- Listen to and take care of your body. You should get regular medical checkups, see a doctor when necessary, maintain hygiene and learn to compensate for any physical limitations. A key ally in your strengthening resilience is your brain. It is worth highlighting at the outset that the brain is resilient. The brain has the ability to heal itself, with help
- Engage in health-promoting behaviors like exercising regularly. You should know your exercise limits and listen to your body for warning signs of injury. Beware of “overexercising” or exercising too much. Over exercising (exercising several times a day at training levels that are at or near maximal) can contribute to depressed moods, eating disorders such as anorexia and other compulsive problems. The key is balance.
- You need to get good uninterrupted sleep. Sleep disturbance strongly increases negative moods and decreases positive emotions. Similarly, high levels of emotional arousal can disturb sleep. Sleep deprivation can induce neurochemical changes similar to depression and impairs your quality of life. Deep restorative sleep is tied to your level of physical fitness and activity level.
- Eat a balanced healthy diet and where indicated add supplements to your diet. Select your food intake carefully.
- Avoid tobacco, mood-altering recreational drugs and excessive use of alcohol.
- Use productive health-engendering ways to cope with physical and emotional pain and stress, instead of self-destructive coping tools such as alcohol and non-prescribed drugs or the over use of prescribed drugs.
- Avoid high-risk dangerous sensation-seeking behaviors such as driving aggressively or recklessly or what are called “chasing-adrenaline-rush” behaviors.
In dealing with serious trauma in your life, don’t attempt to do it alone and don’t just ignore it or stuff it deep. In talking with one young adult veteran, he informed me that he had solved his problem. He had found the perfect job for him. He was working in a coal mine. He said: “My mind is in such a deep dark place that I feel comfortable and safe in that deep dark place. My only problem is when I have to come up into the light of day.” That is not a solution. That is hiding. I have over the years come to discover that any kind of unresolved emotional trauma will accumulate, fester and explode on you when you are least prepared to deal with it.