Trauma first aid


If someone is trying to deal with a serious traumatic experience then we highly recommend that they contact a qualified mental health professionsal for support and guidance. This is especially so if the person is depressed or suicidal.

That said, there are still many things that we can do to help ourselves and others. Here are some examples of things that can help someone cope with a traumatic situation.

• Whenever possible meet with people that you trust for support. If you don’t have anyone local, then perhaps there is someone that you could phone or email. It helps if we can be reassured by someone that we trust.
• Focus on your resources and support systems.
• Do things that help you feel calmer or more centered.
• Avoid telling your story in a repetitive way – this can be re-traumatizing. Especially avoid going into a lot of detail and rushing through the story – take breaks and try to remember things that helped you to get through the situation.
• Feel your feelings and allow your emotions to be expressed in a productive way. We need to process feelings without overwhelming ourselves with all the details.

Emotional Response
Normal reactions to a traumatic event include:

• Shock / Numbness
• Dissociation / A sense of being cut off
• Nightmares
• Easily irritated / Anger / Acting out aggressively
• Deep sorrow
• Fear / Anxiety / Helplessness / Confusion
• Hyper-vigilant (‘on guard’)

Sometimes these responses only last a few days. However, if the person is traumatized then they will be present even months later.

Physical Response
It is natural to have a physical reaction to stress. They can include:s

• Heart beating faster / Difficulty breathing / Blood pressure going up
• Stomach tightening / Knot in the throat
• Skin cold
• Mind racing
• Difficulty sleeping
• Eating too much

Symptoms are diverse and can come and go. Try to be aware of these and other impulses, and to accept that you are deeply upset – and that it will pass.

Discharging stress
We can help our nervous system recuperate its balance by understanding how it discharges when it is over-stimulated. Some examples of this are:

• Trembling / Shaking
• Sweating / Warmth in the body
• Stomach gurgling
• Breathing deeply
• Crying
• Laughing

Experiencing any of these symptoms means that we are discharging some of the traumatic energy from our body and coming back into balance. Mostly, we should just observe what’s happening in our body without judgment, just watching and understanding that our body (by Krishna’s mercy) has the innate ability to regain its balance if we just let it feel what it feels, and give it the time to do what it needs to do.
Possible exercises
It helps to stay ‘grounded’ when dealing with unpleasant feelings and memories. For example, if you are feeling disoriented, confused, or upset, you can do the following:

1. Sit on a chair, feel your feet on the ground, press on your thighs, feel yourself sitting on the chair, your back supported by the chair; look around you and pick six objects that have red or blue. This should allow you to feel in the present, more grounded, and in your body. Notice how your breath gets deeper and calmer. You may want to go outdoors and find a peaceful place to sit on the grass. As you do, feel how you can be held and supported by the earth.

2. Here is an exercise that will allow you to feel your body as a ‘container’ to hold your feelings. Gently pat the different parts of your body with your hand. Your body may feel more tingling, more alive, and you may feel more connected to your feelings.

3. Vigorous exercise can help avoid depression and is a possible channel for aggression.

Humans are extremely resilient and can recuperate from the most terrible tragedies. We also have the ability to be positively transformed by our traumas.


2 Responses to “Trauma first aid”

  1. Lynn Says:

    Have you looked into the Trauma Resiliency Model? A short version of Somatic Experiencing, being utillied all over the world. see and other pages.

    It’s good to see people talking about shaking. We all need to know that it is a healthy release. Not something wierd to be stopped because it scares somebody.


  2. kancana Says:

    Dear Lynn,

    Thank you for your comments. Much appreciated. Yes, shaking is important… 🙂 Not a lot of people know that… 🙂 I will have a look at the webpage you suggested.

    How did you find out about my blog? Do you have one?

    Warm regards,

    Kancana-valli dd

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