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Tools for Healing From a Traumatic Event

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Transcript

Our final module is to give you several tools that you can take away right now to integrate into your life to help you with healing from traumatic experiences. The first of these tools is what we call positive self talk. Now, our culture has a lot of emphasis on positivity. But I want to be clear that here, integrating a positive approach to toward yourself is about self compassion for difficult emotions and not about bypassing or pushing those away or making those wrong. It is so common to adopt difficult beliefs, negative beliefs about yourself. I didn't do enough.

I'm bad. There's something wrong with me. I make mistakes. If you're a parent and you yell at your children, you can be your own worst critic. If you get into a fight, if you make a mistake at work, you can attack yourself viciously. And so what we want to do with positive self talk is to develop that sense of self compassion.

So here's a practice that I invite you to try on your own. I fully love and accept myself, even though to make that statement and then fill in the blank. I fully love and accept myself even though I made a mistake. I fully love and accept myself, even though I yelled at my child. And when you can adopt that towards yourself, and really let yourself believe it to know that you are human, inevitably you will make mistakes. And as you take ownership over them, you can make different choices and you can feel better in the future.

Another tool that I invite you to try as a takeaway is from a mind body medicine, and this involves working with your breath. Here, we want to focus on the exhale as a way to re emphasize that rest and digest quality in the body. So often in our world, we are focused On the inhale, I'm responding to stress on that fight flight response. And when you feel yourself feeling anxious, this breath can help. Here, the breath is very simple. We're going to double the exhale in relationship to the inhale.

So if you inhale for two counts your own timing, and then exhale for four accounts correspondingly, your body and mind are responding as a way to say, Ah, it's safe now to relax. You can try this before bed if you're having difficulty sleeping, or in the morning if you wake up, keyed up. The next practical tool is what we call grounding. Grounding is the aspect of engaging your senses so that you can orient to the fact that you are living in the here and now and not there. And then typically, when we're focusing on grounding, we want to engage the senses by observing what it is that you can see in your environment. Sometimes naming them to yourself right here and now can be helpful.

For example, naming five things that you can see naming things that you hear. If you like sometimes having an item nearby that can stimulate the sense of smell, such as an essential oil. In addition, it can be helpful to sense and feel your body, using your hands by rubbing them together. And a little bit of self touch over your face, over your heart, over your arms or your legs can be helpful to give you a sense of where you begin and end in space. A closely related concept to grounding is the idea of containment. containment is an essential resource in trauma therapy, because often when we feel flooded, we don't know when the difficult thoughts or feelings are going to show up.

We can spend a lot of time trying to unconsciously contain all of that push Going away with our avoidance strategy. The containment is something different. It says I want to choose when and where I think about my traumatic event. This might be in therapy, or in a very specific journaling period of time. When you're not consciously thinking about the trauma, I invite you to put it away. You can visualize some kind of container that you can put that traumatic event into, that can be held there safely, until it's time to take it out and think about it again.

Some people put this in a file cabinet, a closet where you can close the door. Other people put it in a treasure chest with a secure lock. You get to choose the imagery that works for you, and experiment with putting that away and opening it back up at the right time, so that the traumatic event doesn't take you by surprise. One approach to self care when it comes to working with trauma is journaling. Research has shown that writing about a difficult life event can have significantly positive have impact on your health and your immune system. This came out of the research of James Pennebaker in the University of Texas who found positive health benefits after inviting people to write about their difficult life event.

If you find that writing about a difficult event is too triggering for you, that is a sign that you need more support, and doing so in the context of therapy can make a big difference. Finally, the last practical tool that I'd like to send you away with is inviting you to create your own self care plan. Take a few minutes at the end of this video to write down the things that already worked for you. What do you enjoy? What helps you feel more grounded, more relaxed, more safe. This might be taking a walk.

This might be having a daily yoga practice, it might be engaging mindfulness. And if you'd like to add more to that list, start to create that now set your intention to add more healthcare in your life. This might involve getting more regular Massage therapy or allowing yourself to focus on your nutrition. All of these small pieces add up, and they can help you recover from your post traumatic stress. In closing, I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to this course and attend to your mental health. Whether you were listening to this course on PTSD for yourself, or for a loved one, I want to invite you to know that healing from PTSD is not one size fits all.

There is no clear timeline for how long it takes to recover and attending to your mental health. on a regular basis is what it takes to make a difference. Maybe this course is enough for you For now, or perhaps what it brought up for you was the recognition that you need more support, and that finding a therapist is the next step. Either way, I hope that you have come away with a greater sense of hope that trauma does not mean that your life is over or that things cannot come out positively. You have the capacity to heal and to be changed for the better

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