yourself back up by giving you a sense of pride every time you progress on that hobby, thus giving you something to feel happy about. Learning to play an instrument, singing, or listening to music are excellent hobbies that boost mental health. The beauty of music is that it can range from calming to invigorating and thus balance your emotion.

How pets can help you in trauma

Pets can offer an unmatched level of support to trauma survivors attempting to cope with the emotional aftermath of a traumatic event. Dogs can be excellent friends in difficult situations providing friendship,love and care.  A beloved pet can act as a lifeline to you if you  experience post traumatic stress (PTSD).

Now animal assisted therapy is benefitting sufferers of PTSD. The results of animal assisted therapy in the treatment of PTSD patients have seen significant positive results. In one study of the effect of dogs with patients, psychologists noted an 82% reduction in symptoms.

Can massage help you in trauma?

Massages decrease stress hormones, boost mood, increase circulation, relieve pain, and release tense muscles. Massage therapy can even help you in trauma take control of their emotions, receive human touch, and feel safe and respected.

Massage therapy in the form of manual manipulation of soft body tissue promotes health and well-being, provides immediate relief from physical, emotional, and mental stress, and decreases levels of depression, anxiety, irritability, and other symptoms associated with PTSD.

Trauma healing diet

Eating healthy and nutritious fruits give you antioxidants that fight against inflammation. Grapes, peaches, cherries, kale, strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, celery, and potatoes, beans and other legumes, lentils, chickpeas and soybeans are good diets to include.

Some other important food are: 

  • Blueberries. 
  • Cheese and Milk. 
  • Green Tea. 
  • Walnuts. 
  • Almonds

Vitamins and mineral that help you in trauma

A deficiency in B12 can increase the severity of trauma. .Vitamin B1 is another vitamin that gives resilience against trauma since major trauma has been associated with Vitamin B1 depletion. Supplementation of Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, zinc, and selenium significantly reduced the inflammatory response in trauma patients

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