5 Ways to Regain (some) Control After Trauma

Regain (some) Control After Trauma

Regain (some) Control After Trauma


Article by Michelle Bennington
Photo Credit: Dasha & Mari
Magazine: Issue #29

You’re a survivor and you’ve lost control, but you are not alone. Something terrible has happened and left you uncertain about everything you once thought you knew. Or, maybe you never claimed to have it together to begin with. Either way, you’re here because you’re trying, you want to feel like yourself again, and you know there is hope. While there are no quick fixes and your journey is undoubtedly your own, there are a few things you can do to regain (some) control today.

Be okay with not being okay.
As tempting as it might become, you simply cannot force feed yourself happiness. You are a strong and magnificent human but let's be honest, even Wonder Woman requires recovery. Sometimes life throws you villains that will temporarily knock you down, and acknowledging that you have fallen does not mean you aren’t capable of getting up. Accept that you've taken a hit and attempt to allow yourself to be okay with that. This does not mean you have been defeated nor does it mean you can’t rise again stronger than before. You’re not okay today, but you will be soon.

Write it out.
All of the words you've been swallowing back and everything you think is going to make other people uncomfortable, release them. Send all of those emotions out through your fingertips even if they’re impossible to translate later. You're not looking to write a best selling novel, you are simply acknowledging that there's a hell of a lot happening inside of you and you want it out. Whether you’re a writer, artist, or a mathematician, allowing the words to escape will bring you some relief. Take the time to write everyday about everything and about nothing. Write until the paragraphs start becoming more clear, and then continue writing.

Don’t rely on answers, justification, or finding someone to blame (including yourself).
This one won’t be easy and while you may certainly deserve all of the above, focusing your energy here isn't going to help you regain any real control. Sometimes it’s best to take a step back from the unknown to refocus on what we do know. Perhaps everything doesn’t happen for a reason we can comprehend but something beautiful CAN always be born from tragedy, eventually. Maybe not today, maybe not for ten years but rest assured that shining light will appear and any energy you spent running from it will have been wasted. Something horrible happened, and you may not understand why, but you don't have to.


Throw a little party in your comfort zone.
Never underestimate the power of simplicity. Pup cuddles, nature walks, nachos, and Netflix still apply even on the darkest of days. Taking time to allow yourself your favorite things is undoubtedly always a good thing. Whatever brought you comfort before you lost control still can if you allow it. What's currently holding you down might feel stronger and more resilient than temporary fixes but it won't outlive your happiness if you commit to continue trying. While it may be annoyingly difficult to find comfort amongst the chaos, when you do, it will be worth it. Small steps are still steps in the right direction and you deserve relief.

Breathing, seemingly so effortless to some but sometimes the most challenging undertaking of all, plays a lead role in regaining control. Take a minute (or seven) and try to think about nothing beyond your breath. When thoughts arise, kindly excuse them and refocus. On the outside it may seem as though you're merely existing but you will know better... This moment, no matter how short, no matter how small, you will be in control.

There is no magic cure or immediate answer for regaining control. Nothing in life is one size fits all and you will always have to discover what works for you. However, there are countless ways to get closer. With daily effort and relentless hope, you will feel your small steps becoming massive strides. You will get there, and you are not alone.

It’s a Sign is a compilation of self-improvement articles written by entrepreneurs seeking to bring holistic solutions to everyday problems. Read more articles from this feature.

Michelle is an inspiration mentor and preliminary business planning coach. Her newest venture, Essential Muse, will help survivors of trauma transform themselves into badass lady-bosses so their stories, strength, and refreshed vibrancy can help an otherwise suppressed world come alive! 

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