In a study of participants who suffered a severe injury, 54 percent stated having higher than average scores of depression, anxiety, and stress. Principally, if the damage affects a person’s job or favorite hobbies, they can experience overwhelming feelings of sadness, anger, sleep disruption, isolation, and even emotional changes in appetite. As all of these issues can affect not only your life but also the lives of your loved ones, it is crucial to address the stress you may be experiencing after an injury.
Your Stress Is Valid Regardless of Your Injury
An injury that affects your life can come in an infinite variety of forms. While some may think an injury must be brutal to induce stress, this idea is flawed. Massive wounds such as severe burns, amputations, and accidents will change a person’s lifestyle. However, even smaller injuries can cause stress if they compromise your job or were inflicted in disturbing ways. Something as minor as a broken finger could result in post-traumatic stress disorder if it damaged on-purpose, such as in domestic violence.
Anxiety Is a Form of Stress
Anxiety can increase substantially after an injury. Naturally, experiencing the pain and the after-effects of the event will often result in the trauma being replayed over and over in a person’s mind. Fear of something similar happening again can also spike anxiety levels. Moreover, the results of chronic anxiety are harmful to the body. Not only can it be isolating and increase cortisol levels, but a study by Harvard Health found that people with highest ranks of phobic anxiety were 59 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than those without high tension.
Tips for Easing the Stress After a Traumatic Event
While every person’s path to healing and coping with stress will be different, there exist numerous ways you can minimize stress. In the first weeks after the event, avoid exposing yourself to things related to the trauma until you can slowly expose yourself to the trigger with a trained therapist. Avoid looking at disturbing images or videos in general. It can be tempting to drink but avoid excessive alcohol use as it is a depressant and can invoke anger in several individuals. Don’t hide out, but instead, seek help from a counselor as soon as possible.
Trade Watching News for Physical Activity
If you watch the news, it might be a good idea to take a break from it. News too often focuses on negative stories and upsetting world events, and your mind needs to focus on hope and healing. If exercise was approved by your doctor, get some physical activity. Exercise releases endorphins and chemicals that ease stress and anxiety. If your legs are injured, try upper-body-only workouts, or vice versa.
Finding a counselor is not only a smart move, but the shame some people feel about it is a stigma from the past. Taking care of your mental health and stress levels is now known to be vital more than ever before. Search for someone to talk to in your area and stop living with unneeded anxiety, anger, and isolation.
Written By: Lucy Wyndham