Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Heal From My Trauma?
By Dr. Rob Carpenter:
First off, I’m so sorry that you’ve had to experience trauma. As a trauma survivor myself, I know recovery can be difficult and painful. I understand that not only did you have to experience the original traumatic incident (or incidents), but that you have been left with the memory of that trauma, which creates a whole different set of issues.
Nevertheless, please know that it is possible to overcome the trauma of your past, as millions of people have, and so can you. Here are a few helpful ways to begin your healing process:
Acknowledge that you have trauma and that it can be overcome.
The simple act of not only admitting you have pain but acknowledging that it can be overcome is cathartic. By giving yourself “permission” to overcome your pain (by believing you can), you will get a needed mental and emotional boost as you work through the things weighing down your soul. By maximizing your hopefulness, you can speed up your recovery, as strange as that sounds.
Forgive the person/people who caused or contributed to your trauma.
Although forgiveness can be incredibly difficult, it is an essential part of your healing. Even if the person/people who hurt you in the past never apologize, forgive them in your heart so that you can move on emotionally. This might require you doing this more than once, however, so keep forgiving and forgiving until you feel “free” of unforgiveness, resentment, or grudges. Not only will this make you feel better, but it will also release healing chemicals into your body so that you do not let the people who hurt you in the past continue to hurt you.
Listen to stories of successful overcomers.
The simple act of hearing from people who not only went through what you went through but who have successfully healed from it will give you hope that you can heal too. But be careful when doing this, as it could further trigger your own trauma; so you will want to do this when you’re feeling in the right frame of mind and, if possible, around supportive people who can help be there for you if you do get triggered. But listening to successful overcomers will give you the sense of, “Hey, I can overcome too.”
Practice “releasing techniques."
For example, you can “release” your trauma through journaling your feelings or even writing an objective letter to yourself for how to overcome what you’ve been through. You can even release your trauma by saying “trauma, get out of my soul,” similar to how athletes such as Muhammad Ali would say, “I am the greatest.” In other words, the more you release trauma from your mind and emotions through simple techniques the less power it will have over you.
Of course, these are only a few techniques you can use to overcome trauma. They were ones that have worked for me and ones that I’ve seen work for countless people around the world. Just know, though, that your trauma can be overcome and that you are not alone in this process.
Dr. Rob is an author, filmmaker, and host of The Dr. Rob Show. He advises celebrities, pro athletes, and everyday people on how to live their best lives and has been published in The Oxford Business Review and The Harvard Journal for Public Health, among others. His book, The 48 Laws of Happiness: Secrets Revealed For Becoming the Happiest You, is available where books are sold.
Read our interview with Dr. Rob here!