Post-traumatic Stress and Stress Management are common reasons people will seek therapy. The stress becomes so prominent that elements of their life that were once working well begin to break down.
Post-traumatic Stress occurs after a particularly stressful event, where the event may be played on repeat in your mind, or triggers set the memory off again. These can include, abuse, rape, violence, accidents and victims of crime and tragedy. Post-traumatic stress is intimately connected with grief and loss. It can result in heightened anxiety, avoidance of opportunities, hypersensitivity, bursts of anger, withdrawal from life, loss of sleep or need for too much sleep, sadness and depression and exhaustion. Life is not lived to its fullest.
General life stress shares much of the same symptoms as post-traumatic stress. However, rather than a single stressful event it is more likely to be an ongoing experience of stress throughout daily life. Stress can be prolonged unless life changes occur or coping skills are employed. Work stress, ongoing abuse and violence, parentingand ongoing conflict in relationships are common forms of life stress for which people seek therapy and skills in stress management.
In both Post-traumatic stress and general stress management it is the constant replaying of events and conversations and reliving it that causes ongoing effects and symptoms of stress.
Helpful Therapeutic Strategies in Post-traumatic Stress and Stress Management
- Gaining the skills of living in mindfulness in the present moment is pivotal in overcoming stress. It takes practice and commitment and is something everyone can benefit from.
- In both post-traumatic stress and life stress, observing and understanding the effects of replaying events is key to recovery and establishing strategies to connect with a more peaceful life
- Noticing the ways that other stories of resilience and growth are present within the stressful experience/experiences.
- Awareness of thought and emotion will assist in observing reactivity and slowing responses down when triggers are present.
- Seeking support from others close to you to face stress and or make changes can be helpful but is not essential. Connecting with your own helpful values can be helpful in creating change
- Connecting to and committing to a life of rich, full and meaningful experiences can be helpful in recreating a life that is more desirable.
- Seeking balance in healthy lifestyle choices and alternative therapies can be helpful in overcoming stress.
- Maintaining a balanced life is important in overcoming all stress.