8 Ways to Build Resilience in the Face of Trauma

Mental Health

Son hugging his father who has gone through a traumatic event

There’s no doubt that people all over the world are right now living through the most difficult times in their life. The trauma may be caused by a single unforeseen event such as coronavirus or multiple different events. In Australia, the threat of falling ill or losing a loved one to coronavirus isn’t as great as other parts of the world, but many Australians have still felt its effect on their lives.

The threat of job or business loss and reduced income, bushfires and flooding causing the loss of homes on top of daily life stressors has taken its toll. Often people don’t recognise their mental health has taken a hit at the time of a traumatic event but find it occurs later. For some, it’s the cumulative effect of multiple traumas that causes poor mental health.

Resilience is the process of adapting well in times of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or significant stress. Resilience involves behaviour, thoughts and actions that can be learned. Below are eight ways you can increase your resilience to recover from a traumatic event.

#1 Accepting What Has Happened to You

Trauma comes as a shock to many. It’s common to think bad things only happen to other people and when they find themselves in a situation they never expected, it’s difficult to cope. Some people can rebound from trauma quicker if they can accept reality and learn to live with their changed circumstance.

#2 Build your Connections

You often see people united through grief or a traumatic event. They may have nothing else in common except the event that brought them together. Sometimes talking to someone who has a shared experience helps with the recovery. You don’t feel as alone because you know others who have been through something similar to you.

Volunteering can help build self-worth and give you a sense of purpose. Connecting with people and helping others can help you grow resilience.

#3 Keep the Event in Perspective

As traumatic as the event may have been, it’s important to think of the good things you have in your life. You may have lost someone or something dear to you but you still have others that bring you joy. Look to the future and think about how you can look back on this time and be proud of the way you accepted the difficult change and focused on the circumstances that you can influence.

#4 Focus on your Relationships

The pain caused by traumatic events can cause some people to isolate themselves. But it’s important to allow your friends and family to support you through a traumatic time. Having compassionate friends by your side can support your skills in resilience. People often look back on their trauma and say their friend or family member helped them through it.

#5 Take Care of your Physical Self

Stress is a major factor in trauma and it doesn’t just play havoc on the mind, there are many physical symptoms of stress. Try to counter the stress by looking after yourself with proper nutrition and quality sleep. Getting in some daily exercise can help with anxiety and depression.

#6 Set Yourself Some Goals

Having some realistic goals can help move forward after a traumatic event. Even the smallest of accomplishments can make you feel better so start small and work your way up to larger goals. Think about one thing you can do each day that will help you move in the direction you want to go then set about achieving it.

#7 Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness can help restore hope and deal with situations that require plenty of resilience. Whether it’s journal writing, yoga, prayer or meditation, mindfulness provides the space to recall things you’re grateful for.

#8 Get Professional Help

Trauma can have long-term effects on your physical and mental health. However, there are treatments for trauma, even very serious and entrenched trauma like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Seeing a psychologist can assist you in developing a strategy for moving forward and recover from your experiences. A psychologist with experience in the treatment of trauma can help you focus on the aspects of your life that you can control, build your resilience and deliver appropriate treatment if required.

If you need help with overcoming trauma or building resilience, call PeopleSense by Altius on 1300 307 912 or contact us online.

We have psychologists with experience supporting all life events and can provide Trauma-Focussed, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These treatments are considered the Gold Standard treatment for trauma.

Category: Mental Health