How to Deal with a Traumatic Event Before It Affects Your Brain

Brain research has discovered you have a 10-day window immediately following a stressful event before significant physiological changes take place in your brain that could permanently affect your mental wellbeing.

By taking steps to proactively deal with your emotions immediately following a disturbing event, you may be able to prevent long-term stress-related illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

HOW A STRESSFUL EVENT AFFECTS YOUR BRAIN

An Indian study found that a single stressful episode can lead to increased electrical activity in the amygdala of the brain. The amygdala is a small group of nerve cells in your brain that affects emotional reactions, memory and making decisions. Changes in the amygdala are also linked to developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Stress seems to cause new nerve connections to form within the amygdala, which leads to the greater electrical activity. But more importantly, the study found these changes donít happen right away. They actually set in ten days following the stressful incident.

This is consistent with many peopleís reactions to stress. Often you donít notice anything right after a traumatic event, but nightmares, increased anxiety or other psychological issues arise within a few weeks, months or even years following the event.

The Indian study gives hope that many of these negative effects of stress could be prevented by quickly dealing with any residual emotions surrounding an incident.

HOW TO PROMOTE HEALING AFTER A TRAUMATIC EVENT

If you have recently experienced a stressful situation, you have many different options for dealing with your emotions afterwards. Even if you experienced a trauma some time ago, itís never too late to take steps towards resolving any lingering issues.

Research shows that using a few different therapies with a positive focus is the best approach. Whereas, simply remembering and reliving your negative emotions surrounding the event, with or without therapy, may actually do more harm than good.

Using various methods over a few weeks or months is also beneficial, as this allows time for your brainís processes to come into balance. One brief session with a therapist to simply review the traumatic experience has been shown to be unhelpful.

Speak to your doctor as soon as possible after a stressful incident to determine the best approach for you.

Sharing with Others

Donít try to sweep a stressful incident under the carpet. Itís best to talk about what happened openly. If you donít feel comfortable talking about it with friends of family, you may benefit by joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences and better understand where youíre coming from.

Counselling

A counsellor can help you come to terms with a trauma and move on. They can also share techniques to use on your own for greater awareness and healing, as well as putting you in touch with any appropriate community resources.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is based on the idea that our negative emotions and behaviors are often fueled by incorrect or irrational thinking patterns. Changing your subconscious thinking patterns can change how you feel and act. A counsellor or other therapist trained in CBT can lead you through the various techniques developed for the system, such as role playing, journaling or testing the validity of your thoughts and beliefs.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a structured therapy done by qualified practitioners. The therapist would ask you to briefly focus on the memory of a stressful event while moving your eyes from side to side. This has been shown to reduce the vividness and emotions associated with a traumatic memory.

Meditation

Meditation is well-known for reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety. One study found that meditation can specifically help those on active military duty to better control PTSD symptoms and reduce or eliminate their related medications. Many types and styles of meditation exist, and all of them are beneficial. Have a look at these different meditation techniques to find out which one might be right for you.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

Another proven method of alleviating stress and emotional distress is EFT. For this technique, you use your finger tips to tap on certain points on your body that are known to help reduce stress and send calming messages to your brain. For more details, check out how to use EFT for stress reduction.

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Chad A5 months ago

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KimJ ManyIssues5 months ago

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KimJ ManyIssues5 months ago

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KimJ ManyIssues5 months ago

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KimJ M
KimJ ManyIssues5 months ago

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Carl R
Carl R6 months ago

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