Mental Health Awareness Month 2020 falls in the final stages of lockdown as people battle with the new world of work, financial difficulties, job losses, and very possibly, the loss of a loved one during the height of the pandemic.
Traumatic events, like COVID-19, can have numerous negative physical and psychological consequences.
So, it may be comforting to know that even the most traumatic events that deeply shake our sense of self, can help us grow.
What is a traumatic experience?
A traumatic experience is any situation you face that causes you to have an unusually strong negative emotional reaction, interfering with your functioning.
It can be any type of unexpected event that disrupts your functioning and ability to cope.
It is not only the extreme nature of an event that makes it traumatic but also how you see the event and what impact the experience has on you.
Characteristics of traumatic experiences
|They are the result of an event that is external to you||They are sudden or unexpected, so you are not prepared for them|
|They are potentially dangerous to you or others||Your normal ways of coping do not help you|
The emotional impacts of traumatic events
- A loss of control over the present and future
- A sense of personal vulnerability and sadness
- Feelings of guilt and remorse
- A strong sense of grief or loss
- Anger and frustration over the event
- Fear or anxiety of repetition
- Denial and overwhelm
Coping with traumatic events
In the workspace, there are many people with unresolved emotional reactions to a traumatic experience, related or unrelated to the pandemic.
If you are a leader in an organisation, awareness of the areas of Posttraumatic Growth helps you guide and facilitate conversations.
For someone who has had a traumatic experience, it may feel as if one is facing something all-consuming. If so, there are ways to support oneself and others.
4 ways to cope with traumatic events
1. Acknowledge the trauma: recognise that you have been through a traumatic experience and that it is okay to feel the way you do.
2. Be kind to yourself: remember that you are having a normal response to an abnormal experience and that you are coping with it.
3. Allow the thoughts: instead of blocking out your thoughts around the trauma, gently let them come to the surface, acknowledge them for what they are and know that their presence need not consume you.
4. Talk: share with those close to you about your experience of the trauma and the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing, rather than bottling things up inside.
Traumatic events are disturbing. But they can also provide fertile ground for positive change and growth. Many people experience Posttraumatic Growth after going through a trauma.
Knowing about and thinking through Posttraumatic Growth can offer hope as you process your experience.
What is Posttraumatic Growth?Posttraumatic Growth is the positive, inner change that happens from struggling with a major life crisis. Click To Tweet
It isn’t the event itself that is positive, but how the event can spark positive change from within.
At its core, Posttraumatic Growth is the idea that traumatic experiences may still have beneficial effects on who we are in the long run.
There are five possible areas of Posttraumatic Growth that can develop from your experience:
- New possibilities
- Greater appreciation for life
- Spiritual development
- Closer relationships
- Personal strength
Fully appreciate these five areas of Posttraumatic Growth in the FREE downloadable resource You Can Still Grow.
While this blog and free download Despite it All You Can Still Grow may be helpful if you’ve experienced a certain degree of trauma, if you are displaying severe symptoms or you are a survivor of extreme trauma, please do not hesitate to seek extra help.
Mygrow produced a series of downloadable resources to help people cope with mental health and emotional wellbeing during COVID-19. “Despite it All You Can Still Grow” is one of those resources, especially-appropriate during Mental Health Awareness Month.