After experiencing trauma, coming back to confidence and peacefulness can feel overwhelming. Trauma can often separate us from feeling good in our bodies and minds, but there are ways to counter those feelings.
Here are five effective tips for regaining confidence after trauma:
- Seek therapeutic help
- Build a support system
- Establish a “new normal”
- Move your body in trauma-friendly ways
- Make peace with your experiences
By following these five tips, you have the chance to change your life around; you don’t have to be a victim. Read on to learn more about how you can become confident after experiencing trauma.
Seek Therapeutic Help
One of the most important steps in the process of recovering from trauma is to get professional help as soon as you possibly can. This means finding someone who has the education, skills, and experience of dealing with mental health issues such as trauma. By getting professional help from a psychologist, therapist, or counselor, you are giving yourself the opportunity to heal and effectively process what you’ve just experienced.
If you have suffered a violent event, there is a large chance that you may be experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Once known as “shell-shock” and considered just a veteran’s disorder, it’s now widely understood that PTSD can affect victims of abuse just as severely as victims of military combat. There are many options for getting professional help for dealing with trauma.
The first step is to find a therapist who is trauma-informed, meaning that they have sought training specifically to help them with patients who suffer from PTSD. PsychologyToday.com is a helpful resource for locating therapists near you who have this certification.
If you aren’t able to go to a local therapist’s office, you can also attend therapy sessions online. TalkSpace is a website that allows patients to have sessions with licensed professions in the comfort of their own homes. This is a great option if you are housebound, dealing with social anxiety, or if you have a disability.
Build a Support System
After a traumatic experience, it’s crucial to have a group of people that you can rely on. Having a licensed professional on your team is great, but it’s also important to have peers and relatives that can help you through this hard time. Consider who are your most important loved ones. This can be your mother, father, siblings, or closest friends. Make sure you identify these people and reach out to them.
In a study conducted in the Netherlands, it has been proven that people who have strong social bonds have a quicker recovery time than those without them. This research shows that when people have support systems available to them after a traumatic experience, they have a greater chance at recovery than those who do not have a support system.
After experiencing trauma, rally together your closest friends and family members. Be very honest with them in expressing that you need support and, if necessary, ask them to take on tasks for you like helping around the house and organizing appointments. With help from loved ones, it will be easier to regain confidence and get back to self-sufficiency.
Establish a “New Normal”
When it comes to traumatic experiences, you must understand that life may not be the same for a very long time. As a result of some traumatic events, the brain chemistry may change, directly affecting your moods and the way you see the world. It has been proven that PTSD has the ability to negatively affect memory and cognition.
With the help of a professional, you may discover that the world feels different now than it did before the trauma. This feeling can lead to a lack of confidence and serious depression. However, you don’t need to despair. There is hope for you. Deep distress is a normal, sane, human response to trauma and doesn’t have to last forever.
When dealing with trauma and PTSD, you will likely feel that tasks that were once easy have now become difficult. Certain sounds and sensations may trigger a reaction or flashback, which can be an incredibly stressful experience. To establish a new normal, you’ll need the help of your support system. Notice what has changed about your life and do the best you can to adapt to this new way of living; it doesn’t have to be negative.
Move Your Body in Trauma-Friendly Ways
Especially if the trauma you experienced was related to your body, it’s crucial to find ways to reclaim your bodily autonomy through movement. Consider what forms of movement you enjoyed before you experienced trauma. Did dancing make you feel liberated? Was yoga a helpful form of stress relief?
You’ll be glad to know that there are specific styles of dance and yoga that are trauma-sensitive. What makes a dance or yoga class “trauma-sensitive” are the cues and language used during the class, as well as the techniques taught.
When you attend a trauma-sensitive yoga class, for example, you won’t have any demanding instructions for postures or any postures that will make you feel particularly vulnerable. There also won’t be any hands-on adjustments in trauma-sensitive yoga classes.
Bodywork has the potential to give you an outlet for self-expression that doesn’t trigger you. You can move, breathe, and explore consciousness in profound ways just through dance or yoga. Your teachers will be sure to warn you about any music or sounds they play or make during class, and you won’t have to close your eyes at any time.
Make Peace With Your Experiences
This is another step that will likely require the help of a trained professional. Once you have established your new normal, it’s time to consider making peace with your experiences. Though the effects of trauma may last a very long time, it’s also possible to help soothe your mourning and loss through practices of peace.
One of the practices that can be beneficial to people suffering from trauma is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness is the idea that finding peace is only as difficult as being present. This can take the form of a traditional seated meditation or can simply be a moment of observation on a busy day. In a study conducted on veterans, signs were shown that mindfulness meditation has the ability to help heal the brain from posttraumatic stress disorder.
Talk with your therapist or counselor about utilizing mindfulness as a means of healing from trauma. By learning how to make peace with the present moment, you gain the potential to make peace with the past and gain a better understanding of how to make the future just a little bit brighter.
Regaining confidence after trauma may seem daunting, but with the right tools, you have the potential to change the way you feel, think, and live. The first thing you should do to regain confidence after a traumatic event is to seek help from a qualified professional. He or she will help you gain stability so that you can re-organize your life.
Build up a support system that can help you achieve a “new normal.” You might need more help now than you did before the trauma, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live a good life. Take time to move your body in ways that feel empowering, and work to make peace with the past.
I hope these tips help you find more confidence in a potentially dark time. Remember that there are brighter days ahead and that you are not your past.
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- Psychology Today: “Is Your Therapist ‘Trauma-Informed’? (And Why It Matters)”
- Wikipedia: Posttraumatic stress disorder
- TalkSpace: “Benefits of TalkSpace”
- European Journal of Psychotraumatology: “Bonding after trauma: on the role of social support and the oxytocin system in traumatic stress”
- Dialogues in clinical neuroscience: “Traumatic stress: effects on the brain”
- Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga
- Mindful.org: “The Science of Trauma, Mindfulness, and PTSD”