Processing Trauma and Stress

After a traumatic experience, it can be helpful to get your thoughts outside of your head. Writing down your experiences can help you gain perspective about your situation and help to reduce how distressing they are.

This worksheet comes from Mental Health America’s Mental Health Month 2021 Toolkit.

 

Here’s a web-friendly version of the activity from the worksheet:

Begin by writing down anything that comes to mind
related to your traumatic experiences.

When you’ve been through multiple traumatic experiences, or carried trauma for a long time, it can shape the way you see yourself, the world, and others. These changes in beliefs are there to protect you from future harm, even when threats are gone. They can change the way you relate to others, whether or how you take risks, or how you feel positively about yourself.

How have your traumatic experiences shaped the way you see:

  • Yourself?
  • Others?
  • The world?

Reflecting on your writing experience above, do you notice how your body has changed in response to your feelings? Take a minute to identify the feelings you experience while reflecting on your story. Draw lines to the corresponding area of your body where you experience that emotion.

Practicing grounding techniques can help you get unstuck from your mind and your body. Use the Keep Your Mind Grounded worksheet to learn and practice staying grounded as a coping skill for your unwanted thoughts and feelings. Use the Stopping Stupid Thoughts worksheet to reflect on and change the beliefs above.