Traumatic events tend to trigger all sorts of feelings, like stress, nervousness, sadness, anger, and more! These events can be personal, like an assault or abuse. They can also be a global crisis, like a flood or a pandemic.
Nevertheless, these experiences can leave an emotional and mental toll. However, if dealt with in a healthy way, the symptoms can slowly get better. Keep reading to find out more.
Symptoms Brought on by a Traumatic Event
Unfortunately, most of us will be exposed to traumatic events during our lifetimes. In response, we suffer from what experts refer to as ‘traumatic stress.’
Sometimes, we’re not the victims of the events but mere witnesses. Yet, we can still suffer from traumatic stress just the same.
Below are some of the ways this stress can manifest itself.
Emotional symptoms, such as:
- Disbelief and shock
- Sadness and grief
- Feeling jumpy and nervous
- Anger Irritability
- Shame or guilt
Physical symptoms include:
- Getting flashbacks and intrusive thoughts
- Aches and pains
- Cold sweats
- Increase or loss in appetite
- Shallow, rapid breathing
- Feeling dizzy or nauseous
Coping with a Traumatic Event
Some people find outlets for their symptoms, and with time, they usually get better.
Others, however, develop acute stress disorder. This is when the symptoms are much more intense, thus, much more difficult to go away on their own.
The good news is that psychologists and other medical experts have rounded up a handful of healthy ways to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event.
Embrace Your Emotions
Often after going through something traumatic, the last thing we want to do is rehash our thoughts and feelings. But avoiding your feelings isn’t a healthy way to deal with what happened.
While taking some time for yourself is normal, too much avoidance can be disruptive. It can even prolong your stress and delay your healing.
You can face your feelings on your own by writing in a journal. The other option is to talk it out and find support from loved ones, peer groups, or mental health professionals.
Find what makes you comfortable, and slowly but surely, you’ll find yourself getting back in the groove.
After a traumatic event, especially after that first month, things like good sleep, healthy eating, and exercise can easily slip your mind. All you want to do is stay in bed under the covers out of harm’s way.
However, the best thing you can do to push through this difficult time is to make a conscious effort each day to get up and do right by yourself.
Studies show that regular physical exercise releases stress and anxiety. It also signals your brain to release feel-good hormones, which improve your mood. So, why not start with something simple like taking a 15-minute walk outside?
Other self-care ideas include:
- Eating well-balanced nutritious meals
- Getting quality sleep each night
- Spend time in nature
- Practice mindful meditation
- Do yoga
- Find a creative outlet, like music or art
Establish a Routine
There’s safety and comfort in the familiar. That’s why getting back to your daily routine is important.
Some people can get back after a few days, while others need several weeks. The important thing is to structure your days in a way that there are set times for certain things.
Even if your work or school schedule is disrupted, you can create and maintain a new schedule to give you a feeling of security and control.
For example, get into the habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. It may take a few days to get the hang of it, but getting quality sleep each night will make you feel less anxious and speed up the healing process.
It also pays off to create a schedule for your meals, workouts, and me-time. Having that structure and sense of control can help minimize your feelings of helplessness and anxiety.
A Final Note
It’s normal to have a strong reaction after going through a trauma. Yet, the good news is that there are healthy coping mechanisms to get you through a traumatic event.
Remember to take one day at a time. Also, give yourself the love and empathy you need to heal and recover. Then, as the days pass, your symptoms will begin to improve, and you’ll start feeling like your normal self.