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Childhood Trauma: Tips for Dealing with Stress

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One of the important negative effects of suffering severe childhood trauma is that it frequently leaves us less able to cope with stress in our adult lives than we otherwise would have been. In this article, therefore, I will list the strategies that experts suggest we should use to help us to deal with stress :

The diagram below shows possible sources of stress; however, it is how we respond to such sources of stress that is critical :



– do not be too harsh on yourself; try to treat yourself with the compassion you would treat a very close friend

– don’t be embarrassed about asking for help, advice and support

– try to do something enjoyable every single day

– take time in the day, if at all possible, for complete rest and relaxation 

– try to keep to a routine/regular life-style

– eat well

– talk about worries/anxieties with friends/family if possible rather than ‘bottling things up’

– prioritise / stop expending too much energy on things of little importance

– put aside time to spend on leisure activities/therapeutic hobbies

– think about things you could change about yourself that would make life less stressful (e.g. caring less about what others think of you / stop rising to provocation and getting involved in arguments that are not worth the energy / stop taking on too much responsibility)

– try to see problems as challenges and take time to calmly plan how you could get round them; if the problem is unsolvable try to accept it and remind yourself that brooding on it will make matters worse – doing activities which distract you from thinking about it is a better approach

– try, frequently, to do moderate, enjoyable exercise

– reward yourself as much as possible for positive behaviours, positive attitudes and even for thinking about things in a more positive way

– if you have an event/situation coming up that you are worried about, try to calmly plan out in advance things you can do that will make dealing with it easier

– try to develop a support network (e.g. friends, social groups, family, therapists etc)

– try not to panic and get things out of proportion

– try to make small, positive changes to your life-style as frequently as possible

– try to identify and, where possible, rectify, any obvious weaknesses in yourself that might be making your life more stressful (eg lack of assertiveness/confidence etc)

– seek professional help where appropriate




David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

About David Hosier MSc

Holder of MSc and post graduate teaching diploma in psychology. Highly experienced in education. Founder of Survivor of severe childhood trauma.

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