In my last post, I wrote on why the Church is often hesitant to talk about trauma. Frankly, we fear what we do not understand (Nelson Mandela quote?) and therefore we make assumptions about identifying and managing trauma. For centuries, the Church has not been immune to human suffering. People have endured many public battles that we have witnessed. You may be someone who has endured public trauma; however, the past traumas (and current private ones) are the ones that can hurt just as bad. How will the Church respond when people have been internally bleeding in regards to their silent traumas?
I would like to offer you some practical practices in dealing with trauma. These practices are not rocket science and I am not a doctor. Please consult a medical professional if your condition is leading you to thoughts of self-harm or harming others.
Journaling: Everyone has a LOVE/HATE relationship with journaling. Journaling is a great exercise for trauma because it is not as invasive as someone seeing a therapist. The neat aspect of journaling is you can physically see your progress in your own handwriting. I encourage you to handwrite in a journal. At some point, you may need to burn parts of the journal (or all of it) due to life changes, privacy issues, or if the Redcoats are coming.
Get the Anger Out: Everyone’s trauma at some point has made them angry. Identify what or who has made you perturbed. Now, go do something with that anger. Ideas: chop some wood, lift some weights, play a sport, run, etc. DO SOMETHING PHYSICAL. If you need to complete home renovations and have demo work to do, then you have picked a great time to release your anger. The issue with angry is we usually bottle is up inside or we are not kind to other people with our words. Own your angry and show it that you are the boss!
Be Proactive: If there is anything that the human race has mastered over the years, it is the subtle art of procrastination. When we procrastinate and put things off, we are inviting more stress into our lives. Instead of waiting until Monday, plan on Friday for the next week. Planning more in advance should alleviate the stress and anxiety many people feel on Sundays. Planning should include your work tasks as well as things around your home. Additionally, make sure to include things that you NEED to do and WANT to do. You need to get things done but you also need a life.
Check the Voices: Take some time to evaluate where you are hearing advice from. Make sure you know the difference between advice (surface level) and wisdom (heart/mind/soul level). Do you watch alot of news and how do you feel afterwards? When you make decisions, which people in your life do you turn to? Get into the Bible and read (or listen) to gain more clarity for your life. Start small.
In our next post, we will address assumptions that we make about trauma.