A person’s trauma is a highly impactful part of their life. Though some feel it is an unbeatable force, healing from trauma is possible. Mental health professionals can help guide the way, and there is plenty a person can do to improve their symptoms at home. Healing from trauma takes time, persistence, and optimism, but when someone achieves their goal, the reward is worth the work.
What Is Trauma?
On the outside, traumas differ tremendously. Over time, a person can experience childhood trauma from a significant history of intense sexual trauma, abuse, and neglect. Or another person could have trauma stemming from a previous car accident. Others could have a traumatic response from an unhealthy relationship or a failing score on an exam that was traumatizing.
Whatever causes it, trauma is comprised of three parts – the event, the experience of the event, and the effect of the event moving forward.2
The three parts of the traumatic experience are as follows:2
- The Traumatic Event(s) – Circumstances that create physical, mental, or emotional harm to an individual. Some people may offer a more inclusive definition of a traumatic event. Still, professionals usually carry the standard that a person must be in or have witnessed a life-threatening event.
- The Experience of the Event – Two people can experience the same event in two completely different ways based on their context and history. Getting caught in a flood can be experienced as trauma and a great adventure to another.
- The Events Impact On Life – Traumas leave lasting impressions on the people involved. They can impact a person’s mental, physical, and overall well-being.
Trauma can lead to various mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, and addiction, making daily life difficult. People can struggle to eat well, sleep, and enjoy being around loved ones.3 Taking steps to address your response to your experience can give you a new perspective on life, free from the hold trauma can have on your life.
Is It Possible to Heal From Trauma?
Without a doubt, a person can heal from trauma, but healing from trauma is not like recovering from a physical injury. If someone gets a cut on their finger, time is all that is needed to heal the wound. Healing from trauma is a different process. A person with trauma must be actively engaged in their healing and recovery. If someone takes a passive role, their symptoms could stay unchanged or worsen over time. This process takes even more time to unhinge the embedded effect when healing from childhood trauma.
10 Tips On How to Heal Trauma
The path toward recovery from trauma is not universal. People will need to find their directions through experimentation and guidance from trained professionals.
Frequently, the best way to heal from trauma is to seek the treatment of mental health professionals. A therapist can offer sound interventions to minimize your symptoms and develop your support. But a person should also work to supplement the effects of professional treatment at home.
Along the way, someone should consider utilizing healthy coping skills like:1,2,3,4,5
1. Acknowledge the Event
Following a traumatic situation, people may be reluctant to believe the situation transpired. They slip into a state of denial and act like nothing significant has happened in their life.
Without acknowledging the significance of the situation, the person cannot begin healing. Take time as needed to retrace the trauma steps and consider the situation’s events. Undoubtedly, doing so will be uncomfortable, but healing cannot come without discomfort.
2. Accept Support
People who downplay the event may push away the support and compassion of others. They may think that the trauma does not impact them or that they already have all the skills to manage the effects effectively.
Pushing away support could be a significant mistake for people healing from trauma. Just because someone does well at the beginning does not mean they will do well through the end.
Asking for additional help and support is always a great idea. This support can come in the form of:
- Your Partner
- Mental Health Professionals
- Religious Professionals
- Support Group Members
- Online Support Groups
Other people may struggle to know what to do with this support system. In that case, people should feel free to be vulnerable, be honest, and encourage their loved ones to take the lead and guide the process.
3. Practice Self-Care
Someone accepting support from others is crucial, and being able to tolerate supporting themselves is essential. Practicing effective self-care can help someone prioritize their needs and focus on recovery from trauma.
Self-care will appear different for different people, but it will all center around the theme of the person looking after their needs and wants. Self–care, done in moderation, can provide the opportunity for healing as it balances the pain of trauma.
Practicing emotional self-care can include:
- Taking a long bath
- Listening to music
- Watching a loved movie
- Getting a massage
- Eating a nice meal
4. Focus On Your Physical Health
When your mental health is under assault from trauma, a person needs to devote energy and resources to their psychological well-being. Still, they cannot neglect their physical health. How one feels physically can significantly impact how one feels mentally.
To improve physical health, a person can focus on their diet, physical activity, and sleep schedule as follows:
- Eating healthy food will give someone the energy to find the motivation to accomplish goals.
- Exercise offers many mental health benefits, including improved mood and lower anxiety.
- Restful sleep can restore the mind and recharge a person’s battery for the next day.
5. Practice Mindfulness or Meditation
The stress and anxiety of trauma can be well-treated with various types of meditation and mindfulness. Both practices can be challenging and uncomfortable at first, but if a person can stick to a routine, they can find new levels of relaxation.
Meditations may encourage users to clear their minds or fill them with happy or inspiring thoughts. Some may incorporate specific body movements, while others will only focus on adjusting anxious thoughts.
A person could even experiment with meditation apps. Perhaps one of these options can provide a much-needed source of calm, peace, and comfort.
6. Do Something Fun & Creative Each Day
In the aftermath of trauma, people may not feel like doing or even considering anything fun. They are often caught in a cycle of sadness, anxiety, and shame. Falling victim to this experience is a problem, though. Stepping outside their comfort zone and engaging in fun activities is a great way to heal from trauma.
Going to new places, having new experiences, and trying foods you’ve never had with loved ones are excellent remedies for trauma. Fun can be a welcome distraction from the day’s stress and provide a new perspective. Creative and expressive activities may provide a way to communicate uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Drawing, singing, and dancing are all great forms of expression.
7. Avoid Addictions
Traumas are intensely negative experiences, and since the impact is so significant, people frequently look for quick and easy solutions to feel better quickly. Because of this, some resort to alcohol and substance use to cope.
If they are sad and using substances can make them happy, they may think the process is appropriate. Of course, alcohol and other drugs, like other negative coping skills, only give a short-term solution to the long-term problem of trauma.
Other negative coping skills that you should avoid include:
- Overspending or shopping excessively
- Binge eating
- Indulging in unsafe safe
- Exercising to an extreme
Searching for balance with coping skills is always crucial. Any healthy coping skills taken to an extreme become negative. If you notice addictive tendencies, it can be helpful to use addiction recovery apps.
8. Get Back Into Your Routine
Undoubtedly, trauma can leave a monumental impact on every aspect of life. Thoughts, actions, and feelings will all be changed. Some might feel far removed from any previous schedule or routine if they change too much.
Think back to pre-trauma life and reflect on the typical routine and how the schedules worked. Returning to old habits can help make a person feel grounded and safe. There is always room for changes and improvements, but returning to familiar everyday activities can maintain the healing process.
9. Journal Your Experience
So many benefits stem from journaling for mental health. This practice can help the process of healing from trauma as well.
There is no “right” way to journal, so people should feel free to experiment with options that suit their needs. Journaling can involve extended explorations into every thought and feeling, help you identify your trauma triggers, or journaling can only be a brief reflection of daily events.
For people new to the practice, journaling can seem uncomfortable or confusing, like other healthy coping skills. It could make symptoms seem worse instead of better. In the end, sticking with journaling can give someone better insight and understanding of their life, needs, and trauma.
It can be helpful to use journal prompts to get you started guiding you on how best to share feelings of anxiety and depression.
10. Don’t Rush the Process
To successfully heal from trauma, a person should never try to rush the process, take shortcuts, or ignore their problems completely. Healing is a process. It takes time. It takes patience and understanding from the person and other important people in their life.
Part of not rushing the process involves understanding that healing from trauma does not happen in a straight line. There will be successes, and there will be setbacks. This cycle of accomplishment and fallbacks is typical and expected.
When bad days or weeks come, people should work to remind themselves to stay calm, positive, and persistent. As long as the person continues engaging in positive coping skills and avoiding negative coping skills, success is possible.
No matter the source, the event, or the experience, trauma is a powerful force in a person’s life. Fortunately, experts know how to address and treat the symptoms in a professional setting. If you are unsure about seeing a therapist, there are ways to find a therapist that are just right for you. Plus, there are fantastic online therapist directories to help you find someone who meets all of your needs. Outside of treatment alone, following these tips and tools can help people maximize their healing and take another step towards being free of their trauma.
For Further Reading
- Phases of Trauma Recovery
- Trauma Healing Institute
- Supporting Trauma Recovery
- 10 Best PTSD & Trauma Books
- Post Traumatic Growth: Finding Meaning After Trauma
- Secondary Trauma: Definition, Causes, & How to Cope
- 14 Signs of Repressed Childhood Trauma in Adults
- Survivor’s Guilt: Why It Happens & 7 Ways to Cope
- Traumatic Grief: How to Cope & When to Get Help
- The 7 Stages of Trauma Bonding