People who struggle with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have both physical and mental health challenges in the journey of healing. Finding ways to cope with the myriad effects of this disorder on a person’s life can be difficult, but not impossible. The key is to find hope in the midst of suffering from the detrimental effects and search for ways that keep the brain and body as healthy as it can be each day.
One of the best ways to combat PTSD, or any mental health condition, is through mindfulness practices. Early in the morning when a person gets up is the best time to set aside a few moments to be in a place of silence and gratitude. Breath work can be one way to do this, through slow and steady breathing through the diaphragm. A person may also experience lots of anxiety on a daily basis with PTSD. One of the ways to work through anxiety is to connect with the breath, in the heart center, and stay focused on the breath when anxious thoughts and fears rise up. Some things to try:
- Yoga poses which reduce anxiety or stress
- Sitting meditation with breath work
- Holding a hand over the heart or chest and one on the belly to practice breathing slowly and steadily
- Breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth to relieve tension
- Practice slowing thoughts to clear the mind
One way people with PTSD struggle is by feeling like they are jumping out of their skin or feeling out of their bodies at times. This is due to the trauma they faced as the brain and body work to process sensory experiences from the past and present. A veteran may hear a car backfire and duck for cover, thinking it is gunfire. A person who experiences trauma as a child may become fearful if they hear a person yelling, which may be their trigger back to abusive situations. When a person with PTSD does a body scan or ‘check-in,’ they are doing a quick look through their body (in their mind) to see what is being triggered and how it got triggered in that moment. By simply checking in and noting what is going on, the person can reduce symptoms of harm and create space for healing.
One of the best ways for people with PTSD to work towards healing is to spend time in nature. Getting outdoors regularly can have myriad benefits. Research has shown that people with anxiety, mood disorders, past trauma, ill health, and any other issues both physical and mental can benefit from the restorative nature of being outdoors. Even if a person does not go camping or spend a week away, the key is to find moments throughout the day to be outside, breathe fresh air, and get away from life for a few moments by turning down the cell phone and simply being present to the sights and sounds around. Going for walks is also great exercise which promotes healing in the body.
PTSD or other mental health issues is nothing to be ashamed about. Her at the Last Resort, you will find a safe space to be vulnerable and begin the healing process for mental and physical issues related to addiction. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.