Coping With Traumatic Stress

It’s normal for all people to experience grief, stress, and trauma following an unthinkable event, whether a car collision, natural disaster, heinous crimes, or tragic death of a loved one. These situations bring intense shock, dreadful fear, and panicking confusion alongside shattering emotions, resulting in traumatic stress.  

Traumatic stress affects not only the mental well-being of a person but also their physical and emotional health. Also, it can destroy their sense of security, leaving them susceptible to any dangers that surround them. In most cases, the emotions brought by traumatic stress, including its symptoms, may gradually fade as people go back to their everyday life.  

However, there are cases where people can’t recover from the aftermath of unfortunate events. If you or a loved one is suffering from severe traumatic stress, you may visit your local mental health clinic or go to https://jacksonhousecares.com/program/our-treatment/trauma/ for a complete diagnosis and treatment plan.  

On top of that, learning healthy coping techniques for symptoms of traumatic stress may bring you peace, relaxation, hope, and proper control of your life.  

Why Are Coping Techniques Important? 

The traumatic feelings people often feel after a catastrophic event are called acute stress disorder (ASD), which may typically last within a few weeks. In addition, applying coping strategies and seeking help may help you process your emotions and reduce the likelihood of experiencing the severe form of traumatic stress called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  

This mental condition puts people at higher risk of developing various mental health conditions, including an eating disorder, substance addiction, depression, and anxiety disorder. According to experts, people with PTSD are six times more likely to develop depression than those without it and five times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.  

Also, studies show that people living with this condition have a higher chance of developing suicidal thoughts. With all these risks, it’s important to reduce your likelihood of developing PTSD by coping with the symptoms of traumatic stress.

What Are The Common Signs Of Traumatic Stress?

During the aftermath of a traumatic event, it’s normal for your body to feel nervous and anxious about what could happen next. Because of such feelings, you might be paralyzed by intense stress, resulting in a wide range of emotional and physical symptoms. 

Also, it’s worth noting that these symptoms may be mild or severe and may recur from time to time, depending on your condition. For example, there are days when you’re happy and anxious, and other times when you’re sad and numb. 

Here are emotional symptoms of traumatic stress:

  • Shock And Disbelief: It will be difficult for you to accept the reality that some things should happen. For this reason, you might feel numb and disconnected from the environment. 
  • Fright: It’s normal for you to be afraid of not knowing how to respond in case an unthinkable event may happen again. 
  • Shame: Because of what happened, you’re ashamed to show your feelings and fears you can’t control. 
  • Outrage: You may be mad at people you think should be responsible for what has happened, such as the government.
  • Sadness: This may occur if your loved one has passed away or if you are suffering from life-changing outcomes.
  • Guilt: Feeling that you have failed to help more people in need and being the lone survivor in an accident. Also, you might feel that you’re unworthy of living when all your company has died except you. 
  • Reassurance: You’re hopeful that everything will be back to normal once again. 
  • Weakness And Hopelessness: The sudden nature of unfortunate events may leave you susceptible to anxiety and depression, thinking that you can never be better. 

On the other hand, here are physical symptoms of traumatic stress: 

  • Dizziness And Sudden Collapse: You may experience sweating and feeling your stomach turns upside down, resulting in nausea and a sense of disgust. 
  • Tremble: You may feel something blocking out your throat that’s choking you. You may also feel your body releasing cold sweats. 
  • Rapid Breathing: You may feel your heart racing and adrenaline rushing during and after the event, causing breathing problems. If you have a heart condition, you may be prone to cardiac arrests and heart attacks. In that case, have someone to assist you and call an emergency right away.
  • Confusion: You may not be able to rest, think, and concentrate properly. In addition, you may also suffer from memorizing and remembering things. 
  • Problematic Sleep Cycle: You may experience sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia or the constant occurrence of nightmares. 
  • Change In Appetite: You may not have the energy to eat or abuse the use of substances, such as alcohol, nicotine, and others.
  • Body Pains With Unknown Causes: You may feel headaches, joint pains, muscle pains, etc., without knowing why. Also, your sexual function may be affected. 

As mentioned above, it’s crucial to address these symptoms to reduce your chances of acquiring a complex case of PTSD. Unlike traumatic stress, the symptoms of PTSD may not ease up. You may feel them gradually worsening every day.  

Therefore, it’s vital to manage these symptoms with the coping strategies below.

What Are Healthy Ways For Coping With Traumatic Stress? 

Here are some expert-approved and healthy techniques that will help you manage your symptoms and prevent them from becoming much worse: 

  1. Move Away From Any Forms Of Media  

Many people would recommend entertaining yourself with movies and other TV shows to ease your feelings of fear, grief, and sadness.  

However, according to experts, these would only worsen your condition. When you’re constantly exposed to images of a disturbing scenario, it will only traumatize you by repeatedly reminding you of what happened. Also, it may even cause traumatic stress to other people, even if they are not part of the event. 

Here are some tips that may help you prevent yourself from being retraumatized: 

  • Limit Your Exposure To Social Media: Social media is full of news and stories that may be related to what happened to you, reminding you of the things that happened before. As much as possible, refrain from watching the news or using social media apps until you’re fully recovered and healed.  
  • Avoid Disturbing Photos And Videos: If you want to stay updated about the event, you may do so by reading newspapers and other similar news outlets that don’t show you any videos and photos related to the event.  
  • Take A Break: If news still affects your thinking, you might want to take a break from any media source, including social media, until the symptoms have reduced and you’re ready to move on.  

These tips will help you move on and recover from such events. Also, they will help you get healed as soon as possible. Take all the time you need to heal, and don’t pressure yourself about what has happened before. 

  1. Accept Your Emotions 

Traumatic events may cause you to release different kinds of challenging and unwanted emotions, such as shock and guilt. These are only part of the normal reaction that everyone may experience due to the loss of life, security, or property that comes in the aftermath of the catastrophes.  

It’s crucial to accept these emotions and allow yourself to experience what you need to experience to heal and recover from the past completely.  

Here are some ways that may help you deal with your emotions:  

  • Heal With Time: As the saying goes, take all the time you need to heal and allow yourself to mourn, grieve and weep for everything you have lost. Accept what happened and let time heal everything. 
  • Take The Long Step: The path to recovery has no shortcuts. Forcing the healing process will only fake your recovery and make you vulnerable to any situation that may trigger the past.  
  • Be Patient: The path to recovery is a long journey filled with ups and downs of emotions. So, it’s vital to be patient along the way to recover fully.
  • Prepare For Emotional Outburst: You may feel your emotions change unexpectedly. For example, you may be sad at one point, then be enraged or extremely sad after a few seconds. 
  • Remove Your Guilt: Accept all your emotions and allow them to flow through you without feeling any guilt about what happened.  
  • Reconnect With Emotions: If you want to move on as soon as possible, you have to learn how to attach yourself to feelings that make you uncomfortable without ill feelings. 

It’s important to accept your emotions so that you may forgive yourself and remove the guilt inside you. Also, it will help you to stay positive that may help you recover and heal quickly.  

  1. Practice Your Capabilities 

After a series of traumatic events, you’ll most likely feel helpless and incapable of doing things your way. If this continues, it will be more difficult for you to heal and recover faster. 

To overcome this sense of helplessness, you have to prove to yourself that you’re capable. You may start by doing positive actions, whether big or small. Even small actions can make significant changes in your life. 

Here are some things you may do: 

  • Volunteering: It is one of the best ways to improve not only your mental health but also your overall well-being. You may volunteer your time, donate your blood, give back to the charity you love.  

However, if formal volunteering practices are too challenging for you, you may try to be as helpful to others without any commitments. For example, assisting the elderly to go to the other side of the road, sharing a smile with others, or helping them carry their groceries.  

  • Bond With Other Affected People: Connecting with people who are also affected by an accident is an effective way to help you overcome feelings of helplessness. You may console them by visiting memorials and other public observances, especially those who lost their loved ones or were broken due to catastrophes.  

These activities will help you challenge your capabilities and provide you with pleasure that reduces your feelings of helplessness.  

  1. Start Moving Around 

Performing a daily exercise routine helps people, whether or not they’re mentally ill, improve their emotional and physical well-being. That is because of the hormones released when moving your body and releasing sweat. These hormones are called endorphins, which effectively boost mood and make people feel good.  

In addition, it helps you burn some adrenaline to help you calm your senses down. On top of that, an exercise with a mind-to-body connection effectively eases your nervous system, allowing you to heal and recover from the tragic event.  

Here are some workouts you may incorporate into your daily routine: 

  • Rhythmic Workouts: These exercises involve your arms and legs, such as running, jogging, and walking. If you think you can level up your game, you may try a bit more intense activities, such as swimming, basketball, or volleyball.  
  • Mind-Centered Activities: These activities focus on intensive mind-to-body connection, where every step should be taken carefully; otherwise, you could get injured. You may experience this by doing martial arts, boxing, wall climbing, and strength training.  
  • Mood-Boosters: In the aftermath of a traumatic event, you might not have the motivation and energy to get moving. If you’re looking for something that may help boost yourself, you may try listening to music and start dancing around. After this, you’ll be more motivated to move and jump around.  

These add-ons will make your routine even more friendly than before.  

  1. Reach Out To Other People 

In this fight, remember that you’re not alone and should never be alone. If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out to other people close to you, such as your family and friends. Hearing their advice, getting a hug from them, and constantly talking to them is crucial to your recovery. These simple acts help your body release hormones that make you feel even better.  

Here are some tips that may help you improve your communication with others: 

  • Talk About Positive Things: You don’t have to speak about your past traumatic experience with other people to relax, as this may only bring back tragic memories. Instead, talk about the things that make life worth living, such as your daily blessings, motivational speeches, and educational talks. 
  • Expand Your Connections: If you’re all by yourself, you might have a limited number of friends you can talk to or hang out with. In that case, you may consider making new acquaintances. You may participate in local support groups, church organizations, community gatherings, or sports and leisure clubs.  

Reaching out to other people will help you recover faster and improve your overall health, lifestyle, and well-being. Also, you will be more exposed to a wide network of people who can help you regarding your condition.  

Final Words  

Everyone may experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, and it’s normal for people to release emotions based on shock, fear, confusion, and guilt. Usually, these feelings may be gone after a few weeks when coupled with healthy coping strategies. These will help you manage traumatic stress symptoms, preventing them from worsening.  

Failure to address the physical and emotional symptoms may result in a mental condition called PTSD. Some strategies are moving away from media, accepting your emotions, freeing yourself from helplessness, and doing physical activities.

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