Life is a struggle, a joy, and repeated tests. The hard time, what I call “Life Blows” and the mental health experts speak of as trauma, remain the most challenging.
Once while riding the subway in NYC, a homeless man entered, ranting and raving, making rat-a-tat sounds between his words. Others scurried to move away from him and that left the seat next to me vacant.
Because of my mental health training, I suspected he was reenacting a trauma and instead of scurrying as he sat next to me, I asked , “Not a good morning?”
He said, “Going to my support group and to see my doctor, doctor. Things will get better.”
Between the “rat-a-tat-tats” We had a normal conversation. He was a veteran, knew he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but could not control the hallucinations. He hoped a change of medication would help. I hope it did.
I worked with one young man who was suicidal and no one really understood why. What emerged as we talked was the fact that a younger brother had died several years agon at home during an asthma attack. The family thought it best not to discuss the death once the brother had been buried.
The boy I was treating, felt he had caused his brother’s death, he had been teasing his brother shortly before the attack occurred. When the family all gathered and talked about the death and then made a memory book recalling the death and the good times, the older brother’s suicidal depression lifted.
Emotional Fitness Training Tips
Tip one: Know what constitutes a trauma. It is generally defined as an event that if frighting, painful in which you feel helpless and out of control. It is easy to see that wars, street crime, accidents that leave you maimed or a loved one dead, being raped are easily recognized as sources of trauma.
Not so easy to see other events as traumatic. Trauma is more hidden in such things as asthma attacks, minor accidents, a parental divorce, bullying, the death of a beloved pet, emotional abuse, or a learning disability that has you always feeling dumb in class.
Tip two: Know how trauma affects the brain. Many know about flashbacks, what the veteran on the subway way experiencing. Few know that trauma does one or all of the following:
- Trauma numbs your feelings so negative ones often get an upper hand before you realize the are visiting you.
- Trauma dulls your thinking ability, so you do things without thinking.
- Trauma makes you sensitive to danger and anxious
- Trauma creates phobias. Afraid of dogs, most likely you were traumatized by one at some point.
- Trauma creates memory problems, some events are locked away and most out of consciousness unless triggered by something specific that reminds you of the original trauma. That something could be a smell, a touch, or a sound.
- Trauma creates depression, low self-esteem, paranoia, and angry outbursts.
Tip three: Understand that temperament plays a part in who feels traumatized by what. Think of the difference between shyness and boldness, or high and low pain tolerance, an optimist or a pessimist. Know your temperament. Go here for more information.
Tip four: Strengthen all your Emotional Fitness Training Skills. Every one of our exercises raises your EQ also known as EI and that stands for Emotional Intelligence. EI skills help you move past trauma. Go here for some easy exercises to improve your EI .
Two of my eBooks will be particularly helpful in strengthening you to withstand trauma.Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises and Self-soothing To Create Calm in Your Life. As always my ebooks cost less than a latte or a movie and have more value.
Tip five: Leave victimhood behind. You are a victim when you wallow in the past and react instead of acting positively. You are also a victim when you use trauma to let you do bad things or things that you regret. You are a survivor when you act to right wrongs non-violently.
Tip six: Practice Radical Acceptance.
Thank you for all you do
Remember to share all you find of value on the internet. All who post crave recognition. A like says “Thank You.” Comments say you have read and thought about the post. Sharing is a gift to three people: the blogger, the people you share with, and you for your kindness blesses you.
Post Inspiration: This post was inspired by this WordPress Daily One Word Prompt: Test.
Links of Interest
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
- The five components of emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)
- About Emotional Fitness Training (emotionalfitnesstraining.com)
- An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents (amazon.com)
Even the most learned researchers and therapists quarrel about much. Take their advice and mine carefully. Don’t just listen to your heart, but also think; don’t just think, listen to your heart. Heart and head working together increase the odds you will find useful advice amid all the promises and hopes pushed at you be others. As others have noted, take what seems useful, leave the rest.
Disclamer two: Forgive my grammatical errors
If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here; I will understand if you don’t follow, like or share what like me. Not only am I dealing with an aging brain, but all of my life I have been plagued by dysgraphia–a learning disability, Some of my posts might be peppered with bad spelling, poor punctuation, and worse words that make no sense. If you want to hang in with me, thank you; you are kind. If a post doesn’t make sense or bugs you too much, stop reading, I will understand.