When bad things happen, it can take a while to heal from the pain. But this doesn’t mean that you have to sit and wait to feel better. There are things you can do to speed up the healing process and help yourself feel safe again. Some people are able to do this on their own, while others need some help.
Breathe Life Healing Centers is a place of healing, support, acceptance and love. While we are known for treating substance use disorders and eating disorders, we also treat a wide range of mental health conditions such as PTSD, depression and anxiety. We get to the root of the problem so that our clients walk away with a healthy foundation.
Below are four of the best ways to help yourself heal from psychological and emotional trauma. We will focus on these four healing strategies during your time at our trauma treatment center in Los Angeles.
1. Repair Your Nervous System
Trauma disrupts your body’s natural equilibrium, trapping you in a cycle of hyperarousal and fear. To break this cycle and repair your nervous system, staying active is key. Physical activity allows you to burn off adrenaline and release feel-good endorphins that reduce pain and boost the mood.
If you’re not used to exercising, you can gradually ease into this process. Start by walking for 30 minutes a day most days of the week. You can even break this up into three 10-minute walks if it’s easier. As you get more used to exercising each day, you’ll feel more comfortable expanding into other activities like swimming or cycling.
Over time, you can also add a mindfulness element. Instead of focusing on your thoughts, pay attention to your body and how it feels as you move. Do you feel your shoes touching the ground? Do you feel the warm sun on your face? This is a great way to become aware of your surroundings.
2. Maintain Healthy Relationships
Don’t spend too much time alone when you’re healing from psychological and emotional trauma. Right now, more than ever, you need to feel connected to others. And the only way to do this is by giving others a chance to show you that you are safe with them.
To avoid spending too much time alone, make sure you stay open to trying new activities. If you’re not much of a reader, but someone invites you to a book club, give it a try! You never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll grow to love.
Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy support network:
- Reconnect with old friends. Maybe you had some great friendships at one time, but you retreated away from them due to trauma or substance use. Make an effort to reconnect with them.
- Participate in social activities. Take every opportunity to do “normal” activities, even if you don’t want to. Participating in these activities can help you find new interests and meet new people.
- Ask for support. Don’t hesitate to ask for support. You don’t have to talk about the trauma, but it’s still important to feel accepted and cared for. Even those close to you may not recognize your need for support, so be upfront.
- Join a support group. Join a support group for trauma survivors. Together, you can work through similar problems, such as fear of isolation. It helps to connect with others who understand what you’re going through.
- Volunteer. Helping others is a great way to fill your time and make a difference in the world. It stops you from feeling helpless in a tumultuous world, and it helps you recognize your strengths and talents.
- Make new friends. You should also work on making new friendships with people who share similar interests as you. Being open to new activities, taking classes or joining clubs will introduce you to new people.
3. Self-Regulate Your Nervous System
Even when you’re feeling anxious or agitated, it’s important to know that you have control over your responses. This will help you relieve the anxiety associated with your trauma, as well as calm you down in the moment.
Here are some ways to help you self-regulate your nervous system:
- Practice mindful breathing
- Engage your senses (i.e., pet a dog, light a scented candle)
- Allow yourself to feel
- Turn on your favorite music
- Take a cold shower
- Practice stress management
- Speak to your therapist
4. Practice Good Self Care
To round out the healing process, make sure that you are taking good care of your mental and physical health. Having a healthy body makes it easier to cope with trauma and stress. The foundation of good self care includes the following:
- Eat healthy foods. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day will keep you feeling full and energized. Avoid sugary and fried foods. Try to cook most of your meals so that you know what’s going into them.
- Get enough rest. You should be sleeping at least 7-9 hours a night. A lack of sleep can worsen your trauma symptoms and make it harder to regulate your emotions. If you’re having trouble sleeping, ⦁ follow these tips from⦁ the National Sleep Foundation.
- Reduce stress. Try relaxation techniques, like meditation or yoga, to reduce your stress levels. Also be sure to schedule time for your favorite activities.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol might seem like they provide a quick fix to your pain, but they can actually worsen your symptoms and lead to depression or anxiety. Avoid self-medicating with these substances.
You Can Recover From Complex Trauma
These four tips will help you heal from psychological and emotional trauma. Remember that healing takes time and occurs on many levels. For help with this process, contact Breathe Life Healing Centers. We are here for you, and we can help you start or continue your journey to healing from complex trauma.