We Have More Control Over Our Mental Health Than We Ever Imagined

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Psychologists often refer to the brain in the third person as if it’s a separate thing. Or an unconnected being with its own feelings and emotions. It does what it wants when it wants. We have no control over it. 

That’s not true.

We have more control than we think over our brains and mental health. We actually call the shots. We tell the brain what to do. Not the other way around.  It’s just that some of us were not taught how to do this or experienced overwhelming childhoods that made it difficult to feel like we have control.  (This part is really important.  If you think you have unresolved trauma, whether in childhood or your adult life, please know that help is available).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have felt out of control, and that’s normal. And many of us have experienced psychological trauma, which can manifest itself in numerous forms. 

But once we realize there are strategies to help our mental health, we can treat any psychological trauma and get on with our lives. There are strategies you can learn to help you through the process.

Read on to learn how.

What Is Psychological Trauma?

Psychological trauma can exhibit itself in various guises, says Psychology Today in a fascinating new article. Those guises include:

  • Shock
  • Denial
  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Shame 
  • Disbelief 

The list is endless. 

We might feel sad. Perhaps hopeless. We might experience numbness. Or withdraw from others. 

There might be physical symptoms. Nightmares. Night terrors. Mental fatigue. Aches and pains. Muscle tension. A racing heart. A compromised immune system. 

Or psychological ones. Sadness. Irritability. Appetite loss. An inability to experience joy. A feeling of dread in the morning. And in the evening. 

The pandemic has brought on these symptoms for many of us working in the film industry.  t. A psychological reaction to the virus might have triggered our symptoms. Or the economic fallout from COVID might have caused them.

Regardless, it’s time to take back control over our mental health.

How to Face Psychological Trauma

When we realize there are tools to help manage our mental health, we can deal with psychological trauma in all its forms. 

First, we should recognize that any negative feelings, whether physical or psychological, are common. “It’s a healthy response to an extended trauma,” says Psychology Today.

Next, we need to talk about these feelings. Otherwise, our brains might “perpetuate and intensify post-traumatic symptoms.”

Psychology Today has other weapons for fighting psychological trauma. It recommends we “get moving” because exercise releases brain chemicals that improve our well-being. And that we self-regulate our nervous systems by controlling negative thinking habits. We can do this through mindfulness. Or acknowledging bad thoughts and accepting them for what they are. 

Whatever we do, we should never isolate ourselves.

“You may be tempted to continue isolating after the pandemic. We’ve all adjusted to time alone, but isolation makes trauma worse. Get out and spend time with people,” says Sherry Benton, Ph.D.

Before You Go

The pandemic has brought on psychological trauma for many in the entertainment industry, but the good news is that we can face it. We have more control over our mental health than we think. We’re in charge. 

By using the techniques listed above, we can reduce the physical or psychological symptoms that have made some of our lives miserable.