Self-Care Tips for Trauma Survivors

Surviving abuse or trauma presents unique challenges. There’s the emotional storm, with its ups and downs, maybe flashbacks, disturbing memories, the struggle to feel good about yourself, to feel safe.

Nonetheless, you can learn to feel good about yourself and your life.

So I’ve assembled some tips and tools to help trauma and abuse survivors along this healing journey. Anybody can benefit from these tools. But I think they’re particularly important for trauma survivors.

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Mindfulness to Relieve Anxiety and Stress

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on your experience in the present moment, without judgment – just being with what is. It’s about accepting ourselves, our feelings, our experience, and knowing that we’re okay. It’s easy to believe that just because we’re experiencing difficult feelings – anger, sadness, frustration - that something is wrong and we have to make a change.  But what if it’s alright to feel whatever we feel – pleasant or unpleasant – and we’re still okay, even if it’s uncomfortable?

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Child Sexual Abuse - The Warning Signs

Since my last blog, some people have asked about the possible warning signs that a child may be being abused or is at risk. Children and adolescents may show signs they are being sexually abused. No one sign means a child was sexually abused. But if several appear, it may be time to ask questions or seek help. It’s also important to remember that some of these signs can show up as a result of other stressors in a child’s life, including parental divorce, death of someone close, or other anxiety-provoking or traumatic events.

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Inspiring Courage, #MeToo and Shining the Spotlight on Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse was in the news again last week. A parade of remarkably courageous women testified in the sentencing hearing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was convicted of sexually abusing scores of teenage and pre-teen female athletes over decades. Nassar also worked for the U.S. Olympic Committee, and his victims included Olympic Gold Medalists...Tragic though it is, this is not an unusual story...With the rise of the #MeToo movement, we’re beginning to witness just how prevalent this social epidemic really is.

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Mindfulness and Healing

Mindfulness is the art of focusing on your experience in the present moment, without judgment — just being with what is. It's about accepting ourselves, our feelings, our experience, and knowing that we're okay. Sure, sometimes our experience is uncomfortable. But it’s possible to be still in the present moment, where everything is generally ok, even when we're uncomfortable. Mindfulness can go a long way in helping to reduce stress and heal our emotional wounds.

 

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Breathe Easy for PTSD and Stress Relief

During a meditation retreat I attended, one of the teachers read a teaching in which the Buddha reminded us to "breathe easy."

It's easy to forget about our breathing. In fact most of us never think about it at all, unless we're having trouble with it. But if you pay attention to your breath, you may be surprised by how much it changes as your state of mind changes. You might also notice that you can change your state of mind by changing the way you breathe.

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Mindfulness-based Therapy for Trauma and PTSD

Anxiety and other symptoms that accompany trauma and PTSD come in many forms - from manageably low levels of agitation to high levels of stress, intrusive memories, panic attacks and flashbacks that can make life feel unmanageable. Mindfulness can be an effective tool in trauma treatment to help manage these difficult episodes, and help sufferers learn to stay grounded and recover more quickly.

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