What it Takes to Overcome Trauma in Your Life

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Story Updated: Nov 2, 2012

(NewsUSA) - When sudden, unexpected things happen that shatter your sense of security, it's important to keep all lines of communication open. Even if you don't need the support, someone you care about may.

While you can't control everything that happens to you or your loved ones in life, you can control your reaction.

David Cunningham, a communication expert and seminar leader for Landmark Education -- an international training and development company that offers "The Landmark Forum" and dozens of other programs -- suggests the following advice for those coping with loss:

* Accept the reality of the situation. Even when hurricanes, wildfires or other natural disasters approach, many residents are reluctant to evacuate, putting themselves and their rescuers at risk. If your area is told to evacuate, don't count on a miracle to spare your home -- keep your family safe by taking them to a secure location. Make sure that each family member knows what they're doing, where they're going and what important documents they must take with them.

* Understand that talking about your experiences will help your family members cope with their trauma and loss. People experience a wide range of emotions after surviving a traumatic event, including anger, grief, guilt, fear and numbness. Open up about your feelings, and others will feel more comfortable sharing theirs.

* Truly listen to others' thoughts and feelings, even if they perplex you. Maybe you don't understand a neighbor's worry over their cell phone or a friend's frantic concern over a lost pet. But it's important to create a space in which people can express their feelings. Allow others to speak about their primary concerns without passing judgment or trying to fix the situation -- an open ear can mean everything in a time of crisis.

* Become a leader. Maybe you don't see yourself as a leader in everyday life, but if your family is counting on you, you need to step up. Focus on others. Make sure that everyone is prepared to act calmly and safely, and you will find yourself becoming the leader you never knew you were.

For more tips on surviving traumatic events with grace and resilience, or helping those still coping with loss, visit www.landmarkeducation.com.

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