When we think of trauma, we tend to contextualize it with major traumatic events like the death of a loved one or a violent event. But traumatic events can happen to us on a daily basis and we often fail to recognize when it is impacting us.
If you’ve experienced an extremely stressful or disturbing event that has left you feeling helpless and emotionally out of control, you may have been traumatized. Today’s show will offer ways to identify when we are experiencing trauma and how to effectively combat it. My guest, Franchesca Clemente, is a psychotherapist that shares how to identify when your body is reacting to trauma, and she offers some practical advice on how to work your way through it.
Some of the advice for dealing with stress and trauma discussed in this episode include:
Breathing – breathing excercises can help calm yourself down by changing your focus and reducing your body’s physical reaction to stress.
Exercise – avoid obsessively reliving the traumatic event. Partake in activities that keep your mind occupied like exercise. Take a walk or a run, read a book, or play with your kids.
Let’s face it. This stage in our lives can often be stressful. We have high pressure jobs that are demanding, vicissitudes in our economic situations, family responsibilities, sleep deprivation and overcrowded roads full of road-rage potential. Stress, as mentioned in my two previous posts, is a normal and damaging part of our lives. Prolonged stress can pose significant health risks.
Your body is made to react to stressful situations in ways that would keep you safe from predators and other dangers. It releases adrenaline and Cortisol which increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure and boost energy supplies. When stressers are constant and you feel under attack, your fight-or-flight reaction stays on and your body reacts accordingly. The result can be in the form of anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep deprivation, weight gain and memory and concentration impairment. This according to the Mayo Clinic.
I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.
I’m always struck by that quote from legendary actress Audrey Hepburn because it is so true. Study upon study shows the health benefits of laughter and fun. Humor lightens our burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you rooted. We know this stuff. It is not a new revelation. But somehow, it seems to me, that we have forgotten how to laugh, how to have fun. Our society is far more sensitive to racy jokes. Social media feeds the “gotcha” reaction to everything and anything considered not politically correct. We are a more uptight people who need surgery to remove the stick from our collective asses.
The benefits of leisure and recreation are clear but are we taking full advantage of that knowledge? Are we having fun? Are we laughing enough? Or do we confine it to the one or two weeks of vacation time each year? Here are a few tips to get us back on the fun train:
Maintain a sense of humor. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re an uptight bore. Take a moment to laugh at the absurd things in your life.
Spend time with friends that bring out the laughter.
Engage your partner. Avoid bitching and complaining about your ass-hole boss or your annoying office mate. Share stories about amusing things that happened throughout the day. Like the dude that had toilet paper sticking out of his pants and no one told him.
Avoid laughing at the expense of others. Aside from toilet-paper-dude, don’t be cruel with your laughter. You’ll only feel guilty later.
Watch a comedy show or movie when feeling stressed. Sometimes, you need not follow up a stressful day with The Walking Dead.
Find a funny video on line and share it. There are a million of them out there.
Act like a child. Who knows better how to have fun than our children. Have a water balloon fight in the back yard or some other messy activity.
Run around the house naked and shake your butt in the mirror. Trust me it works. But only if you are home alone. Or maybe not. You decide on your comfort level with that one.
Shout out to those who spent a lifetime bringing out the laughter in us all: Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bernie Mac, Gilda Radner, Bill Cosby, John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Cheech & Chong, Don Rickles, Phyllis Diller…the list goes on.
I’d love to hear about your idea of fun. What makes you laugh? Do you have a hobby? What are your silly moments? Can you make milk spill out of your nose? Show me.
In the meantime, enjoy this funny video. It breaks the rule about laughing at someone else’s expense but, he is a dictator so screw him.