Traumatic events like accidents, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or violent crimes can turn your life upside down, whether it is you who is involved in the event or a loved one. Repeated exposure to the horrific images of the event can increase your traumatic stress, leading to fatal consequences. By following a few steps you can calm your nervous system and regain control over your emotions and life.
Step #1: Recognize the signs and symptoms of traumatic stress
Traumatic stress can trigger a wide range of emotions and physical reactions that may be intense, confusing and even frightening. They generally come and go in waves. At times you may feel anxious and jumpy; and at other times you may feel numb and disconnected. Here are a few signs and symptoms of traumatic stress that you need to be aware of:
Emotional signs and symptoms of traumatic stress:
- Shock and disbelief
Physical symptoms of traumatic stress:
- Pounding heart
- Trembling or shaking
- Lump in the throat or a choked up feeling
- Rapid breathing
- Racing thoughts
- Tightening or churning of the stomach
- Cold sweats
Most of these symptoms are what people normally face when they come across a traumatic event. However, they do tend to fade away once life starts returning to normalcy.
Step #2: Stop reliving the traumatic event
Thinking about the traumatic event repeatedly or viewing the horrific images of the event over and over can only do harm to your nervous system, stopping you from thinking clearly. Try and keep your mind occupied by watching a movie, reading a book, cooking, or even playing with your kids. Focus on moving on with your life.
Step #3: Reestablish your routine
After a traumatic event, try as much as possible to get back to your normal routine. As they say there is a lot of comfort in the familiar. In case you are unable to get back to your school or work, try and structure your day by establishing a routine at home. Have regular timing for eating, sleeping, relaxing, and spending time with family.
Step #4: Avoid media exposure
People surviving or witnessing a trauma generally tend to watch the media coverage of the event. While there may be a few who may actually regain their sense of control through this, there are many who may find it absolutely disturbing and traumatizing. As far as possible, limit your media exposure to the event. Stop watching the news or checking social media until you find your traumatic symptoms easing up. If you have to stay updated, you can instead read the newspaper.
Step#5: Reach out to others
Even if you are tempted to withdraw from your friends after a traumatic event, you have to make efforts to try and connect with them, face to face. Such actions can help relieve your traumatic stress. You don’t have to talk about the event. Just feel connected with others and involve yourself in social activities. Do things you would normally do, before the event.
If you think getting some compensation would help you get over your traumatic stress, you may benefit by hiring a personal injury attorney. is a fine place to give it a start.