Have you noticed how violence transforms people and re-defines their sense of identity and how violence causes people to lose their sense of individuality (they don’t feel part of the “in” crowd)?
Have you been subjected to violent trauma at some stage of your life that has left you feeling like your identity has been re-defined? Have you lost your sense of individuality?
Traumatic experiences often leave us struggling with upsetting emotions, frightening memories and a sense of constant danger. You could possibly feel numb, disconnected and unable to trust other people.
No matter how long ago the traumatic event happened, it could take a while for you to get over the pain and feel safe again but with the right treatment, self-help strategies and support you can speed up your recovery, heal and move on.
Traumatic experiences usually involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and alone can be traumatic, even if it does not involve physical harm. It is not the objective facts that determine whether an event is traumatic or not, it is your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightening and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatised.
CAUSES OF EMOTIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL TRAUMA:
• It happens unexpectedly
• You were not prepared for it (came as a shock/surprise)
• You were powerless to prevent it
• It happened repeatedly
• Someone was intentionally cruel
• It happened in childhood
Emotional trauma can be caused by single-blow, one-time events, such as a terrible accident, natural disaster, or a violent attack. Trauma can also be experienced from ongoing, relentless stress such as living in a crime-ridden neighbourhood or struggling with a terminal illness like cancer.
Recovering from emotional and psychological trauma takes time. Give yourself time to heal and to mourn the losses you have experienced. Don’t try to rush or force the healing process. Be patient! Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling without judgement or guilt.
Here are a few self-soothing strategies you could use to help you along your journey to healing:-
1) Meditate – Medication helps you live in the moment rather than anticipating fearful events. Meditation also increases self awareness and promotes mental clarity.
2) Exercise- Physical activity causes physiological changes such as increased blood flow to the brain and can elevate mood.
3) Taking a bath-Taking a nice hot bath can be a way to nurture and self-soothe.
4) Breathing exercises- Relieves tension and increases oxygen intake.
5) Listen to music- Listening to upbeat music can cheer you up and distract you from negative thoughts. Listening to music on the way to work or coming home is a great way help you unwind during your commute.
6) Journaling – Journaling helps you get in touch with your thoughts and feelings. Writing helps you to process your thoughts and problem solve.
7) Organize something or clean- Cleaning and organizing is a great stress reliever. It can provide you with a distraction and also gives you a sense of control.
8) Work on a puzzle – Working on crosswords, word find puzzles, jigsaw puzzles or Sudoku puzzles can be a diversion from negative thoughts and is entertaining.
9) Reading – Can prevent you from obsessing over negative thoughts
10) Watch TV – Watching a comedy may induce laughter and elevate your mood.
Despite the simplicity of the above list, these ten healthy self soothers can give you just the boost you need to decrease anxious feelings.
The next time you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed try one of these activities for at least half an hour and you should notice an improvement in mood and stress level.