Because in these situations we have to act quickly, effectively while under a great deal of pressure, trauma can make worse our ability to focus, think clearly, be calm and effective.
Its important to understand that trauma is what happens when the brain’s survival system get stuck on “red alert” and can’t return to normal. We can’t return to normal just by wishing to do so or talking ourselves out of our feeling.
In this condition, it can be hard to focus. We become highly sensitive to sounds, lights, even other people’s behavior. We might have strong emotional reactions to little things or become upset easily.
The brain’s survival system needs to be rebalanced so we can return to normal.
Trauma can be prolonged by any number of means–just watching something traumatizing can activate the brain’s survival center and create the feelings of being under threat.
Other causes include:
*the potential for additional disaster, like the anxiety of waiting for after shocks or other potential threats.
*watching disaster footage on TV
*replaying traumatic situations in your mind
*hearing sounds associated with the original trauma–like sirens, sounds of water or other loud sounds.
Its important to rebalance the nervous system as quickly as possible. Slow, deep breathing tells the brain to calm down. The grounding and visualization methods I wrote about earlier are others. They are simple and easy to do.