The following is a guest post from DiosRaw.com. Please check out her website if you would like to read more of her posts.
After a traumatic experience we can feel like we are going crazy, a weight of devastation presses us down as if the pain will never stop. Trauma impacts everyone in different ways and the symptoms of this trauma can be endless.
Today I am going to offer some tips on ways to quieten the voice in your head after trauma.
What is the voice in your head?
Also referred to as “internal dialogue,” “the voice inside your head,” or an “inner voice,” your internal monologue is the result of certain brain mechanisms that cause you to “hear” yourself talk in your head without actually speaking and forming sounds.
Tips on quieting the inner voice after trauma when it gets too loud:
- Community. Find a community of people who are going through the same experiences as you who can make you feel understood and not alone. We are primal creatures that need people to bond with. Over and over again, research has found that finding support from others can be a major factor in helping people overcome the negative effects of a traumatic event and PTSD. Having someone you trust that you can talk to can be very helpful for working through stressful situations or for emotional validation.
- Meditation. The power of meditation thrusts survivors directly into the heart of wounds that often require more than mindful awareness to heal. Yet mindfulness is also a valuable asset for trauma survivors.
- Yoga. Known to benefit the mind as well as the body, yoga has been proven beneficial for addressing stress, trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction recovery, and even personal growth.
- Validate Your Experience. What you have experienced is real and distressing. Having the name or context of traumatic stress/PTSD lets you know that how you feel is not your fault. There is nothing “wrong” with you. What you’re going through is actually a normal response to abnormal experiences. It’s important to remind yourself of this as you go through challenging symptoms because self-validation is an important part of healing.
- Laughter. Humour is medicine, when you laugh you release endorphins which can help smother your pain with a soothing sensation. Laughter boosts your immune system and rewires your brain. Find things that make you laugh, watch a humorous youtube video or talk to the friend that always makes you smile.
- Focusing on what gives your life meaning. Are you a writer? Write. Are you an artist? Create art. Does bringing up your child give you meaning? Do something fun with your daughter or son. Do you feel you have no meaning in life? Research into spirituality and see what insights you find.
- Breathing techniques. It may sound unusual, but many people do not breathe properly. Natural breathing involves your diaphragm, a large muscle in your abdomen. When you breathe in, your belly should expand. When you breathe out, your belly should fall. Over time, people forget how to breathe this way and instead use their chest and shoulders. This causes short and shallow breaths, which can increase stress and anxiety. Fortunately, it is quite possible to re-learn how to breathe deeply from your diaphragm and help protect yourself from stress. Practice simple deep breathing exercises to improve your breathing and combat anxiety. I use the method of 4-8-4, breathe in for 4 seconds, hold the breathe for 8 seconds and then release for 4 seconds and release.
- Knowing you are not alone. There are millions of us who have gone through traumatic experiences, I am one voice of many. Try and find support groups, like-minded souls and online support to aid you on your healing journey.
- Nothing lasts forever. Change is the only constant, all things will pass eventually. Time is one of the biggest healers.
- Self-monitoring. This can be a helpful way of getting a handle on your anxiety symptoms. We are all creatures of habit. We often go about our day without thinking, being unaware of much that goes on around us. This may be useful in some situations, but other times, this lack of awareness may make us feel as though our thoughts and emotions are completely unpredictable and unmanageable. We cannot really address uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety without first being aware of what situations bring up these feelings. Self-monitoring is a simple way of increasing this awareness.
- Journaling. To cope with and express your thoughts and feelings, journaling (also called expressive writing) can be a good way of coping with anxiety. Expressive writing has been found to improve physical and psychological health. In PTSD in particular, expressive writing has been found to have a number of benefits, including improved coping, post-traumatic growth (the ability to find meaning in and have positive life changes following a traumatic event), and reduced PTSD symptoms of tension and anger. Make use of your suffering and write a masterpiece.
- Research into spirituality. Start reading up on spirituality, find different concepts and ideas which can help put your trauma into perspective. Having trust in an intelligent universal consciousness helps tremendously.
Thank you all for reading this post; hopefully it helped aid you and filled up your tool kit with coping mechanisms for quieting the voice in your head after trauma. Always remember, you are not alone!
“There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away.” – Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
“We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.” – S. Kelley Harrell, Gift of the Dreamtime – Reader’s Companion
Let me know how this post helped you below!