Recovering From Stressful Events

Image courtesy of Ambro at

Image courtesy of Ambro at

Have you ever undergone a dramatic, shocking, or painful event that made your body shut down so you couldn’t sleep or eat? A distressing situation that left you literally shaking and unable to function normally in day-to-day life?

I certainly have and I’d lay bets that most of you have had this experience as well. When this happens, how can you heal and move forward in your life?

Here are a few life lessons I’m learning along the way:


This means a lot of different things to different people. Personally, refueling during stressful times in my life has meant focusing on my spiritual needs and constant prayer. It means forcing my mind away from all the drama, stress, and worry to make room for more positive thoughts. It means leaning on those who support and love me.

Step Away

When you are in an overwhelming situation, remove yourself from the situation long enough to gain perspective, calm yourself, and regain your composure so you can move forward.

Image courtesy of khunaspix at

Image courtesy of khunaspix at

Be Still

“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time,” Hermann Hesse said. When an event leaves you completely rattled, it’s helpful to leave the TV, computer, and electronic gadgets off to allow time for some quiet introspection.

Nurture Yourself

Do something peaceful and comforting that slows down frantic thoughts and emotions. This may mean reading something uplifting and inspirational, praying, journaling, taking a relaxing walk, or listening to soothing music.

Seek Lessons

Sometimes the best way to get past the melodrama and move on is to try to learn from the experience and look for any life lessons. Allow the painful situation to help you develop strength and resilience.

Be Grateful

Now is the perfect time to remember all the reasons you still have to be thankful. Keep a gratitude journal or make a list if you need help remembering.

Admittedly, keeping your sanity through a dramatic event is never easy. However, if you can keep these tips in mind, it will help you get past the emotional, psychological, and physical distress. Then you can regain the balance and peace in your life that everyone desires and deserves.


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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10 Responses

  1. Tamara says:

    Such good words, Julie. Sometimes we just need to pause and reflect on these things. At our age, most of us probably have heard these things before and perhaps have said them ourselves, but when in the middle of drama we can easily forget our own best advice. We can all find things to be grateful for, and meditating on the positive spiritual gifts in our lives really makes all the difference between crashing down and rising above. Thank you for your thoughtful and wise words.

  2. Shuli Lando says:

    I loved this post Julie!
    You touch on the most important things; going inward to your inner sanctuary and most of all —for me— find the ‘what for, the lessons of the situation.

    • juliegorges says:

      Thanks Shuli. Checked out your latest blog as well – you are a very inspiring woman who has certainly learned from experience how to overcome obstacles. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Linda says:

    Great post! I have noticed that when I am going through something, I have the natural impulse to slow down and look for ‘alone time’. And I also feel people ‘worry’ about this kind of behaviour. “You should go out, you are giving in…”. That used to confuse me, but not any more. Being 48 years old, I know myself. Being on my own gives me the peace and quiet to center myself and refocus. That helps me get through ‘stuff’ without the drama 😉

    Have a great weekend!

    • juliegorges says:

      We learn with age, right! After a stressful event, I too, need time to be alone to process what happened and quiet time for some introspection. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Sonja Pound says:

    I love the ideas of stepping away and being still. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and not take the time to really process what is happening and why. Great tips!

    • juliegorges says:

      Thanks Sonja! I love the sound of the simple words “be still.” Just the thought can make you slow down, calm yourself, and gain some prospective so you can learn from the experience and move forward.

  5. Wonderful advice Julie – and yes I’ve actually had a few of those dreadful experiences which is why I’m dedicated to spreading the word about the power of emotional resilience. I especially like your advice about seeking lessons – this is so important. It doesn’t mean we’ll always be able to make sense of what happens to us or why, but we can look for the opportunities for growth. Thanks for the inspiration.

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