When you are hurting, either physically or emotionally, sometimes, the change in season can help you on the path to healing. Spring is especially good for healing because everything is coming alive again. Trees have buds on them and new leaves. Plants and grass grow. Flowers bloom. Days get longer. Weather becomes warmer. These are all positive things. The world wakes up from its dormant state of the winter and heals itself from the harsh conditions during the winter months. Just like the world, you can begin to blossom again after traumatic experiences. Here are some tips to help you.
1. It’s Normal – Know that what you feel is a normal reaction to your situation. You might feel out of control, but you really are feeling post-traumatic stress symptoms.
2. Find Those You Trust – It is a good idea to talk about your thoughts, feeling and reactions to someone you trust. Then, talk some more and keep talking until you don’t feel you need to discuss it anymore.
3. Feel Safe – Do what you must to get a feeling of security and tranquility in your immediate environment. You might have to use a night light or listen to soothing music. Just do it and don’t feel ashamed about it.
4. Ensure Normalcy – You want to get back to your regular routine as soon as you can. Traumatic events can throw your life into a state of chaos, but when you do the things you normally do, you will feel more in control. Structure can provide feelings of security as you etch your way back to stability.
5. You’re Recovering — Give yourself the proper rest, nutrition and exercise. If you were recovering from the flu you would not forget these health tips. Do the same for yourself as you recover from traumatic stress. Take time to heal. Be patient.
6. Be Your Own Advocate – Take action on your behalf. For example, if you were a victim of crime, prosecuting the perpetrator may be an empowering experience. If this is not an option for you, write in a journal. Strike out at the perpetrator with words. Find a way to help yourself fight.
7. Know What Sets Off Your Stress – Become aware of your emotional triggers and learn to cope with them creatively. You may have a flashback to your trauma by engaging in a similar activity; going to a similar place; and seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or feeling something that reminds you of the original trauma. Think about what will give you flashbacks. Use positive self-talk to help you get through those triggers. For example, “This is scary, but I’m fine and safe.”
Healing Through the Hurt: Five Steps to Emotional and Spiritual Healing is a book that can help you understand your feelings. Dr. Ross can help you apply the lessons of this little booklet to change your life for the better.