Your car accident happened in a matter of seconds, but the recovery time will last much longer. The aftermath is often extremely difficult to recover from, both physically and mentally. Even if you didn’t get hurt, there are probably some emotions you’re hanging onto that may be impeding your recovery time. If you’re looking for a speedy recovery both physically and emotionally following your car accident, then these tips are for you.

1. Rest and Relax

Immediately following the accident and for several days after, your priority should be to rest and relax. That’s the best medicine for achy joints, whiplash, and other injuries, not to mention the psychological trauma that often follows. Take a few days off work and put your feet up to get yourself back to normal.

2. See a Therapist

Trauma is not uncommon when it comes to the aftermath of a car accident. You might be afraid to set foot in a car even months after the incident, particularly if you or someone you love was badly hurt. If that’s the case, you may benefit from seeing a therapist.

There are a number of psychological therapies doctors recommend following a car accident, including:

  • Psychotherapy: evaluates cognitive behaviors.
  • Hypnotherapy: uses guided meditation and hypnosis to come to terms with the incident.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): stimulates the left and right hemispheres of the brain to decrease anxiety following an accident.

Each of these methods has proven to be extremely effective in resolving trauma following an accident.

3. Contact a Lawyer

If you were in an accident that wasn’t your fault, or are facing charges because you were at fault, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. If you’re playing the defendant you’ll need legal support to fight the charges. Otherwise, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries, particularly if the guilty party caused the accident because they were doing something illegal or negligent while driving, like texting.

4. Make Amend

Sometimes what’s holding you back from recovery is actually your obligation to others affected by the accident. If you caused it, you might be feeling guilty or tortured thinking of all the things you could have done differently. Reach out and apologize to the person you hurt. Be sincere and genuine, and offer to help with something, but don’t let the other person take advantage of you.

If you were the one affected by the other driver’s poor choices, don’t resort to bitterness. Try to forgive the other person and let it go. It may take a little time, but if you can move on, healing will come much faster.

5. Get Back Behind the Wheel

Because of the trauma you’ve experienced, you might not feel ready to get behind the wheel again just yet, but that’s exactly what you should do. The sooner you get over your fear of driving, the faster you’ll be able to return to normal.

If you must, enroll in a defensive driving class. This is particularly useful if you’ve developed driving-related PTSD and need a little more time and therapy in order to be comfortable driving again. You’ll learn skills that will help you make better decisions while driving, which will make you feel safer in a vehicle.

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