5 Ways to Build a Positive Life After a Traumatic Event
Traumatic events such as a divorce, serious illness, the loss of a loved one or natural disasters such as bushfires – often leave a psychological hangover, long after the psychical damage or injury may have healed.
However, there can be another side to the distressing experiences that we face in life. Studies show that many people report positive psychological changes and growth that results from enduring a highly stressful event. In other words, sometimes a traumatic experience – when handled with the correct support – can trigger positive changes within our lives.
The good news is that regardless of any hardships and trauma that you may have experienced, there are ways to cope that can help you build a positive life after a stressful time:
1. Remember: Your past does not define you
Generally speaking, someone who has experienced trauma in their life is often haunted by the event for a long time afterwards. This is understandable, given the nature of what they have seen and experienced.
But always remember: your past does not have to define who you are. The human brain is very skilled at replaying events that strongly impact us – including trauma, so the key is to stay present and be mindful. Whether by prayer, study or whatever else, do what you need in order to keep your mind focused on the present.
2. Forgive yourself & others for past resentment and hurt
This can be a real challenge but forgiving others can liberate you from holding onto any bitterness and anger that’s building up inside you and allows you to replace it with something much better. The truth is that holding onto such pain and resentment has greater damage on you than it does on the person who hurt you. So release it and let all that negativity go.
3. Make time for self-care and self-love
Although you may not feel like it right now, taking good care of your mind and body is absolutely essential. Make time to cater to your mental and physical needs, even just simply by regularly exercising, eating healthy and getting enough sleep at night.
It’s much harder to handle stressful situations that we face in life if we’re physically and emotionally drained. Looking after yourself helps you to be more resilience (learn more about that here). It can also help you to recognise which tasks or activities are necessary for your wellbeing, to relax you or to soothe any negative symptoms of trauma.
4. Learn to trust life again
Dealing with a traumatic event can leave you with a sense of uncertainty and make it challenging to trust life itself again – the people, the process and the experiences. Without realising, a person who has experienced trauma may start to anticipate the worst and subconsciously start looking for signs that justified these feelings – but it’s essential to try and move past this barrier. Instead, try to reframe your mind, learn to trust in yourself again and don’t let these past wounds ruin your future.
5. Keep a close positive circle
Surrounding ourselves by loved ones and positive people is important for all of us, but it’s especially important for those who have suffered trauma. So make a commitment to stay close to those who are non-judgmental, who respect you and who will encourage your healing process.
Getting help to overcome negative thought patterns
At Positive Mind Works, we understand that following these five steps above is not straightforward and it can take some time to rebuild a positive life. If you need help to guide you back to positivity and think you might benefit from the support of an experienced Psychologist, we can help.
As an online service, we provide counselling sessions from the comfort of your own home that is strictly confidential using a secure video platform. We offer a no-obligation initial 20-minute appointment that allows you ‘test out’ our service and get to know your Psychologist.