Sunday, October 15, 2006

“It Could Be Worse”: Dramatization and Awareness

For mild trauma, sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. If you are able to look at the situation objectively, you may be able to “laugh it off,” or at least arm yourself with enough knowledge to realize you had it easy.

There are two ways to approach this method. The first is to simply use your imagination. Picture the trauma, and then imagine all the ways in which it could have been worse.

For example, if you have a checking account, you may have bounced a check, ended up having to pay a fee to the bank and had to postpone paying one of your bills or go without something you planned to purchase. Now, imagine what might have happened if you bounced multiple checks. You might have had to put off several payments.

The snowball effect could have caused you to lose your car, or have your power shut off. Your bills could have spiraled out of control, eventually leaving you homeless.* When you imagine the worst, it’s easier to put setbacks into perspective.

Traumas can be seeds for more pain – or for growth.

*NOTE: Bouncing multiple checks and losing your power, your car, or your house qualifies as major trauma, for which dramatization is not always effective.

The second approach to dramatization and awareness of minor trauma is to research actual cases where the situations of other people turned out worse than yours. You can search online for news stories, or browse the periodicals archive at your local library.

Generally, you will always be able to find cases concerning people who had more difficulty than you, yet they survived- and you will too. After all, you’re still alive. If you want to take this method a step further, you can do something to help others in your situation. Make a donation to a specific case or a related charity, or start a support program or fund drive in your community. Taking action, no matter how small, often helps to alleviate the feelings of loss and helplessness associated with trauma.

I’ll be sharing with you one of my most favorite past time – journaling. Watch out this space.

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