Natural disasters, combat and other situations where there is a need for a heightened flight-or-fight response can have far-reaching effects, the most prominent of which tends to be long-lasting traumatic stress. The effects of traumatic stress can make everyday functions difficult. You may shake or feel restless—you may find yourself nervous or anxious when facing certain situations. Even things that should come naturally, like sleeping and focusing your attention on a task, may feel difficult or impossible. Below are five techniques you can use to deal with traumatic stress.

Think Calming Thoughts
Studies have shown that calming memories can defuse and “untrain” people when they have responses that stem from past traumatic events. To do this, think of a place where you feel safe. Envision the sights and the sound. By just remembering something as simple as a heartwarming smell, you may be able to help overcome traumatic stress triggers.

Place Your Hand on Your Heart
Stress episodes tend to activate cells around the heart, which in turn results in your heart beating harder and faster. By placing your hand on your heart, you may be able to coax your body into calming down, which allows your mind to follow suit.

Meditate
Meditation is a calming activity that involves introspection. You clear your mind of everything, which allows you to achieve a certain inner peace.
While it takes practice, enough meditation may help you come to terms with the event that induced trauma into your life. This will not only help you deal with the triggers that cause you to enter stressful episodes, but also to shield you from further damage in the future.

Practice Breath Control
Traumatic stress can force people to feel fearful in situations where they shouldn't be. This causes an elevated level of stress in reaction to past events, which in turn causes the body to enter “fight or flight” mode. An injury lawyer who often works with clients who’ve experienced a traumatic event says that shortness of breath is one of the most common stress responses. By taking deep, controlled breaths, you can calm your body down. It can even defuse a panic attack in a few minutes, which in turn can help you overcome the trigger given enough practice.

Traumatic Stress Can Be Overcome
While it takes varying amounts of effort to do so, it's completely possible to overcome any lasting effects that trauma or stress may have had on both your mind and your body. You need only to train yourself to know how to deal with trigger events.

The bottom line is that you can usually deal with traumatic stress if you take it one step at a time. Reason it out, and realize that the things you worry about are just another part of living. By doing so, you'll be able to live a happier and more care-free life.

Author's Bio: 

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism. She interviews with small businesses and educational institutions regularly to learn new career building strategies.