How to Adjust Back to Normal After a Traumatic Experience

Updated: Apr 27

Trauma affects millions of people, and many do not understand that the definition of trauma is not in the event itself but a person’s perception of it. There are many different types of trauma a person may experience; from the effects of war to the aftermath of a car accident, trauma is not something to be taken lightly or ignored in any situation. These tips will help you to begin to overcome trauma and heal from your experience. Remember, you do not have to justify your feelings. If you’re hurting now, that’s what matters, and you deserve to move forward and feel safe again.

Overcoming Mental Effects

The mind has many defense mechanisms it may use to protect you from the damaging effects of trauma. Defense mechanisms are usually discussed in a negative light, but they serve an important purpose. Recognizing yours and finding ways to gradually work through them will help you to confront the aftermath of trauma on your own terms without becoming overwhelmed. You must also know about the physical and mental effects you may encounter after trauma. Getting injured is considered a traumatic experience. Many injuries can cause cognitive impairment for a period of time. Working with a therapist can help you find ways to cope and heal in a safe space. You may not feel like you can talk about what you’re going through to anyone you know, and a therapist is trained to not only listen but also walk alongside you as you work through your emotions. You should also be aware of the subtle signs of trauma. 

The following are indications that you may be coping with post-traumatic stress disorder, a common anxiety condition that affects thousands of people each year:

  1. Frequent irritability and feeling “on edge” 

  2. Angry outbursts over things that wouldn’t have bothered you before the trauma 

  3. Avoiding people, places, or objects that remind you of the traumatic event 

  4. Reliving the traumatic experience through nightmares and/or flashbacks 

  5. Inexplicable physical problems like nausea, headaches, and digestive problems

Stick to Your Normal Routine

Although it’s normal to experience depression following a traumatic experience, you should avoid abandoning routine. By all means, take some time off work to process and regroup, but do not quit your job and isolate yourself from life. As difficult as it may be, make a commitment to get up at a relatively early time each morning, get dressed, eat regularly, and go to sleep at your usual bedtime. The comfort of routine can be tremendously reassuring to trauma victims, and maintaining your own schedule will help you to stay active and avoid feeling overly disconnected from reality following the wake of the event.

Accept the Experience

As wonderful as it would be to erase trauma from your memory, that isn’t possible. So many people prolong their pain by struggling against their trauma when, in reality, they need to accept it. By coming to terms with what has happened, you’ll finally be able to start moving forward.

The past will never change, and as much as it may be affecting you in the present, your trauma does not define your future. Follow these tips to start to heal after dealing with a traumatic experience in your life.

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