Once you have gone through, or witnessed, a traumatic event, and the imminent danger, shock and loss have already occurred and passed, it can be incredibly difficult to get your life back on track. You may be overwhelmed with bad memories that stifle you, or perhaps are living in fear that you're going to receive more bad news. Likely, you're also having a hard time shaking the disturbing images of the trauma and moving forward with your life.
Emotional trauma can result from any situation that leaves you feeling threatened, overwhelmed or helpless, including accidents, disasters, war, rape, terrorist attacks and other stressful events. Both shock and denial are normal feelings experienced after an emotional trauma, according to the American Psychological Association, and may be followed by:
- Mood changes, including irritability, anxiety or depression
- Flashbacks and vivid memories of the event
- Recurring emotional reactions to the trauma (particularly on the anniversary of the event)
- Strain on your personal relationships
- Physical symptoms including headaches, nausea, and chest pain
Emotional Trauma Recovery: How to Move Forward With Your Life
You can recover from an emotional trauma in the same way that your body can recover from a physical hurt. The healing may take some time, but the following tips can help you to move forward and regain emotional well-being.
- Give it time. Accept that your body and mind need some time to work through the events that have happened.
- Get support. This can come from friends, family, local support groups and even releasing your thoughts into a diary. The key is to openly talk about how you are feeling, and not hold it inside.
- Accept the situation, and release it. 'Traumatic events often become more traumatic over time because instead of letting go and moving on we continually relive the events,' says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates. 'The simplest way I know to let go of past trauma is to let go of wanting to change what happened and recognize that what is done is done.'
- If you are having trouble letting go of wanting to change what happened, The Sedona Method is an excellent tool that can help.
- Take care of yourself. Nurture your body with healthy meals, exercise and plenty of sleep, because during this time your body will need the extra support.
- Get back to normal. Emotional traumas can turn your world upside down. Getting back to your routine, such as normal meal times, outings with friends and engaging in your hobbies, will help you to heal and move forward.
- Hold off on major changes. While your body and mind recover, try not to make any huge changes such as moving or switching jobs. You're better off without the added stress of such a major change during this time.