At one time or the other in our lives, we’ve all experienced something that shocked us to our core. Traumatic events take many shapes and forms. It could be anything from witnessing an act of violence, experience a tragic death, suffering a near-fatal injury, or being a victim of some sort of physical, mental, or sexual abuse. Each of these events tends to affect us in different ways but more often than not, most people who have encountered such or similar situations often suffer traumatic stress.
Right afterward or in the days that follow the incident or days, you’re bound to experience a range of emotional and physical symptoms. It’s simply your body’s way of reacting to the traumatic event.
At this time, you’ll maybe find yourself withdrawing from normal activities you used to enjoy. This will inadvertently affect how well you react with the rest of the world and the people around you.
There’s no hard and fast remedy or cure that can erase the effects of traumatic stress or help you recover from the harsh reality of whatever abnormal event you experience. The good news is, there are effective ways that can help you dull the ache and cope with traumatic stress.
From simple tips to professional solutions such as integrative psychiatry and cognitive behavioral therapy, we’ll explore some effective solutions or hacks that can help you tackle the stress that often accompanies trauma.
What are the symptoms of traumatic stress?
Being exposed to a traumatic event can take a toll on your physical and psychological well-being. Some symptoms you might experience at this time include:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Memory problems
- Hypervigilance, etc.
You might also find yourself avoiding thoughts, memories, people, and places that are associated with the distressing event. While these symptoms tend to fade with time, you might find them intensifying as the days go by.
This can lead to the development of acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Effective ways to deal with traumatic stress
· Have a support group
After a traumatic event, it’s normal to feel a need to withdraw from the world. While such behavior might seem necessary at the time, you need to learn to reach out to your loved ones.
Being around friends and family at such a time can help you gain the support you need to face your fears head-on. You do not have to discuss the experience until you are ready, but simply letting them know that you’re struggling can help you understand that you’re not alone as you feel.
· Focus on the present
When you find yourself reliving the trauma of the event you witnessed or experience, it’s a short slide from that into a panic attack.
Focusing on the present with the aid of your give sense can help ground you and make you aware of what’s real and what’s not. Listen to sounds around you.
Focus on a particular object right there in the present and let the smells around you anchor you to the present, keeping you from drifting into the dark corners of your memory.
This is another hack that although may seem redundant, especially as you breathe all the time, is a good tool to help cope with traumatic stress. Inhale through your nose and exhale either through your nose or pursed lips.
Keep a steady rhythm as you breathe. This can have a calming effect on your body and help you clear your mind so you can return to the present.
· Seek professional help
These tips can be helpful for people who experience minor symptoms. However, if your symptoms are more severe, you can gain a lot by seeking the aid of a psychologist or other mental health professionals.
If you’re afraid of being pumped full of medications and sent on your merry way, you should know that there are more wholesome, evidence-based treatments such as integrative psychiatry that can be of help to you.