Not everyone who experience an emotional trauma is scarred by it. The human psyche has amazing capacity for recovery and even growth. Recovering from an emotionally traumatic experience demands that the painful emotions are thoroughly processed.
Trauma feelings cannot be forgotten or repressed. In case they are not faced directly, the distressing feelings and troubling events replay over and over, creating a condition, which is known as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Whatever inner resources a person has to mobilize in order to recover, he or she still cannot accomplish the task alone. Trauma, just like depression, is disconnective disorder. It doesn’t improve in isolation and in order to fix it you have to be connected to others. Direct experience with disasters ranging from hurricanes and earthquakes to war and terrorism has taught us that there are several methods in recovering from a profound stress. Here are 5 methods to help you heal emotional trauma.
Let go of rejection
Rejection activates the same pathways as physical pain. This is the reason why it hurts so much. The feeling of rejection plays with your innate need to belong, and is very distressing that it interferes with your ability to make decisions, recall memories and think. When you let go of painful rejections, you will improve your mental health.
When you ruminate over a past hurt, your memories only become increasingly distressing and cause more anger, without any new insights. Although reflecting on a painful event may help you to reach a closure or understanding about it, ruminating just increases you levels of stress, and may actually be addictive. Ruminating about painful incident can also increase the levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation in your body that is linked to cardiovascular disease.
Turn failure into something positive
In case you feel helpless after a failure, or blame it on bad luck or on your lack of ability, it is likely to lower your self-esteem. Blaming a failure on a specific factor within your control like execution or even planning, is likely to be less damaging, however, even better is focusing on ways you can be better prepared or informed so you can succeed next time.
Make guilt useful
Guilt can actually be beneficial, since it may stop you from doing something which can harm other people. However, guilt which is excessive may impair your ability to focus and enjoy life. In case you are still feeling guilt after apologizing, make sure you have expressed empathy toward them and conveyed that you understand how your actions influenced them. This will probably lead to forgiveness and relief of your guilty feelings.
Positive affirmations are great tools for emotional health. However, if they fall outside the boundaries of someone’s beliefs, they can be ineffective. This can be the case for those with low self-esteem, for whom self-affirmations can be more useful. People can use self-affirmations in order to reinforce positive qualities they believe they have, as can making a list of their best qualities.