After our lives have been touched by traumatic events it can seem impossible to go back to life as it used to be. The truth of the matter is...life will never be like it used to be. Once you have been impacted by trauma, your life changes forever. This could be a positive or negative experience depending on how you look at it.
Healing after trauma may seem impossible, but I’m here to tell you that if you do the work healing AND happiness after trauma is entirely possible! You might ask, “Well Seida how? How do I find happiness after this ugly, depressing or demoralizing thing has happened?” Well my answer to you if you were sitting in my office would be that it’s a process! It’s a collection of specific strategies that don’t happen overnight.
There are a couple of tools you can use to help you find happiness after experiencing trauma. I didn’t say a perfect life, because we know that doesn’t exist. Therapy is a great tool, but an epic therapist will help you discover lifelong strategies to maintain your healthy journey. In order to find happiness after you have experienced trauma, assuming you’ve already done the work in therapy, you need to give yourself permission to feel how you feel, practice regular self-care, build in/maintain supports + actually use them + don’t be discouraged by setbacks.
// Give yourself permission //
So many times conflict (snag your conflict resolution packet here!) comes up, because we haven’t given ourselves permission to feel how we feel. Feelings are just that...feelings! Feelings aren’t good or bad. Unfortunately our society tells people that feelings are bad. Our actions as a result of our feelings is what carries consequences.
// Regular self care //
Self care has recently become a buzz word, but I’m not sure we really take it to heart. We live in a time where you have to hustle to get what you want in life. We’re encouraged to always be moving, doing, thinking + being something or we’re considered a failure. Even those who regularly encourage self-care (myself included) struggle with taking time to relax. Rest + relaxation help improve our general quality of life.
Self care could be allowing yourself 5 minutes to cry just because you feel like it on a Tuesday morning. It could be drinking your latte while you’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on your morning commute. (Note: this is an effective method to prevent road rage) Determine what your self care routine looks like + regularly exercise self care!
// Build in supports //
Set up positive supports + reinforcers throughout the day. Support looks different for everyone. The best way to maintain a healthy emotional state is to recognize the need for support + actively set those things in place. Support is not a bad thing. People were created to help support other people. Human connection is vital to our survival.
Many times it’s difficult for us to view support as support, because it’s not how we would offer someone else support. An example of positive support or reinforcers in your day might be talking to someone you connect with at work for 5 minutes to help you re-focus after a frustrating meeting. Or you might want to keep a wax burner in your office for aromatherapy/calming scents as a cue for your brain to relax. Here is a FREE Coping Skills Workbook to help you figure out more ideas for supports throughout the day!
// Setbacks are normal //
Setbacks are part of life. It’s not about the mistakes we make, but how we recover from those mistakes. Recovery from setbacks can actually be viewed positively, because they’re proof that you’re actively trying to improve. Trauma recovery is not easy, but living in the pain + shadow of the aftermath is even more difficult. At the time when you’re fighting to be healthier it doesn’t seem worth it, but the end result is extremely rewarding. On one hand, setbacks absolutely suck! On the other hand they also teach you what you’re made of.
Have you experienced trauma? What tips helped you recover + live a healthier lifestyle? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or come say hi in the FTHC Tribe Lounge!