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Some Advice on Coping Following Trauma

Six things you can do to help yourself promote recovery after trauma

If you, a loved one or friend, has recently been through a traumatic and upsetting event, it may be worth considering some of the following ways of coping:

Accessing and accepting support from others

It is very comforting to receive physical and emotional support from other people. It is important not to reject support by trying to appear strong e.g. demonstrating a ‘stiff upper lip’, or trying to cope completely on your own. Talking to others who have had similar experiences, or who understand what you have been through, is particularly important. It can be a valuable source of practical advice, information, and allow you to release pent-up feelings.

Taking time out for yourself

In order to deal with their feelings, some people find it necessary at times to be alone, or just be with close friends or family. Sometimes this can be difficult when we lead busy lives and we have to negotiate carefully with our friends and family to make space for ourselves. We need to make sure we find the right balance for ourselves between getting support and not being overwhelmed by others.

Staying active

Helping others, keeping busy and engaging in previously enjoyed activities can give some temporary relief. Physical activity is really beneficial to our psychological well-being. Even 30 minutes of activity a day, e.g., walking, gardening, etc., can have a positive effect.

Returning to usual and familiar routines

It is usually advisable to return to usual routines as soon as possible after the event in order to avoid incubation and magnification of fear while away from the situation. While it is important to try to return to our routines because of those benefits, people will have different speeds at which they can do this.

Look for post-traumatic growth

Often as people begin to recover from trauma they notice that they have begun to look at life differently. For example, it may be that you find yourself appreciating your friends and family, or you think about what really matters to you in life, or you begin to recognize changes within yourself such as newfound confidence. It can be helpful to actively look for such changes in yourself and in how you view others and in what matters to you. Begin to notice these changes in yourself.


Trauma throws up lots of difficult emotions for people. It can be hard to be kind, compassionate, and accepting towards ourselves, thinking we should have acted differently, that we could be coping better, or that we are not good enough. Being kind and compassionate towards ourselves can be very helpful, and set us on the road to a more growthful recovery. Ask yourself, if it were a loved friend or family member going through what you are going through, would you speak to them the way you speak to yourself? Would you expect the same things from them as you expect from yourself? Be as compassionate to yourself as you would be to them.

Following traumatic events, people can experience a range of upsetting reactions. These will usually diminish over the following days and weeks. The above ways of coping may be helpful. However, if the reactions persist or become increasingly problematic, advice, guidance and professional support should be sought.

To find out more about post-traumatic stress:…;

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