Traumatic events can occur at any time in life. Many people live for decades without experiencing any catastrophes, only to encounter a terrible event or dreadful instance in their 30s, 40s, or beyond.
The problem with trauma is that it sticks around. The mind adopts a hypervigilant response, designed to help the sufferer survive.
Unfortunately, this response can lead to a lot of pain and suffering.
The good news is that psychologists now believe that there is a reliable path out of trauma. If you decide to walk it, it can help you leave negative things in the past where they belong and focus exclusively on the things that are going right in your life.
Step 1: Preconditions
Some people are more prone to trauma than others. People with open mindsets tend to be less susceptible to trauma than those who are more closed off to the world or set in their ways. If your general state of being is blissful and happy before a traumatic event occurs, it is less likely that it will have a lasting impact on you.
Step 2: Rumination
The next step involves ruminating about the event, or constantly replaying what happened in your mind. The brain does this as an adaptation to what happened, trying to prevent it from happening again. However, the experience can be profoundly negative. People report having intrusive thoughts and memories at this stage that won’t leave them alone even when they try to go to sleep at night. They spend their time thinking about what happened to them, instead of concentrating on their work or the people around them.
Step 3: Taking Stock
Eventually, the immediate need to ruminate starts to subside and the person with trauma starts to see how central a particular event was in their life. They start seeing how it changed them, and how it forged them into the person that they are right now.
Step 4: Control
When this happens, the person starts to consider how they might control the situation. For instance, if they hurt themselves at work, they might approach a personal injury law firm to find out whether they can get compensation for what happened.
This control begins small but it is the foundation of the steps that the person must take to regain mastery over their minds and cope with the trauma they are experiencing. They begin to separate the trauma from their character and mind, creating a distance that lets them deal with the problem head-on.
Step 5: Mastery
Mastery occurs when the trauma victim manages to successfully adjust to their post-trauma life. Often, full recovery requires taking a different perspective on existence. Many people report a sense of letting themselves go after a terrible event, trying to scrub away the ego and embrace a broader type of consciousness.
Others find solace in management. Instead of dealing with the crux of the issue, the ego itself, they concentrate on improving their coping skills so that they can manage traumatic pain better.