Healing From Trauma: 3 Ways To Take Control

Trauma is the emotional response you have after you feel threatened. Abuse, neglect, assault, witnessing violence, extreme poverty, experiencing bigotry, living through a natural disaster, and going into combat are all traumatic experiences. Trauma is highly subjective—not everyone who goes through a traumatic event will be affected in the exact same way. Those deeply affected by trauma can experience anxiety, depression, nightmares, panic attacks, and issues communicating with others. If you’ve been living with the aftereffects of trauma, you might not know where to turn. Here are three concrete steps you can take to regain control over your life.

1. Start practicing mindfulness

woman closed eyes

Meditation and mindfulness practices are scientifically proven to be beneficial for your mental health. But to really see improvements in your day-to-day, it’s important to be consistent. For many people, mindfulness doesn’t always come easy. To get started, find a quiet space to relax in. Breathe deeply, and pay attention to your five senses. You might notice the warmth of the sun on your skin, the room’s aromas, or the sounds of birds outside the window. Allow your emotions to simply exist without judging them. For example, if you’re anxious, nervous, or agitated, don’t berate yourself for feeling this way. Just being able to name the emotions as they come up is an important step in emotional regulation. By taking just a few minutes out of each day to get in touch with your feelings and sensations, you’ll be better able to control your emotional reactions and become more resilient in the face of stressors.

2. Build a support system

Don’t suffer alone. While it’s important to be wary of trauma dumping on others, talking to a few trusted loved ones can help ease your burdens. Once you’ve accepted the experience and your reactions to it, you can let others into your headspace. You don’t need to tell them every detail of your trauma. Rather, you might say you’ve been having a hard time coping with what happened, or that you’re experiencing a lot of anxiety. Let them know the best ways to support you, which might include avoiding triggering topics or just meeting up regularly to chat. You can also consider joining a support group for people who have experienced the same or similar traumatic events. Whether they’re in-person or online, meeting other people who have gone through what you’re struggling with can be empowering and validating.

3. Take care of your mind and body

You shouldn’t underestimate the power of healthy lifestyle choices and self-care. Make sure you’re eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid eating out too much. Prioritize preparing meals that are nourishing for your body. Get into some kind of regular exercise, whether that means working out at the gym, doing yoga at home, or walking in the park. Any physical activity is better than no physical activity! Don’t forget to do things that make you happy. Take up that painting class you’ve always wanted to do, redecorate your bedroom so that it’s a personal sanctuary, or spend your weekends out of town. Practicing self-care gets you in touch with what you want and develops your sense of identity.

How to begin healing from trauma

For most people, fully healing from trauma isn’t possible on their own. Reach out to a therapist today to begin your healing journey. Look for a therapist who specializes in a trauma-focused therapy, such as:

  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT)
  • narrative exposure therapy (NET)
  • cognitive processing therapy (CPT)

With a trauma-informed therapist, you’ll develop a sense of agency, take back your personal narrative, and begin to feel safe again.

To find out more about how trauma therapy can work for you, please reach out to us.

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at Ammirati Counseling
Terri A. Ammirati, LCPC, has 25+ years of clinical experience. She is a Certified Gottman Therapist and presents Gottman's "The Art and Science of Love" couples workshop.

Terri specializes in empowering clients to strengthen their relationships. She works with all aspects of relational distress and provides solution-focused therapy.
Terri A. Ammirati