By Michael Cerreto, MS, CPCRT, CSC, LDR, Edu-K
You may be in the process of redefining your identity after a brain injury, which is important to recovery. We all search for the meaning of who we are throughout life. Our introspective journeys never end; they start and stop, ebb and flow, based on how life impacts us and our own maturity.
Your life is bigger, broader, and more diverse than just being someone with a brain injury. Your brain injury doesn’t completely define who you are, even if it feels like it does at times.
Your uncertainty and self-reflection after a brain injury may cause you to experience elevated stress that puts you in a highly vigilant state of worry, fear, and concern. Consequently, you may have trouble with sleep, eating, irritability, and self-doubt.
Women Effected Differently By Stress
Did you know that there is a difference between how women and men are effected by stress? Weizmann Institute of Science researchers found that women may have a more intense stress response under some circumstances than men, which can result in suppressed hunger and other symptoms.
Furthermore, because women are more aware of how they relate to others socially, they may become highly critical of themselves after a brain injury, which compounds their stress.
Three Ways To Better Manage Stress After a Brain Injury
While there are many effective ways to manage stress after a brain injury, the following are three methods that have helped survivors:
To better manage the stress you experience with a brain injury, you need to stop asking “Why did this happen to me?” and start asking “What do I want to create for myself now?” Many positive aspects of your life before your brain injury still remain and can continue adding to your life. Always look forward to what is possible.
Accept Your Feelings As Normal
Are you uncomfortable with the conflicted feelings you have about having a brain injury? You need to accept your feelings as being normal for anyone who experienced a brain injury. Your feelings are not abnormal unless they are destructive to you and others. If you view your myriad of feelings as being normal for your situation, you may be more open to talking about them with others instead of hiding them.
Take Care of Your Body
You need to take care of your body to help calm your stressful mind. Our bodies hold a lot of tension, more than you think. You should take concrete steps to care for your body with movement, exercise, diet, and sleep. Calming your body’s tension can calm your stressful mind.
Start today to take care of the stress in your life, and your reaction to it. You should take a closer look at how your thinking and behavior each day intensifies or reduces stress. Does your thinking and behavior calm and relax you or make you feel moody and unmotivated? The solutions to a low stress life after a brain injury are in your hands.
Share Your Thoughts
What are effective ways you have managed your day-to-day stress that you believe can help others?