Recovery following a traumatic event is a journey that hinges on the cultivation of healthy habits. These habits wield a profound influence on our overall well-being and can help us regain control over our lives. In the aftermath of trauma, it's imperative to be attuned to our body's reactions, as they can often manifest as ingrained behavioral patterns.
Emotional Flooding and Its Impact:
The aftermath of trauma can be marked by a phenomenon known as emotional flooding. This surge of intense emotions can trigger the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, giving rise to physical sensations that impede our access to customary calming mechanisms. In these moments, extreme reactions and irrational thinking may prevail, complicating our ability to manage stress or conflict. Feelings of sadness or emotional numbness may descend upon us, and the "fight or flight" response can foster anxiety, sleep disturbances, hypervigilance, and challenges in executing daily tasks.
If you find yourself entangled in the throes of an overactive sympathetic nervous system, rest assured that there are a multitude of techniques at your disposal. These encompass practices such as controlled breathing, yoga, meditation, gratitude exercises, journaling, physical activity, herbal remedies, and maintaining a balanced diet. Opting for wholesome dietary choices while steering clear of excessive sugar can bolster gut flora and contribute to mental well-being. Nurturing sound sleep habits is pivotal for mood regulation and emotional balance, with experts advocating a minimum of seven hours of nightly slumber and a reduction in caffeine intake. Exposure to natural daylight can further enhance mood and sleep quality.
Crafting Coping Strategies:
The journey toward healing requires a diverse toolkit of coping strategies. Deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, setting boundaries, self-soothing practices, taking moments of respite, and introspection are all valuable tools in managing the "fight or flight" response. A harmonious blend of medical treatments and natural remedies can effectively regulate the nervous system, fostering holistic well-being.
Embracing Support and Self-Compassion:
In the aftermath of trauma, feelings of fear, anxiety, or anger are not only natural but also understandable. During this challenging period, seeking support and affording oneself the gift of time to recover are vital steps on the path to healing.
Above: a patient at our Nashville clinic.