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How to cope with traumatic events

What exactly is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after a person directly experiences or witnesses an event that threatens their sense of safety.

War, natural disasters, serious injuries or accidents, medical diagnoses and treatment, interpersonal violence, racism, ableism, sexism, heterosexism, and other discriminatory experiences are some examples.


1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event

2. Distressing memories

3. Avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event

4. Feeling on edge or high alert

5. Feeling numb, worthless, irritable, distressful or depressed

Any traumatic event, from a personal tragedy to a global crisis, can be emotionally draining and result in traumatic stress. However, there are methods for regaining control of your life and coping with them.

Tip 1 for coping with trauma: Limit media exposure

Limit your exposure to the traumatic event in the media. Avoid watching the news or checking social media right before bed, and avoid repeatedly viewing upsetting footage.

Tip 2: Accept your emotions.

-Allow yourself time to heal and mourn any losses you've suffered.

-Try not to rush the healing process.

-Be patient with the recovery process.

-Prepare yourself for difficult and volatile emotions.

-Allow yourself to experience whatever emotions you are experiencing without judgment or guilt.

-Discover how to reconnect with difficult emotions without becoming overwhelmed.

Tip 3: Get moving!

Energize and motivate yourself. If you're having trouble finding the energy or motivation to exercise, try listening to your favorite music and moving around or dancing. You'll feel more energized once you get moving.

Tip 4: Make contact with others.

Increase your social network. If you live alone or have a limited social network, it is never too late to reach out to others and make new friends. Use support groups, church gatherings, and community organizations to your advantage. Join a sports team or a hobby club to meet others who share your interests.


Addressing the effects of trauma in a safe environment while developing coping skills can provide relief. This is why the combination of psychotherapy and medication is thought to be the most effective treatment for PTSD.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most common type of therapy (CBT). PTSD-specific techniques include:

-Teaching the client to question or let go of self-blaming thoughts (for example, "this was my fault").

-Progressively exposing the client to triggers to gain control over fear.

-Restoring nervous system safety through eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).


Almost everyone has experienced something traumatic or knows someone who has. The sooner we can relieve the stigma for PTSD, the sooner recovering will receive the support they deserve.


Feeling out of touch? Use these resources to educate yourself, take action, and advocate for your own and your communities’ mental health, as well as ensure equitable access to resources, tools, and support for all:


Written by

Jose Caballero

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