You’re seeking a better life, a way to handle your trauma in a healthy, proactive manner.
You’re aware that your trauma is affecting your life, but you’re not entirely sure how to approach it.
In fact, you’re looking to pursue a higher level of well-being, but the recovery, healing, and support you need seems nonexistent in your life.
How are you supposed to “move past” your trauma if you have no idea where to start addressing it?
Neuroscientist Richard Davidson at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his colleagues have concluded that there are four constituents to well-being:
Here is a video of Davidson speaking on the topic of well-being:
Now that you’re aware of well-being, it’s time to dive deeper into resilience, a skill that you can develop over time to better cope with life.
Here are some questions:
- What if you could learn how to better cope with life?
- What if you could become more resilient in the face of trauma?
- What if you could use mindfulness to understand yourself on a deeper level?
As you live your life, you will face trauma. It’s a truth many of us would prefer not to accept.
But when you develop coping strategies, you can live a more grounded, full life.
Here are some statistics:
- About 70 percent of adults in America will face some kind of traumatic event in their lifetime.
- Males experience more traumatic events on average than do females, yet females are more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- LBGT+ individuals experience more than one hate crime (traumatic event) in their lifetime
Although you cannot change the fact that stressful events will happen, you can learn coping strategies to respond to those events.
One of those coping strategies is resilience.
No matter the type of traumatic event you may experience, you’re not alone. Your experience with trauma is not uncommon, either. Millions of people around the globe experience some form of trauma in their lives.
A percentage of those people are developing coping strategies through mental health therapy to navigate their past, current, and potential stressful events in their lives.
And so can you:
When you learn how to respond to these stressful events, you can live a more grounded life.
You can use mindfulness to get a better understanding of yourself.
Let’s look at trauma.
What Is Trauma?
Your traumatic event is unique to you and your life. Never forget that. Your individual experience deserves individual attention.
This is why understanding trauma is so important, as well as learning how to cope with it.
A traumatic event is when an incident causes harm in a physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological way to you or someone else.
If you’ve experienced a traumatic event, you may feel distressed, threatened, afraid, or anxious, as well as a full-spectrum of other emotions, as a result of the event.
In some cases, denial of the stressful event occurring may manifest as a response to the trauma.
What’s more, life events after your traumatic experience may agitate your memory of the past trauma, which can cause rise to anxiety, depression, anger, and other strong emotions.
For most, a traumatic event feels like a never ending cycle of negative emotions.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are some examples of traumatic life events:
- Death of a pet, teacher, friend, family member, lover, or partner
- Witnessing a death
- Abandonment by partner, lover, family member, or friend
- Major physical accident
- Serious illnesses
- Natural disasters
- Relocating to a new location
- Sexual assault
- Domestic abuse
- Prison, jail, or other forceful confined experience
If you or someone you love has experienced a traumatic event, they will need time and support to recover and heal from the event.
In most cases, scheduling sessions with a mental health therapist is necessary to work through the emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical turmoil that may live inside the individual.
Remember, your traumatic event is unique to you, and you need individual traumatic-informed therapy to work through it.
In between sessions, however, you can practice resilience in your own life to better cope with past or potential traumatic events.
Five Ways To Foster Resilience In Your Life
When something bad happens, how long does it take for you to recover?
A traumatic event will cause you pain in some form, and your ability to recover and heal from that event directly correlates with how resilient you are in life.
As Davidson mentions in his video above, you can train your ability to be more resilient.
Resilience is not a genetic trait that you’re born with. The neural circuits in the part of the brain where resilience exists exhibits what’s called plasticity, a malleable trait within the brain.
This means that resilience and the other three well-being constituents can be changed for the better. One simply needs to work on them.
You can build your resilience.
Here are five ways to help build your resilience:
Nurture relationships within and outside of your family and friends to create a more supportive and positive environment to live in.
If you find it difficult to foster relationships, find a group or two that offers you the opportunity to participate in an activity that you enjoy like painting, running, or reading. Use these groups or events to connect with other people and build those supportive, positive relationships.
Find The Meaning in Adversity
Whenever you face something difficult in life, take some time to find the meaning of that event. Search for a way that the stressful situation may have offered you a lesson, opportunity, or positive outcome to your life. Instead of asking, “why me?” Ask yourself “what can I learn from this event?”
Your ability to accept tough emotions and letting them be — instead of pushing them away — may be the key to working through difficult life events. Experiencing negative emotion does not mean that you must take action on those emotions. In fact, those who actively practice mindfulness become more effective handling negative emotions to exist, opening up to experiencing negative emotions, and accepting that negative emotions are a part of life. When you practice mindfulness, you will begin to foster a deeper relationship with yourself.
When it’s time to make a decision, do the best that you can right now. Those who wait and hope that things will get better tend to experience more negative emotions as a result of their inaction. Remember, not making a decision is, in and of itself, making a decision. Do your best to choose and then act on your decision.
Embrace the universal truth that life will change. When you begin to expect that adversity and change are a part of your wonderful existence, you spend less time ruminating. Your goals in life are your own, and developing your ability to cope with the changes instead of avoiding the loss or pain is a practice that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
Start Building Your Resilience Today
As you continue your journey through life, building resilience, and practicing mindfulness, remember that you’re not alone. Find a mental health therapist near you in Portland to get started with sessions. Check in to a group or consistent events that offer a supportive, positive environment. Practice mindfulness in all that you do.
Here are the key takeaways from this blog article:
- You can improve your well-being.
- You can learn coping strategies to respond to and recover from stressful events.
- Recovering and healing from trauma takes time and support.
- You can train your ability to be more resilient.
- Embrace change; it’s a part of life.