What is Trauma?

Survivors: Stronger Than Ever

If someone is having a hard time coping, it’s likely they experienced a traumatic event at some point in their life. Trauma is unique to each individual, but it can include:

  • Interpersonal violence such as abuse, domestic violence and bullying
  • Social violence such as war, terrorism and living under oppressive political regimes
  • Natural disasters and accidents such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and auto crashes
  • Chronic social stressors such as racism, poverty, humiliation and cultural dislocation
  • Childhood trauma such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect

People can also be traumatized if they witness distressing situations, and it can cycle from generation to generation if not stopped.

Trauma has lasting emotional ramifications – and studies have shown that even if the trauma did not inflict physical wounds, it can manifest itself in physical ways – anything from chronic diseases to a shorter lifespan. This impact makes trauma a public health issue.

learn more about being trauma-informed

Building Resiliency

Everyone is born resilient. Even more so, anyone can learn to adapt better, bounce back stronger and rebound heathier than ever.

It’s not an easy thing to rebuild after trauma, and it’s a different journey for every individual. But with the right amount of support, time and hope, survival is not only possible, it’s within sight.

11 Ways to Encourage Resilience in Yourself

1. Maintain close connections with people. Healthy relationships with family and friends means that you have a support system that you can lean on when you feel stress or pain.

2. Think of yourself in a positive light. Try to silence your inner critic and instead listen to your inner cheerleader.

3. Your new mantra: I am resilient. You are not a victim, you are a survivor.

4. Trust yourself. Believe in your strength, your abilities and your instincts.

5. Give yourself control. Develop realistic, meaningful goals, and take decisive actions toward accomplishing them (and celebrate every small victory!).

6. Ask for help. There is no shame in admitting you don’t have all the answers.

7. Find healthy coping mechanisms. Make good choices and take care of yourself.

8. Help others. Your experiences and advice might be the perfect thing someone else needs to hear, and your support might mean the world to someone.

9. Accept change. Think about what you can control, and what is out of your control.

10. Exude optimism. Maintaining a hopeful outlook can help train your brain to not get bogged down in negativity.

11. Dig deep. Find out what is meaningful to you and compare that with how you spend your time. Identify ways you can continue to heal, like daily meditation, gentle yoga, creating art or listening to music.

“Traumatic events challenge an individual’s view of the world as a just, safe and predictable place. Traumas that are caused by human behavior commonly have more psychological impact than those caused by nature.”

— American Psychological Association, APA Dictionary of Psychology

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