How to Cope and Deal with Stress

What Is a Traumatic Event?

Most everyone has been through a stressful event in his or her life. When the event, or series of events, causes a lot of stress it is called a traumatic event. Traumatic events are marked by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, the threat of a serious injury or death.

What Are Some Common Responses?

Responses are different for everyone and can include feelings of fear, grief and depression. Physical responses include nausea, dizziness and changes in sleep pattern as well as withdrawal from daily activities. Responses to trauma can last for weeks to months.

What Can You Do for Yourself?

  • Understand that your symptoms may be normal, especially right after the traumatic event.
  • Keep to your usual routine.
  • Resolve everyday conflicts so they do not add to your stress.
  • Do not avoid situations, places or people that remind you of the traumatic event.
  • Find ways to relax.
  • Turn to people you trust for support.
  • Participate in fun activities.
  • Recognize that you cannot control everything.

What Can You Do for Your Child?

Children’s reactions to traumatic events depend on their age. Their responses also are affected by how close they are to the event.

  • Deal with the situation calmly and confidently.
  • Answer questions simply.
  • Spend extra time with them.
  • Let them know it is okay to feel upset when something bad or scary happens.
  • Encourage them to express feelings and thoughts.
  • Return them to daily routines.

When Should You Contact Your Doctor or Mental Health Professional?

You may need to consider seeking professional help if your symptoms are severe enough during the first month to interfere a lot with your family, friends and job. For more information or to find professional help, go to http://www.bt.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/.

Information adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Red Cross.