Tools for Healing From a Traumatic Event

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You have the ability to be resilient in the face of traumatic life events. Resilience means that you adapt well in the face of trauma or difficulty. Research shows in fact that most people are resilient in the face of trauma. However, if you have developed PTSD, that is not a sign of your failure, it is a sign that you didn't have sufficient support to work through the overwhelming feelings, thoughts and emotions. Not only are many people resilient in the face of trauma, but also many people report experiencing what's called PT G or post traumatic growth. Post Traumatic Growth means that not only have you come out feeling adapted and okay after trauma, but that you feel stronger.

You feel that in some way or another your life has improved as a result of the challenging event. Now that can be hard to imagine sometimes, if you're feeling overwhelmed or struggling or overtaken by the traumatic experience. But even to know that it's possible to bounce back and to come back stronger can sometimes change your mindset. People that discuss post traumatic growth often refer to a deeper appreciation for life itself, a desire to give back. I'll give two examples. One was a woman who had lost her child within the first few years of his life.

This was of course a devastating loss, and it took her quite some time to get through to a point where she felt like she had adapted and was ready to move on with her life. However, when she came through that process, she also felt the desire to help other people who had gone through something similar. So she started an organization for other parents who had lost a child. Another example is a man who had been severely bullied to the point that he felt suicidal by the time he Was 12 years old and had dropped out of school. He learned differently he thought differently in the world and as a result, he never really felt understood in school and by his peers. However, as an adult, he decided that he wanted to create an anti bullying program and brought that internationally as a public speaker and organized a mentorship program that's brought into schools all around the world.

The difficult life experiences make us who we are. I would not be here speaking to you if I had not worked through my own challenges in life. Likewise, people who experienced trauma might recognize the preciousness of life that other people might take for granted. For example, if you look at Nelson Mandela and his contribution to our world, or Oprah Winfrey, these are individuals who faced significant loss and strife in their life and have made such a difference. Sometimes when we're trying to heal from trauma what we Think of is that we have to get rid of this part of ourselves that we, we can't stand that we don't want to turn forwards. Really what we want to do is embrace that part of ourselves because that's the part of you that's going to provide the roots so that you can grow stronger in your life, that you have more to offer, that the flowering that comes out of the trauma work actually allows you to bring your gifts your uniqueness into the world to its fullest.

Importantly, a lot of people have the misconception that resilience is a trait that you either just have or you don't have. In truth. Resilience is a set of behaviors and mindset that can be learned by anyone. For example, the mindset that if you were to face a challenge in life, that you can actually grow through that, rather than all challenges are bad. So we want to adopt the belief that we can grow through both positive and negative experiences in our lives. Additionally, Another behavior that can be learned that helps us adapt well to trauma is to recognize that we don't want to become passive.

We need to stay active in response to our lives. When we feel like life is happening to us, and we are the passive recipient, it's really easy to become overwhelmed, hopeless and feel like there's nothing that we can do to change our situation. Whereas when you recognize that every day you have choices that you can make that can change the outcome of your life. This might involve staying connected to your community, picking up the phone and reaching out just when you don't want to or allowing someone to help you even though you want to push them away. Another key component to resilience is attending to your emotions. Often we don't really get that skill set in life, especially if you grew up in a family where emotions were discounted or not attended to.

So learning how to pay attention To your own emotions to validate yourself can be a challenging endeavor. Often we can learn that as an adult by finding a compassionate therapist who teaches us what it is like to be validated and understood. We can internalize that experience and offer deeper self understanding as a result. Another way to work with healthy expression of your emotions and releasing the impact of trauma is through art. self expression through the creative arts can take us to a place that are beyond where words can take us. So allowing yourself to listen to music, to make music to create poetry or to create a visual piece of art can sometimes be very healing for the heart.

In addition, resilience involves a commitment to your self care. I recommend creating a daily self care plan, where you are attending to your mind your body and your emotions each and every day. This might involve with morning practice. Such as writing in a journal or meditating or taking a walk. But in some way or another knowing that you are prioritizing you and your recovery as a daily process makes a huge difference. This daily self care plan can return to you a sense of having control over your life.

One of the biggest costs of trauma is the sense that your life feels out of your control. What you're sensing and feeling each and every day can feel overwhelming, can overtake you and can feel like it's not of your choice. Trauma itself is nothing that you would ever choose. However, knowing that there are action steps that you can take every day that return that sense of control to you here and now makes a difference.

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