Statistics have shown that around 13 million people deal with post-traumatic stress disorder worldwide. When we take into account the numbers of undiagnosed people, we can see that the actual number likely well exceeds that number.
Trauma is different for each of us, with every person experiencing it differently. And when trauma is left unresolved, it can cause a myriad of issues, from interpersonal relationship problems to mood instability, and even psychosis.
The good news is, there are many ways to seek healing and begin supporting your journey towards finding resolution with your trauma. According to experts, here are 4 practical ways to do just that.
Grounding is one of the most powerful things to help with trauma, at least for me. Honestly, grounding and mindfulness have helped me more than anything. And experts seem to agree. Grounding is a good technique for when you are disassociating or enduring flashbacks, or anxiety from your trauma.
When these feelings come on, try these:
-Run water over your hands: Simply turn on the cold water, and allow the cold water to run over your hands. Bring your attention to the cold water hitting each part of your hand, and then turn the water to warm. Continue until you feel calm again.
-Walk around: Stand up and go for a walk. You don’t have to walk around the block or anything like that, but simply walking outside for a breath of fresh air helps a lot.
-Breathe: Inhale to four, hold for three, then exhale for four. For bonus points, try to refocus your attention on something that makes you happy after each set.
Mindfulness is such an underrated practice. When you have recently undergone trauma, it completely rewires your brain. It can push you so deep into your mind, that nothing seems real anymore. When you are having a hard time getting out of your head, try this technique:
Find 5 things you can see. Look around your environment and become aware of it. Pick out things you wouldn’t usually notice.
Find 4 things you can feel. What do you currently feel? Touch your clothing, your skin, a couch cushion nearby, or whatever is available to you. Make sure you do this mindfully.
Find 3 things you can hear. Listen for fans, birds chirping, the air conditioner coming on or turning off. And truly listen to the sounds.
Find 2 things you can smell. Oftentimes, we get so caught up in our minds, that smells around us can go unnoticed. Take a moment to pick out 2.
Find 1 thing you can taste. You can sip a drink, think about a taste that is already in your mouth, or eat a snack or some gum.
3. Learn self-regulation.
As children, we learn to self-soothe. But there again, when you are traumatized, it rewires your brain and the way you handle trauma. If you are having a hard time regulating your emotions, it may help to teach yourself some self-soothing techniques. Here are a few:
– Carry a sensory toy in your purse or backpack with you, and when you feel like your mind is going beyond control, find a quiet space and play with it. I like using fidget spinners, playdough, and crystals, but you can use whatever is calming to you.
– Hug yourself: cross your right arm over your chest, with your hand near your heart. Cross your left hand over your right shoulder and gently squeeze. It may sound crazy, but it works.
4. EMDR practice.
According to Gabby Bernstein, who is a best-selling author and trauma expert, you can use a technique similar to what EMDR therapists use. EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a therapeutic practice that can help you tap into your mind. Even without going to therapy, you can use a similar technique.
She says to turn on some binaural EMDR music (you can find it on YouTube) and listen to it for 20 minutes while you vent on paper. You don’t even have to list anything about your trauma, just write about your current state of mind. She says after that, take 20 minutes to meditate by simply laying or sitting quietly. Inhale and exhale, while focusing on your breathing.