Bad things happen to good people. It’s a fact of life. One of the most extraordinary things about human beings is our capacity for resilience in the face of trauma. Miraculous survival and recovery are not occasional happenings in the world. Every day, someone survives a tragedy. Every day, someone takes another step toward a happier life despite a past trauma. Every day, life goes on, and we adjust. And we are stronger for it.
The suggestions in this section, once again, are not substitutes for professional psychiatric care. However, many people have found self-help effective for relieving the stress of trauma and taking control of themselves. Whether you choose to seek professional help or embark on a healing path yourself, know that you can break free and begin to live again when tragedy touches you. You don’t have to let trauma keep you from achieving what you want out of life.
You can choose just one, or any combination of these techniques to work on freeing yourself from trauma. If you are uncomfortable with an approach, move on to another selection.
“It Could Be Worse”: Dramatization and Awareness
For mild trauma, sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. If you are able to look at the situation objectively, you may be able to “laugh it off,” or at least arm yourself with enough knowledge to realize you had it easy.
There are two ways to approach this method. The first is to simply use your imagination. Picture the trauma, and then imagine all the ways in which it could have been worse. For example, if you have a checking account, you may have bounced a check, ended up having to pay a fee to the bank and had to postpone paying one of your bills or go without something you planned to purchase.
Now, imagine what might have happened if you bounced multiple checks. You might have had to put off several payments. The snowball effect could have caused you to lose your car, or have your power shut off. Your bills could have spiraled out of control, eventually leaving you homeless.* When you imagine the worst, it’s easier to put setbacks into perspective.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Sir Winston Churchill
Don’t stop until you make it out the other side!