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How to work through and cope with trauma
Recently my step-father has been fighting some serious medical issues and its triggered some of the past trauma from 16 years ago and my fathers battle with cancer. Hospitals, surgeries, Scans, chemo, all of these bring back a very dark time in my life. I still remember the paralyzing words of my aunt telling me he was gone and how it changed me.
When you suffer a traumatic incident, it can feel like the end of the world. But as bad as that may be for you in the moment, it does not have to define you forever. There are many ways to cope with trauma and move on with your life. Here is what has worked for me in coping with trauma throughout my life.
Seek professional help.
Talk to a therapist. Therapy is a great way to work through traumatic experiences and learn how to live with them. It can also help you find ways of coping with your stress, anxiety and depression symptoms.
Talk to a doctor about medication for mental health issues that may be affecting your daily life and interfering with your ability to function normally.
If you are having trouble sleeping or eating, talk to your doctor about medication that might help resolve those problems so that they don't make the situation worse than it already is.
Talk about what happened with someone who has been there before—someone who's been through something similar themselves or knows someone else who has gone through something similar in their lives (such as an older sibling). This person should be able to provide wise advice on how best handle the situation at hand because they've already been through it themselves!
Focus on the positives in your life.
It's important to focus on the positives in your life. Think about all of the good things that have happened, or are going to happen. If you're having a hard time thinking of any, try writing down a list of things that make you happy and grateful for life. This can be anything from getting an A on a test or receiving an unexpected compliment, to having a great day with friends and family, or even something simple like being able to sit down at your favorite restaurant during lunchtime.
Gratitude shifts your attitude to appreciate what you do have vs being angry at what you do not. I celebrated the 21 years that I had with my father vs focusing on the years ahead without. Small shifts like this go a long way.
Exercise is a great way to manage stress, and it can also help you sleep better. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety, increase confidence and make people feel generally happier. Exercise is a direct investment into yourself that can show dividends in other areas. Living a healthy lifestyle has helped me with my confidence and ability to think clearly. I am more mentally awake after a good run and I can conquer the days tasks knowing that I already have a win under my belt.
With writing, you are able to process your thoughts in a way that other people may not understand. This allows you to organize your feelings and thoughts in a way that makes sense for you, which can help you better understand what is happening and why.
Writing also helps you feel more in control of your life because it gives you something productive and tangible to do with yourself when nothing else makes sense. It's easy to feel like there's no point trying anymore, but writing helps give us focus by providing us with tasks that require our brain power and creativity.
Writing can even help connect us with others who have experienced similar things—especially if they go through what we go through every day! By sharing our experiences with each other, we are able to help each other cope (and sometimes laugh at) situations we might not otherwise be able to find humor in on our own
Writing is a superpower and allows you to organize and gather your thoughts.
Set goals for yourself.
To put the above tips into action, set goals for yourself. Goals are an effective way of staying focused and motivated. They can be anything from losing weight to learning a new skill, or even traveling somewhere new.
When setting your goal, make sure you’re specific about what it is that you want to achieve. For example: “I want to lose 20 pounds this year” is better than “I want to lose weight.” The first statement gives the impression that there is an end date attached — a date when you will reach an ideal weight — whereas the latter leaves no time frame for success. By being specific about what exactly it is that you hope to achieve within a certain timeframe, it will be easier for you not only to stay on task but also keep track of how well (or poorly) things are going once those goals become more tangible over time
Reach out to friends and family members.
Having someone you can turn to when you’re having a hard time is crucial. It’s important to make sure that you don’t keep things bottled up inside and that you don't isolate yourself. Don't be afraid of asking people for help, even if they may not know what they can do; sometimes it's just having someone there who listens, or giving advice on how to approach certain situations.
What might surprise some people is the fact that reaching out isn't even necessarily about sharing your trauma stories with others—it's also about talking about other things like current events, the weather and what happened at work today (even if those topics seem mundane). Having a conversation about something else gives us an opportunity to relax our minds so it feels less overwhelming when we have difficult conversations later on in life.
Spend time with positive role models.
Positive role models can be anyone you admire and want to emulate. It's not necessary for a person you admire to be similar to yourself or even a friend or family member (though it can help). A positive role model doesn't need to have accomplished as much as you'd like them to have achieved, but they do need to have qualities that you value and respect. If your parents are always kind and generous, they may be good examples of positive role models. If your brother has shown that he's willing to work hard toward his goals despite the obstacles in his way, he could also serve as an excellent example of someone who inspires others around him with his persistence and perseverance.
If there aren't any people in your life currently who are named by all these qualities—which is perfectly fine!—look outside of your immediate circle for examples: maybe there's an author whose work gives voice to people who've been silenced; maybe there's a politician whose values align with yours; or maybe there's an entertainer whose art resonates deeply within your own soul when nothing else does... whatever form these types might take, be sure that each one is someone whose message resonates strongly with what matters most about yourself so that when their words come up later on during this process (and trust me: they will), it isn't just another thing added onto everything else weighing down upon us today but rather something we choose consciously because we know how much those words mean at this point in our lives!
Trauma does not have to define you, there are many ways to cope and keep moving on with your life
You can move forward. You can be and do whatever you want. No matter how many times you hear "it's going to be okay," or "you're strong enough to get through this," that doesn't always feel like it's true. But it is true, and there are a lot of things that help people work through trauma—and ways for you to cope with the aftermath of something traumatic happening in your life.
You don't have to let trauma define who you are, or what your future will look like. In fact, it's important not to let it define anything about you or what happens next in life because doing so could prevent you from finding happiness or success in other areas of life because of the negative feelings associated with your traumatic experience lingering on forever (or at least longer than they should).
Trauma does not have to define you. You should always remember that you are strong, resilient and capable of overcoming anything life throws at you. There are many ways to cope with trauma, from seeking professional help to focusing on the positive aspects of your life. I hope this article has given you some insight into how to work through traumatic events in your life and keep moving forward towards happiness and success! Good Luck and Memento Mori