Moving on! How to move on quickly or help someone move on from something traumatic
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. Charles Swindoll.
Everyone gets stuck from time to time, but remember – it’s not what happens to us but how we recover that matters the most. Following a traumatic event if you could leap past the awful, paralysing emotions and land safely back into positive, happier times – you would do it in a heartbeat, wouldn’t you?
Unfortunately it’s impossible to predict how long it will take someone to overcome grief – your feelings will come and go and you’ll endure frustrations that will make it feel like it’s two steps forward, followed by three steps back. Time is the best healer.
While we can’t speed up time for you, there are things you can do to help you move on from a traumatic event. This week Happiness Weekly looks at how you can move on as quickly as possible.
Recognise what you’re feeling
It’s really important to recognise what you are feeling rather than judging why you are feeling the way you are. Try not to look at what’s happened, tell yourself it has happened – there is nothing that can be done to change it – and take notice of your feelings when you start thinking of the exciting things the future may have in store for you. It may take time to feel excited about anything again, but eventually that spark will return.
Sit with the pain for two minutes
If you can sit with the pain for two minute increments and then try to distract yourself, whether it’s reading or writing or going for a walk, you will soon find the painful moments will be further and further apart. In fact, you may even be able to experience moments of happiness and peace again. Concentrate on the good moments, but also let yourself have time to grieve as well.
Keep as positive as you can
If the voice inside your head says “I’m never going to love again –” add something to make it more positive “in that way”. Positive thinking will prevent you from dwelling for too long. When you eliminate the negative voice, which can appear so conclusive and certain, you will also take away some of your worries. Keep reminding yourself that there will be a tomorrow – and it may even be better than today!
Make acceptance a priority
It’s important to work on accepting what has happened as soon as possible. Don’t sit with denial for too long. Take charge! Decide to accept what’s happened, regardless of how you feel about it. Take a proactive philosophy to the situation – instead of waiting for your feelings to change in order to take action – take action and trust that your feelings will change as a consequence to your efforts. Remember, every action has a reaction. Feeling outraged by life’s injustices won’t change anything beyond your control – try to remind yourself if it what it is and keep stepping forward.
Grow from the experience
Pretend that everyone is enlightened except for you. Look for every lesson that comes your way. Be open to learning. Practise some patience. This mindset can help improve the way you interpret and respond to even the most painful events in your life. Be honest with yourself during this part of the healing process. As you look back on the relationship you will have an opportunity to learn more about yourself, how you relate to others, and the problems you need to work on. If you are able to objectively examine your own choices and behaviour, including the reasons why the situation happened to you, you’ll be able to see where you went wrong to enable you to make better decisions next time around!
Get set for something better
Avoid turning minor upsets into bigger issues in your mind and look at the bright side. It’s just another challenge – focus on how you’re going to resolve it for the most positive outcome! The faster you step forward, the sooner the pain will stop. Also consider the worst case scenario in your situation – is it really the end of the world? More importantly, is it possible – and probable – that the situation could get a lot better? A higher paying job? A more satisfying relationship? Spend some time considering what could go right.
Work with what you have
It’s easy to get comfortable with the way things are and then feel completely disconnected from who you want to be or what you want to do in life when things go wrong, but this hurdle doesn’t need to annihilate your plans! Use your time to find a new way to achieve your goals and start putting effort into getting there again – it’s the fastest way to turn a bad thing good!
Consider what others would do
Think about how someone with integrity handle the situation. If you have an idol, what would they do in your situation? Identify what you have learned from the situation, pick yourself up with grace and maintain your dignity. Move on to the next goal with your head held high. Acting to someone else’s expectations will eliminate the opportunity for disappointment in yourself if you were to lose control over the situation.
Put it on the backburner for a while
Concentrate on something else rather than worrying about your current situation. Exercise to boost your endorphins – you could go for a walk, practise yoga or do something more fun like rollerblading. Start a new diet. Practice being in the present – do one task at a time, mindfully. Remember: if you don’t mind – it don’t matter.
Start creating new memories as soon as you can
Take new photos to look back on. Enjoy some new experiences. Do things you’ve put off for a long time. Get out and enjoy nature. Speak your truth where you can – it’ll help you to feel authentic, heard and improve your confidence. Avoid procrastinating, generally the anxiety about a task is worse than the task itself. Force change by beginning a new routine – it can be small such as adjusting your sleeping pattern or starting to eat breakfast.
Other quick tips for moving on:
– Allow yourself to cry
– Take time out for yourself
– Smile at old memories if you want to
– Write a letter to say goodbye
– Avoid bottling things up
– Keep a diary of your feelings and memories as you grieve
-Talk to someone about how you’re feeling
– Keep healthy
– Recognise it’s ok to have different feelings
– Give yourself permission to feel and function at a less than optimal level for a period of time
– Get help from a counsellor or psychologist if you need it (recognise when you need it!)
– Remember that moving on is the end goal
– Remind yourself that you still have a future
– Spend time with supportive people who energise you
– Make new friends, don’t just hold onto old or mutual friends
– Reach out to others that have been through your situation, they can be particularly helpful!
The trick is to treat yourself like you’re getting over a bad flu for the first couple of weeks. Get plenty of rest, minimise other sources of stress in your life and reduce your workload if you can.
Always remember – whether you have been through a traumatic event or not: you can’t always get what you want – but you can work at being who you want to be no matter what life throws your way!
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