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  • Dr. Angela Hargrow

Healing In The Aftermath of A Traumatic Event

Mass shootings and terrorism seem to be flooding our news coverage lately.


These tragic and traumatic events change the lives of so many people directly affected by acts of terror. And, for the rest of society, the impact of these events can really take a toll on your mental wellness.


Secondary trauma can occur from indirect exposure to trauma through a firsthand account or narrative of a traumatic event. Seeing, hearing, and reading about these horrible tragedies can deeply affect people even from miles away. This is why it’s so important to do a personal assessment to evaluate your wellness. Here’s what to do…


Review Your Support System


When you’re feeling stressed, sad, or just having a bad day- where do you turn for help? Our support systems and coping mechanisms are essential to our overall health and wellness. We can’t deal with challenging times alone. Take a moment to review your support system. And, if you can’t identify healthy ways to cope, it’s time to ask for help.


The immediate focus for people should be less on trying to understand why and more on support, expressing our feelings and emotions and being there for each other. Having a supportive network of family and friends can be extremely helpful to process traumatic events.


Practice Gratitude


The attitude of gratitude can have a major impact on your health and happiness. It’s scientifically proven that gratitude can help in the quest for happiness. Each day, take a personal inventory of all you have to be thankful for. Give freely and welcome joy through volunteering. There are so many ways you can boost your happiness by developing an attitude of gratitude.


Identify Symptoms


If you catch yourself replaying the events over and over in your mind. If you start avoiding situations. If you have nightmares and trouble sleeping. If you experience an array of emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt and depression. If you are easily startled. If you lose interest in activities you usually enjoy.


These are all symptoms to take seriously following trauma. Most importantly, remember that everyone handles trauma differently. It’s OK to not be OK but it’s essential to seek help when acute stress strikes. We’re here for you!

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