While a small crash may simply leave your nerves a little frazzled and your body a little shocked, serious accidents can result in a host of serious psychological effects, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and deep sadness. Studies have shown that anxiety and depression usually improve over a 12-month period after an accident, but around one-tenth of people can still have symptoms after this time frame. If you have symptoms that aren’t improving or your mental health is getting worse over time. Then it is vital to seek professional help. Approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and talk therapy can all help you overcome PTSD and other trauma-related issues.
If you do opt for specific branches of CBT (such as dialectical behavior therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy). Then you will notice that one vital pillar of these therapies is mindfulness. This practice encourages you to keep your mind “in the here and now.” Instead of letting yourself get stuck in the past, or worrying about the future. There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. Including meditation, controlled breathing, and conducting a body scan to look for hidden tension in your muscles. You can also try the “five senses exercise.” Which is a grounding technique that invites you to notice five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Mindfulness has been proven to target several symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD—including hyper-arousal, negative emotions, and dissociation.
Enrolling in Driving Classes
After an accident, you may develop an aversion to driving. This may be a problem if you cannot rely on public transport to get to and from work. Fears and phobias can be appeased by battling them with “exposure therapy,” which exposes individuals to their source of fear little by little. For instance, this therapy might begin with a short drive in someone else’s vehicle and proceed with you taking the steering wheel for a short drive, then increasingly longer ones. If your vehicle was destroyed in the accident then your next choice can be a sturdy car known for road safety. You may find, for instance, that you feel a stronger sense of safety driving an SUV or a car with an optimal safety record, instead of riding a motorbike or driving a smaller car.
Be As Physically Active As You Can
If you are receiving physical therapy for an injury related to your accident. Then you know how important movement is for healing. Even if you don’t have a major injury, exercise can help boost your mental health. Like mindfulness and other holistic practices (like yoga), it has been found in numerous studies to lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. It also improves the mood and enhances focus and productivity. By working out regularly, you can feel more reinvigorated and help to stave off anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
Make Healthy Food Choices
Make it a point to prioritize your nutritional intake, so you can make a speedier recovery. The foods you consume can help reduce inflammation and provide your muscles with the fuel they need to overcome injury. It can help you minimize muscle loss, fight pain, rebuild injured tissue, and prevent weight gain. Ensure your daily diet has a recommended balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. By maintaining your glucose levels stable throughout the day, it is easier to avoid energy spikes and slumps. Aim to consume anti-inflammatory, whole foods (such as fruits and vegetables) and avoid foods that can promote inflammation. The latter include sugar, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed foods.
If you have been in a serious vehicle accident, it may take several months until you feel “yourself” again. Start by seeking help from a professional therapist if you feel depressed or anxious. Or if you suspect you might have PTSD. A therapist can guide you through tried-and-tested therapies such as CBT, ACT, and DBT. You can also do plenty to boost your mental health at home. Exercise frequently, embrace mindfulness practices, and plan and prepare healthy meals to give your mind and body the nutritional boost they need to heal.